This week's topic is all in our heads- literally. Never underestimate the power of the mind. Our mental attitude will determine our success or failure before we even begin working on our goals- weight loss or otherwise. This week will be an exercise in mindfulness.
Right now, you may be all psyched up and ready to give it your all. You are willing to trade your Big Mac and Bon-Bons for tofu salad and soybean cakes. You’re ready to start running five miles every day. You will be in a size 2 in a couple of months. This time, you won’t give up!
Well, you gotta love enthusiasm. Unfortunately, if losing weight were only a matter of really, really wanting to, everybody would be thin. Losing weight and getting fit takes time and it takes effort. Mostly, it takes commitment.
Or, perhaps you are exactly the opposite. Maybe you’ve tried losing weight and getting in shape a zillion times, and you’re just sick and tired of the fluctuations and failures. Part of gaining that lifelong mentality is to take those “failures” and learn from them. What worked, even a little or for a short time? What didn’t work at all? What did you like? What did you hate? Use that information to help you now.
Don’t think of it as failure, think of it as practice!
Overeating, inactivity and the desire to quit are, at least in part, learned behaviors. That is very good news because it means that these behaviors can be unlearned. While we unlearn our old, unhealthy behaviors, we will learn new healthy, productive behaviors, one at a time. We will take it slow, making small changes that will become new, healthy habits. Slow and lasting changes are better than passionate but temporary ones. Be patient with yourself as you acquire new information and establish a new way of thinking. While most of us would rather have a quick fix, our brains simply do not work that way. Mental reprogramming takes time and practice.
Also keep in mind that achieving health and fitness is a journey; not a destination. While you may have an ultimate weight loss goal in mind, reaching that goal will not signal the end of the journey. Maintaining that loss and preserving your desired level of fitness will require your attention, as well. This means that your goals will need your total commitment: your physical, mental and emotional commitment.
If you wanted to get a promotion at work, you wouldn’t give your best for one week and then become a slacker, thinking you could skate by on that one week’s worth of great performance. You would give it your all; you would go above and beyond. You would keep it up until you got that promotion. And, you would keep it up after you received that promotion so you wouldn’t end up with a demotion or notice of termination. The same concept applies to weight loss and fitness. It requires your staying power.
Take it steady and enjoy the process. Revel in each little accomplishment. Acknowledge that these little successes will eventually add up to big results. Remember that what you do today will affect your life tomorrow. Where do you want to be in a year or 5, 10, or 20 years from now? At the same weight, or perhaps even more? Out of shape and unhealthy? Or fit, trim and strong? How about looking and feeling your very best? The years will come and go whether you are making progress or not.
Choose to make progress.
Admit that you are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Realize that you can make better choices and healthier decisions. Believe that you deserve better. Reach for more and never settle for less. Resolve to be the best you can be. Instead of thinking of this book as a quick fix or a means to an ends, think of it as the blueprint for your new foundation- your firm foundation toward building a better you. Adopt a Lifelong Lifestyle Mentality. The healthy habits you learn now will carry you into the rest of your happier, healthier life.
Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts. Proverbs 4:23
This information should not serve as a replacement for therapy. Please visit the Can Therapy Help Me page for more information if you think you may have an eating disorder, or should require individualized help.
FCCS is directed by Melinda Haynes, MA, California LMFT license number 102308. Oklahoma LMFT license number 1153. North Carolina LMFT license number 2143.