Developing a Mindset for Weight Loss
Thursday, August 05, 2010
I've recently been enlisted to coach my sister and brother in law in their weight loss efforts. Here are some thoughts I jotted down for them to meditate on for their first week of coaching.
Developing the Proper Mindset for Weight Loss
Change happens gradually. What we are essentially doing is trying to turn the Titanic around. Miracles will happen once in a while, but for the most part, we’re looking for incremental, gradual change. It will probably take a lot longer than you think it should, or will. That’s okay. It will happen as it should. You’re right on track.
It is very common for overweight people to have anxiety around food. We’re anxious when we think we won’t get it, and we’re anxious when we think of the results of getting it. Anxiety is the enemy of positive change. Whenever you sense that you are becoming anxious about appetite, portion control, exercise, or anything else related to weight loss, acknowledge that you are feeling anxious, and begin to work on resisting these feelings. Operate from love, creativity and passion. Do not let fear be the reason you expend your energy for any reason.
You want to start getting in touch with your body. Losing weight naturally is a process of learning to listen to your body and do what’s best for it. Start practicing eating more slowly. It may take a while before this feels natural, but find ways to slow down the eating process. Put down your fork every few bites. Enjoy conversation during mealtime. Chew more thoroughly. Think about the taste of your food. Rate your food, and eat what you love first. Don’t save the best for last. When something tastes particularly good, savor it. Say to yourself, “this is really good”. Say it out loud. The memory of that will sustain you when you have the urge to eat when you’re not truly hungry.
We’re going for slow, consistent change. Drastic change is almost always temporary. Work on slowly adding or taking away things from your diet. Sit with that change for as long as it takes for it to feel natural. If you need to drink more water, don’t go cold turkey. ADD water, rather than taking away sodas. You’re less likely to feel deprived, and more likely to stick with it. Make a pledge to drink a certain amount of water everyday. Make it less than you think you should be drinking. Work up to the right amount in a natural, gradual way. This goes for any diet or lifestyle changes. Slow and steady wins the race.
Start small. I’m a believer in underachieving when it comes to big changes. Better to make a very small change you can sustain, than to make grand attempts at sweeping change that will exhaust you, and leave you floundering, and feeling defeated after a very short period of time.
Your appetite is essentially like an unruly child. You wouldn’t expect that child to be a model student in a week. There are some deep issues that will need to be addressed. They will take time to address properly. Be patient with yourself. It took you a long time to get where you are, and it’s going to take time for you to make a major shift in your thinking and behavior. If you find yourself insisting on a particular food, and you start to feel anxiety rise up around the decision, you may want to go ahead and ‘give the baby what it wants.’ Don’t let yourself get unduly immersed in the back-and-forth of it all. Sometimes an unruly child just wants attention. Sometimes you need to placate them to get them to listen to reason. So feed the child, then sit him down and talk to him. Ask him why he wanted what he wanted, and figure out how you can help him to do better next time.