Your Mind & Weight Loss
It may surprise you to know that the part of your body most important to achieving your weight-loss goals doesn’t even appear on a size chart. It’s your mind – the home of your intellect, your emotions, your dreams, your memories, your hopes and your fears. Your mind is the place from which you draw motivation and give in to compulsion. It’s where you talk yourself up, talk yourself down, and talk yourself off the ledge. Mastering your thoughts and understanding how they appear and why can be the key to success in your weight-loss journey.
Your Own Worst Enemy
Too often, we fall prey to the self-criticism that comes from an unhealthy self-esteem. “You’re fat—you’ll never be thin so why try?” and similar negative thoughts seem to appear unbidden, the product of our unconscious mind, the one that knows us best. Overcoming this pattern is critical, not only with regard to weight loss, but in our general reaction to life’s challenges. One technique is to treat yourself as you would a friend. If you catch yourself saying something internally that makes you feel bad, imagine saying it to someone you care about. Does it sound unkind? Rephrase it with empathy, and allow yourself to be imperfect but trying. The only purpose served by beating yourself up is that it gives you permission to fail. Breaking this pattern will put you in charge of your thoughts.
Use “SMART” Goals
Your weight-loss goals should be:
• Specific. Don’t say, “I want to lose weight soon.” Say, “I will lose five pounds by Christmas.”
• Measurable. Set a daily calorie count. Walk a certain number of steps every day.
• Achievable. Don’t set yourself up to fail by aiming for your high school weight in six months.
• Realistic. Keep your goals in mind every day and remind yourself of your purpose.
• Timely. Set target dates. A healthy weight loss goal is one or two pounds a week.
Forget Everything You Have Tried Before
Stop thinking of food as a reward or a punishment. Stop weighing yourself every day. Stop trying fad diets. Stop fasting. Stop depriving yourself of any treat, ever. Instead, approach your weight-loss strategy as a life plan with self-care as your goal. You deserve a long, healthy life and you deserve to feel good, to look good and to be happy in your own skin.
Be your own best friend, advocate, support system and life coach. It’s within your power to retrain your brain and reinvent your body.