As I sit here ready to write this article on a Friday night, my mind is spinning at all the new information I continue to learn about mindset. It is fascinating to learn just how important mindset is when it comes to all aspects of our health, including weight loss. In the next couple of weeks, I hope to explore this concept as it relates to a variety of areas of health. Today, I'm starting with weight loss.
I work with clients every day whose main goals are usually related to weight loss, specifically related to excess weight around the midsection. While yes, I can give the typical advice about nutrition and proper exercise (aka eat PFC balanced with whole foods, don't only do cardio, and strength train), the most important advice I can give someone in this situation goes back to mindset.
Yep, I said mindset.
It's the circle from hell of sorts. We are overstressed from a myriad of factors and that stress causes us to hold onto weight, weight we don't like. So what do we do? We stress about that excess weight, which in turn perpetuates the problem.
We poke and prod our bodies in the mirrors. We pinch and turn to the side trying to find our "good" angle. We refuse to have pictures taken. We can't accept compliments, and we have a hard time seeing the amazing aspects that our bodies do have.
In short, we have a constant string of negative thoughts that play over and over in our mind that basically tell ourselves that we aren't good enough as we are and that we will only be "good" if we change our appearance.
Herein lies the problem: we worry so much about how we look that that stress only serves to make the entire weight loss process (the original goal) nearly impossible.
Don't believe me? Think about it - you can do "all the right things" but have you ever made LASTING progress towards weight loss? Obviously not, or you wouldn't have it for your goal.
We can perfect our diet and exercise endlessly, but until we address the weak link (our mindset) we will never see any lasting, true changes. It's the sad, hard truth.
How to you work on your mindset? Well, it's pretty complicated and personal, but it starts with giving yourself grace. Learn to see the amazing aspects of your body, both internal and external. Start to find your value beyond your appearance by assessing your contributions to the world that go beyond how you look. Are you really good at your job? Really good at being a mom/dad? Are you a really good listener? Do you give stellar advice? What are the amazing qualities about you that AREN'T affected by our weight. Can't think of any? Well then you have to dig a little deeper.
Mindset work doesn't just happen either. It's a battle every. single. day. You have to recognize the common negative thoughts that play over and over in your head and find ways to avoid those thoughts and/or confront them with positive thoughts about yourself.
Mindset work means stopping the negative self talk in the mirror. If you wouldn't say it about your friend/daughter/mom, then don't say it about yourself!
Our mindset can make our break our weight loss goals tremendously (and our other health goals too!). It seems insignificant and something you can just "skip over" in favor of more dieting and exercising. But until you address that hidden stressor your mindset provides, you'll never see the lasting change you so desire.