Let’s start right where we left off with our last article > The #1 Reason Why you Can’t Lose Weight.
Due to obesity statistics, one might assume that the average North American isn’t really interested in losing weight and getting in shape, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It isn’t lack of motivation, but the way we’re approaching it that’s the problem – That’s right! It’s once again in the way we think! We put so much pressure on ourselves to succeed, and criticize ourselves when we fall short. This only leads to an emotional break; usually leading to giving up.
When it comes to losing weight, we are perfectionists with all-or-nothing attitudes. We set goals, and force ourselves to reach them. If we miss a workout, or eat anything but salad we punish ourselves, and feel guilty. This punishing usually results in trying to find solace in food, which just leads to one big downward spiral into beating yourself up.
“I’m worthless. I’m ugly. I suck. I’m unlovable. I can’t stick to anything! I hate my body.”
If you always put yourself down, you’ll neglect to see the positives and only see where you went wrong. If we lose one pound instead of the planned two we see the failure instead of the win of being one pound lighter. Feeling bad about yourself or your food choices doesn’t help in creating a healthier lifestyle. It actually makes you feel worthless, which hinders your ability to succeed.
SOLUTION: You need to begin to notice that judgemental voice of yours, and stop it in it’s tracks. Soften your tone, and be kind to yourself. Treat yourself like you would a friend or loved one. Would you talk to them like you talk to yourself? My guess is if you would, you wouldn’t have many friends. Instead of the toxic words like those written in italics above, replace them with a more positive approach: “I’m unhappy with the way I look right now, but I’m working on it.” “I had a piece of cake, but I’ve been good all week. I’ll make up for it with an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill tomorrow.”
Keep a journal of all the accomplishments you make on a daily basis; no matter how small they may be. On a bad day, look back at all you’ve written. You’ll immediately notice all your success and feel better.
OTHER PEOPLE’S CRITICISM
Sometimes our criticism comes from external sources, or the meaning-well tough-love approach instilled on us by parents and other loved-ones:“Snap out of it! Don’t eat THAT! Do SOMETHING!” When people are forced to feel positive and take action they instinctively do the opposite, or claim they can’t help it. Positive thinking can’t be forced on you. It’s only effective if you actually believe it.
SOLUTION: I know this sounds hard to believe, but writing negative feelings out actually helps to lessen their potency. Keep a journal in which you write down your negative thoughts and feelings. Blast that person’s insensitivity in writing. If you’re frustrated with yourself, if you feel that you are lacking willpower, write it down — seriously. Do it. It does help to get it out.
The Deadly “Shoulds”
“I SHOULD be thinner. I SHOULD workout. I SHOULDn’t have let myself go.”
Shoulds is a form of pressure, and is a kind of self-bullying. It cause a feeling of being controlled and lack of leeway, leading to nothing but stress and a feeling of desperation.
SOLUTION: Remove shoulds from your vocabulary. Again, all it takes is noticing when the shoulds are creeping in and reframing the thought to a more positive one. THIS TAKES PRACTICE! It may feel strange in the beginning, but the more you do it, the more naturally it will come to you.
Here are some examples:
• I shouldn’t have eaten that.
Replace with: I had one unhealthy thing. No one is perfect. Now I’m right back to healthy eating.
• I should have exercised.
Replace with: I can’t exercise the way I’d like to right now so I will make sure to manage my portions, and pay closer attention to my diet.
•I should’ve lost more weight.
Replace with: Weight loss happens over time, and everyone loses weight at different speeds. This will not discourage me.
•I shouldn’t have let myself get this bad.
Replace with: I was not ready to do this before, but I am now. The past is in the past and I will focus on the present.
Learn to Love Yourself – flaws and all. Thinking: “I’ll lose weight and THEN I’ll be happy” will never work if you hate yourself along the way. The more we learn to approach ourselves with kindness, and compassion the easier positive change will be.
Resources: jumpstartmd.com, caloriecount.about.com