Mastering Your Mindset
Moving Beyond Exercise and Nutrition
The traditional method of losing weight is to decrease what you’re eating and increase your physical activity. However, neither of these strategies are sustainable, and in some cases, they aren’t even attainable for a short time. This follows the basic premise that losing weight is simply a calories in and calories out equation, and if you get it right, you lose weight.
While it’s true the caloric deficit needs to be there to lose weight, there is more to it. When you take a purely mathematical approach to weight loss, you can easily miss out on what has to happen before the calorie equation, as well as what has to happen afterwards.
To best understand this, we have to go back to what was the original reason for weight gain in the first place. It might have been a decade or more since you were at a healthy weight, but at some point you probably were there. What happened to influence how you ate and how you moved your body? For most, it was something that began in their mid-twenties and kept accelerating up until their present state of overweight or obesity. In many of these situations the beginning of the weight gain coincided with a new job, a new baby, a family crisis, or some other life event that subtly or dramatically shifted what they ate and how they moved their bodies.
The most interesting thing is that there was a moment when a choice was made to eat more than normal, eat more poorly than before, and move less. This may have been a subconscious choice brought about by a lack of self-awareness that made you vulnerable to seeing these things as viable options to feel better, reduce stress, or connect more with someone or a group of people.
Here’s where the magical opportunity comes in. If what contributed to making you fat was a product of your mind and a lack of self-awareness, then you have the opportunity to increase self-awareness and make the conscious choices to eat better and move more. Until you get control of your mindset, you will never attain, let alone sustain the healthy lifestyle that will lead you to a healthy weight and the life you deserve.
Here are the best ways you can regain control of your mindset so that you can create the environment to achieve not only your weight loss goals, but also everything else you want in your life:
Practice self-awareness: Every day, think about the choices you make and why you make them. In a positive way, question your choices and make better ones.
Prepare to succeed: Plan good choices into you day by preparing your lunch ahead of time, scheduling your workouts into your calendar, and creating a peer group that is working on the same goal.
Do some weeding: Think of negative thoughts and excuses like weeds in a garden. Go looking for them, pull them out and throw them away. Plant the positive thoughts and actions that will take their place.
Forgive yourself: You have spent too much time living with regret and guilt. Let go of the poor choices you made in the past and commit to living better now.
Look ahead: Visualize two possible future versions of yourself, 10 years from now. Imagine the version that is obese and disease ridden, unable to live life to the fullest. Now imagine the version that is at a healthy weight, living life fully, with happiness and excitement for everything life brings.
So, while exercise and nutrition are important, they only truly matter once you begin working on your mindset. You don’t need to master your mindset, but you do need to work on it every day. When you do, everything else will fall into place and making healthy choices will become second nature.