Ah, the yo-yo experience. It’s so familiar to us, right? We get super on track and then we get super…not…on track. Only to repeat the process. If you’re sick of trying and failing over and over again, here are some mistakes that you (and many many many other people trying to lose weight and keep it off) might be making.
1. You start with an “all or nothing” mindset.
In weight loss (and life in general), this mindset is DEATH. It’s just simply ludicrous for us to expect going into a lifestyle change that we’ll get it right the first time. Of course we know we’ll make mistakes, but particularly in weight loss I see people make those “mistakes” mean all kinds of crazy things about themselves. Stop thinking that if you eat something off your plan or miss your workout for a few days you failed and you might as well give up. A lot of people say things too like, “I’ve never been able to do it before, so why keep trying?” Not having done something before is not a reason why/evidence for why you will never do it in the future. The mindset that you need is one of curiosity, determination, and long-term focus. Here are some new thoughts you can “try on” that foster a better mindset:
Losing weight may have given me trouble in the past, but I’m kind of a badass, so I’m going to keep going anyway.
There is no wagon. I can just pick up right where I left off.
I wonder if I’m wrong about thinking that I’ll never succeed at weight loss.
My body knows what I need. I trust in my body.
This is my life. It’s not a pass/fail exam and mistakes are okay and normal.
2. You focus on exercise more than what you eat.
This one’s pretty simple. SOOO many people that I talk to about weight loss goals think that exercise plays a huge role in losing weight. It doesn’t. Luckily this myth is starting to get busted more and more, and more and more people are educating themselves. What you eat is what will make you lose, maintain, or gain weight. That being said, exercise is frickin’ AMAZING. The benefits of exercise can be way more motivating than losing pounds: increased energy, strength, and balance, better cardiovascular health, dopamine rushes (happy hormone, lifts your mood), increased sex drive–I could literally keep going and going.
The best way to plan your eating (in my humble opinion as a personal trainer/human who’s lost weight after each of my four pregnancies) is to listen to your body. I know, I know, you’re like, “Well, MY body must be broken, because it tells me that I need to eat lots of junk every day.” Ch’yeah. I know. Mine does too! What I MEAN is, don’t necessarily jump out of the gate cutting waaayyy back on calories or your body will hate you and think that you’re going to starve. Just try adding more fruits and veggies at first, ones that you like, and be more mindful when you eat (start eating at the first sign of hunger but stop at the first sign of fullness–LISTEN TO YOUR BODY). I’ll do more in-depth posts on this in the future, don’t you worry 😉 Make it low-stress/fun at first and then you can step it up a little at a time.
3. You don’t have a plan/goal, and you don’t write things down.
Any goal will die an undignified death if you keep it super vague and only think about it inside your head. I am the WORST at this, but I’m working on it. I’ve had very limited success in anything I’ve tried to achieve when it went something like this in my head, “Okay, dang. I need to get my act together. I can’t believe I just ate those 15 cookies. Tomorrow I’m going to start eating healthy and exercising and cutting out sugar.” This does not work. One of the reasons is that when we write stuff down, it activates the learning and remembering parts of our brain. It essentially cements it that much more. It forces us to define our goal clearly and all these things make it more likely that we’ll follow through. Goals should be measurable and have a time limit. Instead of having a goal like “I want to exercise every day and cut out sugar”, write a goal like this: “I will lose 10 lbs by June 1st. One of my strategies for meeting this goal will be to plan out my meals and including a ‘joy eat’ twice a week.” See how that’s so much more defined? Another tip I have is to write down all the road blocks you know you’re going to have ahead of time, and try and solve for them. So, if you know that you’ve struggled in the past with having enough time to prepare meals, decide you’re going to buy pre-cut or frozen veggies to make it easier. Do this with every “problem” that you foresee, and you make it more likely that you’ll see success. (Just don’t forget to let go of that all-or-nothing mindset, like we talked about earlier. If one of your strategies isn’t working, try and think of a different one, and don’t beat yourself up for not following your plan exactly.)
4. You don’t have a compelling reason.
This one is pretty simple too. You HAVE to have a reason to lose the weight that will fuel you through the rough patches. It doesn’t have to be noble, it could be rocking your bikini come swim season, but make sure that it’s compelling for YOU, not to change anyone’s opinion about you. My compelling reason has changed over time before too. So you can start off with wanting to look good, because that may be the most compelling reason you can come up with to start, and then later it may morph and change. And that’s okay, just make sure you have a reason that drives you and pushes you forward, that when you think about it, you get filled with determination. Put up reminders all around you of your compelling reason, and plan regular sessions to listen to an inspiring podcast or read a motivating book or watch an enthusiastic YouTube video.
5. You want to lose weight because you believe you will be more acceptable, “enough”, or happy when you do.
I cannot stress this enough: if you are not happy now, you will not be more happy when you lose the weight. If you do not love yourself now, you will not love yourself more once the scale drops. If you don’t have a good opinion of yourself RIGHT NOW, then you will still not think highly of yourself when you fit into that certain size. We always get this backwards for some reason! It’s so weird. We believe that if only we could get that magic golden ticket, then we would be happy beyond our wildest dreams. But just like four of the kids that went into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, it’s never enough. We just find something else to be unhappy about, because that’s always been our mindset. Be like Charlie. He had hopes and dreams and things he wanted to be different in his life. He had things that he wanted more than anything. But he was humble, grateful, and full of love. And having that mindset beforehand was what enabled him to reach his goal and also obtain things he never could have envisioned. In other words, starting with love and acceptance of yourself, exactly as you are, is what will get you to your goals. Lose the weight because you are already happy and you want to, not because you believe it will solve all your problems. Fight to see that number drop on the scale because you believe in yourself and you know you can do it, not because you believe that only then will you be “good enough”. The thoughts that will keep you going aren’t negative ones that tear you down, they’re positive ones that build you up. It comes from knowing that you’ve got your own back and you believe in you. If it’s hard to get there for you right now, email or message me and let’s talk. I have a TON of great thoughts you can try on.
I hope this has given you something to think about and some things to try if your goal is to lose some weight this year. It’s all about what’s going on in your head and how you put that on paper. Your mindset is king. And I know you can do it.