When it comes to weight loss, mindset is many people’s biggest struggle.
Maybe you find it often feels like you know what to do, but you struggle to make the right choices consistently.
Know what I mean?
It’s a very common experience for the online clients I work with.
The reason so many have this struggle is that most of our decisions are made subconsciously.
This is why it can feel automatic when you reach for food or alcohol without thinking about it. It might feel like you were in a haze or didn’t have full control over your actions.
Your subconscious brain
Your subconscious brain is guiding your decisions, and it wants to keep you safe. This means avoiding anything we perceive as pain, and seeking out whatever we decide brings us pleasure.
Trouble is, when it comes to weight loss, we often get this a bit backwards. It’s surprisingly easy to associate improving food choices and taking care of our body with pain, rather than pleasure.
These thoughts about losing weight might sound familiar…
The pain of hard work, missing out, feeling restricted, doubting if you can do it, feeling uncomfortable and out of breath when you exercise, having to eat ‘boring’ foods, saying goodbye to all the comforting foods you enjoy now… none of that is very appealing!
If you’ve done diets in the past, it’s likely you will have experienced much of this pain.
But that’s not how a real lasting weight loss process needs to be.
Focus on pleasure and enjoy the foods you love
Our brains have evolved to be negative and pessimistic.
This helped our ancestors stay safe and alive by avoiding sabre tooth tigers and poisonous berries. But it doesn’t help you with losing weight.
Because the fact is this…
You will struggle (a lot) to consistently make good choices if you believe weight loss is hard, not fun, or that you can’t do it.
So when you allow your brain to stay focused on the pain of change, you are essentially programming your mind to self sabotage.
Which is why so many people are stuck in a vicious cycle.
Focusing on restriction leads to feelings of deprivation, which leads to a miserable experience of weight loss and eventually caving in. You go back to all the foods you’ve missed out on (which in reality you could have been eating all along while still making progress), and end up back at square one.
What’s worse is that you now feel guilty about eating those foods that you love. You cut them out to see fast weight loss, then binge on them when you feel like you’ve failed. So…
You may as well include your favourite ‘less healthy’ foods in moderation, guilt-free, lose weight at a slightly slower but actually sustainable pace, enjoy the process, and keep the results.
Focus leads to results
Something that’s crucial to remember is this.
What we focus on creates our feelings.
Our feelings influence our actions.
Actions create results.
Focus >>> Feelings >>> Actions >>> Results
Most of us aren’t taught about the impact of where we place our focus, or the power we have to change it.
One of the main reasons that diets don’t work is that they enter in at the action stage.
They tell you what to do without addressing the habits, patterns and beliefs that are the reasons why you eat the way you do now.
And… we are humans.
Complex creatures with thoughts and feelings that easily lead us to do the opposite of what we know we ‘should’ do.
To create true lasting change, we need to bring our attention to controlling our focus.
Then we feel better, take better actions, and the results take care of themselves.
Weight loss mindset – redirecting your thoughts
When we try to just force ourselves into taking action without addressing what our brain is doing… change is a lot harder.
So, anytime you notice you’re feeling down about the weight loss process, or lacking motivation, check what you’re focusing on.
What thoughts are running through your mind?
Where is your attention going?
Is there a better perspective you could find?
The goal is to build the habit of redirecting your focus every time it goes somewhere negative or unhelpful.
Learn to stop listening to yourself, and start talking to yourself.
Negative thoughts can and will still crop up.
But when you notice yourself listening to them, start talking to yourself instead.
Let that next version of you step in and offer encouragement.
What could you say? Here are some ideas:
- I’m making changes, putting in the effort, and I’m doing great.
- I am in control. I can do this.
- It takes time and hard work, but so does everything that’s worth it.
- I am grateful for having a physical condition I can change.
- I’m becoming the best version of myself.
- I’m on the right track. I’m going to keep going.
- This is my next step (insert action here).
Redirect those thoughts, take a positive action step, and keep going.
If you need help with mindset and weight loss, this is what I work on with my online clients.
Find out more here:
For regular short episodes on mindset, check out my podcast – Think Healthy with Hayley