If you want to succeed at weight loss, you need to "cut the mental fat, and that will lead to cutting the waistline fat," says Pamela Peeke, MD, author of Fit to Live. "Look at the patterns and habits in your life that you are dragging around with you that get in the way of success."
Everyone has their own excuses. When trying to improve their lifestyle and diet, most people do fine until something happens -- whether it's work pressure, family issues, or something else. Whatever your personal issue, the pattern needs to change if you want to be successful.
"I want to empower people to identify these patterns, deal with the real issues, so they can move on and be able to succeed at improving their health," says Peeke.
How To Get The Right Mindset For Weight Loss
First and foremost, you should start with loving yourself and your body. You need to change your self-image from a struggling, unsuccessful dieter to a healthy and balanced person. You should make healthier life choices not because someone says so but because you want to for your good. That way you’ll feel more confident, motivated, and proud of yourself. [Read more: Practicing gratitude brings health benefits] [Read more: Mindfulness And Acupuncture]
Have Realistic Expectations
Clinical guidelines recommend that losing 0.5-1 kg per week is a healthy way to lose weight. Setting realistic and achievable goals will make you feel more motivated along the way as you accomplish them. One study that investigated weight loss expectations in 1785 obese women found that the ones who expected to lose the most weight in a short time were the most likely to quit the program. Thus, it’s crucial to set realistic weight loss expectations at the beginning of your journey to prevent early burnout.
Listen to Self-Talk
Self-talk is another way that all-or-nothing thinking can come into play. For instance, you might find that you beat yourself up for reaching unreasonably high standards or goals you set for yourself.
Take a week or two to listen to your inner dialogue. Identify one or two messages that may be encouraging a negative self-image and write them down. You can then challenge them or replace these messages with a powerful mantra. Phrases such as "my body is strong," "I am enough," or "I have come a long way" are mantras that are commonly used to boost confidence.
Keep a Journal
Avoiding stress is not always possible. But you can identify stress triggers and try to avoid certain situations or people that undermine your success. Keeping a journal may be helpful in the process. In fact, research has indicated that keeping a journal can double your weight loss results. [Read more: Stress Management: How to Reduce, Prevent, and Cope with Stress]
There are different ways to use a journal. For instance, you can log your food intake with a journal. But you can also use it to write out your thoughts and identify stress triggers. Use the journal to keep track of any situations or foods that may feel triggering to you.
Make Small Changes and reward yourself
Take small steps and set short-term goals. First, identify one specific healthy change that is reasonable and attainable. Remind yourself that perfection is not the goal, but, rather, any attempt to nudge yourself in the right direction is progress that you should be proud of. Set a goal to focus on that target for a week. If you keep a journal, jot down notes each day about different ways you have succeeded in keeping that goal front of mind. And give yourself credit. Remember that taking a small step is better than taking no action.
Taking small steps can also help you avoid making too many changes at once. It can be easy to get overwhelmed if you do too much at once and then lose motivation. On the other hand, if you can make a small change with success, you will feel a sense of accomplishment, which motivates you to keep going.
Reward Yourself by giving yourself a trip to the movies, a manicure, or whatever will help you feel good about your accomplishments (other than food rewards).
Create a Detailed Action Plan
Plan your healthy meals and fitness for the next day or the following week. Planning ahead is 80% of the battle. If you're equipped with a detailed plan, results will follow. Make your health a priority by building such steps into your life, and ultimately these healthy behaviors will become a routine part of your life. Here are some examples of what to do
Prepare vegetables and regular meals.
Getting some kind of physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day.
Drinking alcohol only on the weekends.
Make time for sleep and resting.
Be Aware of Challenges and Setbacks
When you start your weight loss journey, life around you goes on the same way it does. There are still birthdays, holidays, social events, and stress factors at work or home. You may not change them, but you can change your mindset towards them.
Many people use food for comfort, and it eventually pushes them to emotional eating. Studies show that people who eat in response to negative emotions and stress are more likely to gain weight. On the contrary, people who are better at coping with everyday stressors are more successful in weight loss maintenance.
But how can you cope with these stressors? Whenever you feel overwhelmed or stressed, go outside and take a walk, engage in breathing exercises, take a warm bath, call a friend, have regular acupuncture session or do whatever makes you happier at that moment.
You can also plan for upcoming holidays, birthday parties, and social events. Do not go to parties or events on an empty stomach, and try eating small portions while there.
See This Journey as a Habit
The best way to lose weight is to follow a healthy eating plan and do an exercise you enjoy and can stick to. Don’t see food as a reward and exercise as a punishment; they both help you feel your best.
Exercise does not necessarily mean lifting weights at the gym or running miles on a treadmill. It can be dancing, going to a group fitness class, or working out in the comfort of your home.
You should see healthy eating and exercise as a lifestyle habit, not just a time plan to follow until you lose weight. Remember that keeping off the lost weight is harder than losing it.
Seek Help From Traditional Chinese Medicine
In conclusion, before committing to a weight loss plan, you should first shift your mindset towards weight loss because long-term weight loss starts in your head. Embrace the setbacks, give yourself flexibility, love your body, set small goals, and be patient. Changing your lifestyle to lose weight is not as hard as you think. Once you put on a positive mindset, healthy eating and exercise become a lifestyle. [Read more: 10 things you need to know before you start losing weight]
If you cannot commit to a plan by yourself or don’t know where to start from, don’t be afraid to ask for help.