Weight loss is a process that takes time, effort and patience. When it comes to weight loss, having the right mindset is just as important as following the right diet. Sticking with your weight loss plan requires determination, patience and self awareness. Many people think that weight loss starts with what you put in your mouth, but it actually starts with the thoughts in your mind. Today we are going to cover three mindsets that can sabotage weight loss efforts and how to overcome them.
All or Nothing Mindset
As soon as you start trying to follow a new diet or lose weight, it’s easy to feel that you have to follow a meal plan perfectly or eat only foods from a specific “good” list. You might clean out your pantry, or have a pile of new recipes ready to go. Then life happens, and you end up eating a cookie or piece of cake at a party. Your friends ask you out for pizza and wings. You start having cravings that you just can’t ignore. You give in, and then you feel so bad you just keep eating. The all or nothing mindset says “Well, today’s shot, so I might as well just keep eating.” This mindset can derail even the best laid plans for a healthy day.
A better approach is to think “progress over perfection.” Set small, realistic goals you know you can succeed at. Instead of a complete diet overhaul, build on small changes. For example, a realistic goal is to start drinking one more glass of water per day. For an exercise goal, increase your steps by 1000 per day. You might focus on making one meal a day healthier. For example, try eating a healthy breakfast for a week. Building on small goals gives you confidence to work on larger goals. Remember, failing to eat healthy at one meal does not make you a failure. Just try to make healthier choices at your next meal.
Quick Fix Mindset
Many magazines and diet books promise instant rewards for short term crash diets. We’ve all seen the magazine covers that promise rapid weight loss on the latest fad diet. While those diets may work for a few weeks, most are too restrictive and unbalanced to actually be sustainable. You might lose a few pounds quickly, but chances are, they will come right back when the diet ends.
Long term weight loss requires a mindset that is ready to make permanent lifestyle changes. Losing weight from small but sustainable lifestyle changes may take longer, but the results will also stick with you. Before you reach for the next smoothie cleanse or 5 day detox, think about 1-2 small lifestyle changes you could start practicing on a daily basis. Make a commitment to implement a change and stick with it.
A good starting place is to incorporate one more serving of vegetables or fruits into your diet or stop drinking sugary beverages. If you eat out frequently, make a commitment to cook one more dinner at home per week, or start packing your own lunches for work. If you have a sedentary job, work on increasing your steps during the day at work. Park father from the office, take the stairs, and walk on your lunch break. Once you have the foundations of a healthy lifestyle, the pounds will start to melt off.
Food as Punishment or Reward Mindset
From a young age, many of us have been conditioned to see food as a reward for a bad day, an accomplishment well done, stress, boredom or other emotions. Conversely, the diet mentality dictates that you have to restrict food as punishment after missing a workout or eating too much at a party. Using food as reward and punishment can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, and loss of the ability to listen to internal hunger and fullness cues.
A better mindset is to think of food as fuel for your body. There are no right or wrong choices, just healthier versus less healthier choices. If you find yourself reaching for food for reasons other than physical hunger, try checking in with yourself to see what you really need first. If you’re tired, bored or sad, think of other ways of coping besides eating. Maybe you need to call a friend, take a nap or go for a short walk to clear your head. Perhaps a cup of herbal tea would be just as relaxing as eating a snack.
On the other hand, if you find yourself eating something off your plan, there’s no reason to feel guilty or like a failure. Instead of being critical towards yourself, be kind and think about what you would say to your best friend or a child in a similar situation. Try to think about what triggered you to eat that food and what you could do differently next time. A solution might be to keep tempting foods out of the house or have healthier alternatives on hand for a stressful situation.
Sustainable and Permanent Weight Loss Solutions
Changing habits is hard work, but it’s worth it in the long run. Here at The Silhouette Clinic, we have a unique understanding of how the digestive tract affects weight loss, and how adjustments in the digestive system can help you lose weight. If you are frustrated by a lack of success with your weight loss efforts and want lasting solutions, schedule an appointment at the Silhouette Clinic today. We offer a wide array of medical weight loss options to help you achieve your goals and will help you determine the best fit for you.