If your New Year’s resolution is to 1. lose weight and 2. eat healthier, you’re in good company – these are the top two new year’s resolutions of all time (followed by save more money in third place )!
Some people are against making New Year’s resolutions, perhaps this is to protective themselves from the disappointment and self-loathing of not being able to stick to them – yet again! This is especially true of weight loss resolutions. In this blog post, I talk about the lesser-known factors, or secrets, of what it actually takes to keep a weight loss resolution. Weight loss is rarely about the food itself, it’s more about your frame of mind.
The Saints Are The Sinners Who Keep Trying
Just because you failed at past attempts to lose weight doesn’t mean you should stop trying. After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained. The act of taking the first step is what separates the winners from the losers. Furthermore, winners are not people who never fail, they are the ones who never quit.
Let Go Of The Belief That You Are A Product Of Your Past
The beginning of a new year is psychologically a good time to wipe the slate clean and start anew. One very common mistake we fall into is the belief that we are determined by our past experiences. This limits our view on future possibilities since we are stuck believing that the future can only be more of the same as our past.
Mastering The Psychology Of Weight Loss
The hardest part of losing weight, is getting and staying motivated. If you don’t get your mind in the right place, it will only work against you. Unfortunately, discussion of the mind’s role in getting thin and fit is often ignored because everyone is eager to latch on the latest diet (e.g. Intermittent Fasting, Keto, Paleo) and focus on carbs, calories and exercise regimens. Make no mistake carbs, calories and exercise is key to weight loss and current research reveals new insights on metabolism, but focusing on them before discussing the mental side of weight loss is like putting the cart ahead of the horse. Your mind will lead you in your battle of the bulge, and your body will execute the minds strategy. An intergral part of any weight loss plan is learning how to set goals, how to get and stay motivated, how to resist temptations that will threaten to derail your journey.
Ask Yourself The Two “Whys”
Getting in the right frame of mind for weight loss starts with the question why. Pinpoint 1. why you gained weight and 2. why you want to lose it. This is your platform for success. If you are crystal clear on why you need to lose weight, you would do whatever it takes to reach your goal. This fuels your motivation. Knowing why you gained weight in the first place can help you form strategies to prevent the same pitfalls that derailed your efforts last time.
Overwhelmed and feeling stuck? Just Take the First Step
Do you spend a lot of time researching diets or reading up on the latest breakthroughs in nutrition and weight loss science? In the end do you feel completely overwhelmed and confused that you end up doing nothing? To get unstuck you just need to start! You don’t need to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. Have faith that you will be able to follow through and reach your destination.
Goal Setting: Making Intentions Into Reality
Well-planned goals can help you convert your thoughts into action. They help you stay focused and motivated, and provide a plan for change as you transition to a healthier lifestyle. Here’s how to set effective goals.
Set a very specific goal.
Resolving to “exercise more” for example, is not specific enough. Making a goal to work out 30 minutes a day, three days a week is specific. Define exactly what you want in clear terms.
Set a goal that has a measurable outcome.
“Getting in shape” is not quantifiable. Without a goal that is measurable, how will you know when you’ve made progress or even reached it? Set of goal to lose 2 lbs a week is a goal with a measurable outcome. Weigh yourself at least once a week to see tangible results.
Assign a timeline to your goal.
“Someday” is not a day of the week. The difference between a dream and a goal is a timeframe for making it happen. A deadline can also help motivate you and prevent you from procrastinating.
Program your life with a strategy.
Willpower is a myth. It’s emotionally powered, and emotions are fickle. Wanting to do something — no matter how badly you want it — won’t make it happen. You need a plan and you need to change something in your lifestyle. Realistically assess the obstacles and resources involved, and create a strategy for navigating that reality. Your environment, your schedule and your accountability must be programmed in such a way that all three support you. Life is full of temptations and opportunities to fail. Without programming, you will find it much harder to stay the course.
Identify small steps.
Major life changes don’t just happen; they happen one step at a time. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Steady progress through well-chosen, realistic, interval steps produces results. Know what those steps are before you set out.
Without accountability, people are apt to con themselves. If you know precisely what you want — and there are real consequences for not doing the assigned work — you are more likely to continue in your pursuit of your goal. Find someone (like me!) to whom you can be accountable. Make periodic reports on your progress.
Set your environment up to help you succeed.
If you’re trying to quit snacking on sweets, for example, the one thing you need to control is your environment. Set your environment up so that it does not support your habit. Don’t keep cookies in the house. Don’t buy them at all, or you’re programming yourself for failure. Your lifestyle supports your habit, so you need to change your lifestyle. It’s hard to break a habit, but easier to replace one behaviour with another. e.g. to satisfy your sweet tooth eat fresh fruit instead of cake or cookies.
Change your lifestyle.
If you’re trying to get in shape or lose weight, for example, make sure you have a plan and start making a lifestyle change. It is difficult to be overweight without a lifestyle that supports it. Having the intention is not enough to lose weight. Joining a weight loss program won’t get the weight off if you don’t take action, follow-through and consistently follow the plan.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t –you’re right,” Henry Ford