3 Mental Upgrades to Propel Your Health and Weight Loss Success
Let’s face it, weight loss or health transformation, in other words ‘change’ can be frustrating, but it does not have to be. Knowing what to do is important to achieve your weight loss or health goal, but it goes beyond just nutrition and a prescriptive meal plan for ultimate success.
As advantageous as nutrition and a meal plan are, there is generally a missing puzzle piece, if you will, an essential element that is crucial to the health or weight loss foundation – the mindset. When you have an understanding of your behaviors and your motivations, the puzzle is complete. It is crucial, therefore, before you move forward, to restructure your mindset and beliefs with a few simple upgrades – it does not need to be complicated.
Kick Willpower to the Curb
Our brains are wired for ‘easy’ and additionally, our thinking machine expends an enormous amount of energy that daily complexities fatigue the brain. Willpower, as one associates with a diet or a new way of eating, is not easy for our brain – in particular, willpower that is practiced frequently, day after day. This is where one runs into trouble. If blood sugar is low (especially at the end of the day), a glucose-depleted brain is going to take the ‘easy’ choice – the cookie.
How does one keep the weight off if willpower is not effective long-term? Replace willpower with science. Use foods and design your meals that you know help stop hunger and cravings such as healthy fats, proteins and low-glycemic veggies, such as: nuts, seeds, avocados, whole eggs, leafy greens etc., to balance blood sugar and control insulin.
Create a New Habit
Did you know? 90% of our daily food decisions occur as a result of habit. It makes sense then to replace old unhealthy habits with new healthy ones. In Charles Duhiggs science-based book “The Power of Habit’, Duhigg simply and brilliantly shows the three steps of the “Habit Loop” as cue, routine, and reward. Set up a visible ‘cue’ that will trigger you to take action. If you want to start jogging each morning, lay out your jogging shoes where you will see them first thing – your cue. Simply doing this 3-4 days a week, will establish a routine and then in roughly 66 days (as new research shows), you will have created a new habit. Reward is an important component as we want to continue to do things that make us feel good and yet, this is subjective. Telling yourself ‘you did a great job laying out those shoes!!’ or ‘you are a rock star for even taking that morning walk or choosing a salad over the French fries!!’ Again, rewards are unique to every one of us. Ensure your reward makes you feel good. Be patient as it’s all a process.
It should not be so much about what we eat, but instead how we feel about and treat ourselves with respect to food. Many people that attempt a new health or weight loss goal often encounter the proverbial ‘obstacle’ such as eating that Twinkie.
Unfortunately, that one small, tiny ‘indiscretion’ is enough to stop their movement forward. They throw their hands up in the air and call it quits. There is only one solution to this self-imposed veering off-track… and that is compassion.
Self-compassion is a mindful awareness of oneself, which involves treating oneself kindly and understanding oneself during difficult and challenging times by realizing that such experiences are common among all humans.
Show compassion for YOU. Don’t be hard on yourself. Eating more of a food or choosing a type of food doesn’t reflect on you as a person. Be mindful or aware of your feelings – it’s okay. Don’t run from the reaction, just acknowledge and know these feelings are okay. Remember that perfection does not exist.
Research shows that how you feel and act towards yourself can have a powerful impact upon your self-control and ultimate goals – be kind.
Implementing these three mental upgrades will not only take you to weight loss and health success, you will become more aware of your feelings and enjoy the journey.