Lose Weight By Optimizing Your Mindset
If only there was a magic formula on how to lose weight.
Over the decades we’ve seen numerous experts promoting their “unique” diets, and most of these call for calorie restriction and increased exercise.
But what if there is more to it?
The experts are correct in saying that weight loss is dependant on what we eat, but what about the mental component of it?
Let’s take a look at how mindset might be the key to lose weight – and keep it off.
The obesity epidemic
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), back in 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight. And of these over 650 million were obese. Just imagine the statistics today.
Looking at South Africa, 28% of our population is obese (the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa) and this epidemic is affecting children as well.
Clearly, we need to get to grips with the myriad reasons and causes of weight gain.
But while we can’t solve the world’s problems with one blog post, we can ask that you start advocating for your health first.
How to lose weight permanently
If you’ve tried all the latest fads, chances are you have gone through cycles of losing and gaining back weight. This yo-yo dieting is not healthy for one’s body, but it’s also crippling to our self-esteem.
Instead of seeing food as the enemy, and exercise as torture, it helps to develop a healthy, proactive mindset as you embark on your weight loss journey.
After all, losing weight should not be a quick-fix but rather a lifetime of good habits and positive behaviour patterns that support your slimmer figure.
We’ve assembled the best tips on how to lose weight so that you can arm your mindset with what actually works.
How to lose weight – and put the power of your mind behind it
1. You need to commit to losing weight
When you start your journey to lose weight, you must make a commitment. Mentally you need to commit and stick by your long-term goal to lose the weight.
The process of losing weight takes time and you must be certain that you’re ready to put in the work and effort that comes with the journey. This can prove to be challenging along the way because if you do run into difficult times or situations that threaten to throw you off your course it’s important to remember to stay on track!
2. Skinny models are not a good example
Sure, for centuries, skinny models paved the way to the ideology of so-called perfection and beauty. This has subconsciously made people believe this is the way to look if you want to look beautiful.
That said, it’s true that starving and skipping meals can result in rapid weight loss, but also at the cost of nutrition, vitamins, and minerals needed for your body to function properly and be healthy.
Therefore, while you may weigh less, it can result in other negative things including rapid weight gain, binge eating, and health conditions. So stop obsessing about super skinny models, it’s just not realistic for most people!
3. Reward yourself (but not with food)
This is a good trick to get into. Rewarding yourself with some self-care or spoiling yourself with a spa treatment or getting something nice like clothing as a reward for losing weight is very effective.
Everybody likes a treat, so why not treat yourself as a “well done” gesture for dropping some kilos. Some studies have shown that groups of people looking to lose weight with added incentives actually lost more weight meeting their weight loss goals as a result of the incentive and their mindset.
4. Distracted eating is a no
Many of us fall prey to the “innocent” habit of eating while distracted.
How many times do you catch yourself eating your lunch in front of your computer as you check your emails? Or simply grab some takeaway and quickly eat it while you drive?
Distracted or mindless eating can do more damage than good. When you eat without paying attention, you might eat greater quantities which will cause weight gain.
Not only is distracted eating bad for your waist-line, it also robs you of the joy of eating and taking pleasure in your meals.
If you are serious about losing weight, then make meal times sacred. By this we don’t mean a candle-lit dinner every evening, but we suggest that you don’t eat in front of your computer or television. Put your phone down and savour every bite.
5. Keep hydrated
It’s easy to overlook water as being critical to losing weight but in fact, when dehydrated the body slows down its metabolic rate.
This will result in weight gain, as the body takes longer to convert calories to energy. That said, even if you hate drinking water, you really should stay hydrated to keep those additional pounds off.
Remember that by the time you’re thirsty, your body is already dehydrated.
6. Enjoy your “cheat days”
Losing weight isn’t about depriving yourself of the yummy treats you’ve loved all your life. The truth is that many people trying to lose weight will try hard to steer clear from those treats and often spiral into a binge-eating frenzy.
If you still get to eat your treats on certain days, this will reduce the chances of binge eating. A good tip to remember is that you shouldn’t keep these “kryptonic” goodies inside your home where they will tempt you.
Instead, on “cheat days” go out to your favourite ice cream place and have it there, or wherever your treats are, (just not at home).
7. Make your goals realistic and don’t obsess over numbers
You can’t expect that everything will happen overnight. Losing weight is a process and takes time, dedication as well as lifestyle and health changes.
When it comes to dropping dress sizes or scale numbers, it’s important to remember non-scale victories are real.
You can improve your exercise regimen and start to feel your body increasing vitality and your mind is more focused. Non-scale victories are amazing and very rewarding.
8. Embrace the fact that you eat healthily
Eating healthier is a victory and it means that you’re progressing well. If you tell yourself that you are a healthy eater, it will help you accept this new way of life. Subconsciously you start to embrace this fact and you’ll eat better and lose weight.
9. Don’t look at the scale’s numbers
As mentioned earlier, seeing the numbers on the scale can have a mental effect on your goal of losing weight. If you don’t see the numbers drop each time you weigh in, you can feel upset or disappointed so STOP weighing yourself every day.
Taking before, during and after photos and also take measurements with a measuring tape can reveal a different picture to the number on the scale.
Embrace the fact that you’re already changing to a healthy lifestyle and that means your body is already on its way to wellness.
10. Connect with your tribe
Getting support from people who are also trying to lose weight or have already lost weight is one of the best motivations.
It makes sense to share tips and strategies with people who are on a similar journey. You can also hold each other accountable which will pay huge dividends over time.
We are social creatures and having support at hand will prevent you from feeling alone as you lose weight.
See if you can find a networking group in your area, join a club like Run Walk for Life or join a suitable free group on Facebook.
11. Listen to your body (make a list for how hungry you might feel)
Most of us live with an abundance of food and we land up eating pretty much all day long. Some of us no longer know what it physically feels like to be hungry, because we eat on autopilot.
Taking the time to learn your hunger signals will help you lose weight. First of all, check that you aren’t actually just thirsty (see point 5 above).
Then really assess how hungry you feel. For example, make a chart or list to indicate how hungry you are with ravenous being at the top, hungry in the middle, full second last and stuffed right at the end. You don’t want to eat until you feel stuffed, instead, eat until you’re just under full.
Can self-signalling be partially the reason why you’ve gained so much weight or why you struggle to lose weight? Self-signaling comes about based on our own perception of life or the world around us and technically it affects the decisions that we take in life.
If you want to lose weight it means rewiring your brain and incorporating different signals telling you to eat.
Your natural sensation of physiological hunger is one of the most important signalling systems you need to pay attention to.
12. Biofeedback therapy to help with weight loss
Biofeedback is an advancement in research and health technology that provides several benefits including monitoring stress levels.
Some people stress eat or eat more when they are anxious. By utilising tools and techniques to lower stress levels can help reduce this reaction of stress eating. Biofeedback therapy uses relaxing exercise during the process. Some exercises include meditation, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxing, and guided imagery.
When it comes to losing weight, it’s easy to forget that it WON’T happen overnight, no matter how hard you try.
The key to effective weight loss (and everything else in life) is consistency and staying focused.
Another important thing to bear in mind is that losing weight and keeping the weight off requires changing your lifestyle. Design your life so that it supports healthy food choices.
“Endurance is one of the most difficult principals but it is to the one that endures that the final victory comes” – Buddha
It will take changing your mindset, diet, and other lifestyle changes to reach your goal weight and be the healthiest version of you.
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