In our search for optimum health, we began by talking about exercise, but research shows that it’s mostly what goes into our mouths that determines our weight. We’ve got to take control of our diet, but that’s easier said than done. You probably already know lots about dieting. You probably know the calorie and carbohydrate counts for most foods you eat. Maybe knowledge isn’t the secret here.
You’ve heard the one about the two women who walk into any group. One says, “I just finished my Ph.D. Everyone says, “Oh, that’s nice. Congratulations.” The other woman says, “I just lost 20 pounds,” and the whole room comes alive. “How in the world did you do that? Tell us exactly what you did so we can do it, too!” Those 20 pounds are the Holy Grail of weight loss. And just about as elusive.
Maybe what we need to do is think about dieting in a new way. Let’s stop thinking about the pounds and start thinking about the process. Let’s consider the brain before we tackle the belly. Before we begin to explore the best diets (which we’ll do in our next post), let’s look at these seven ways to think thin – to create a new mindset that will put us in control and lead to success.
- Start from a positive place. Take some time to see yourself as you’d like to be. Don’t start by chastising yourself for the “wobbly bits” that you don’t like. Just concentrate on how you’d like to look and feel. Maybe you have some photos of a time when you were happy with your weight. Put them up as a reminder. Spend some time really visualizing your success, and be patient with yourself. This isn’t a race.
- Set some small goals for yourself. Make them measurable and attainable. Here are some suggestions from Katherine Zelman from WebMD. Pick one or two and get started. Order a side salad when I’m out rather than fries. Eat five fruits and vegetables every day. Walk 30 for minutes five times a week. Switch from cola to water. Drink alcohol only on weekends. Eat low-fat popcorn rather than chips. These goals are positive rather than negative. They put you in charge.
- Ask for support. That is why groups like Weight Watchers work so well. They make you part of a community. But it doesn’t need to be something formal. Ask your spouse or a friend for support in your journey. Studies show that it helps.
- Plan how you’ll reward yourself. Break your weight loss into mini-goals. After losing five pounds, give yourself a pedicure or a new shirt or a movie or any of the things you like – but not a donut!
- Use your breath to set your intention. Aleisha Fetters offers this novel suggestion in her article for shifting your mindset for better weight loss. She tells us to slow down for ten minutes every day, lie on our backs with one hand on our belly and one on our chest and simply breathe in for four seconds and out for six seconds. This simple action lowers the stress response, helps us to focus, and ups our chances for success.
- Realize that food is just food. It’s neither good nor bad. Spinach isn’t superior to chocolate. If you want the occasional cookie or glass of wine. By all means have them.
- Treat yourself kindly – like you would a good friend. I’ll always give my friends a break if they fail in some way, but I’m pretty hard on myself. Adopt the new mindset and do your best, but don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day. Just start over the next day.
“Food is not a reward, and exercise is not a punishment. They are both ways of caring for your body and helping you feel your best. You deserve both.” Laura Cipullo, author of “Women’s Health Body Clock Diet.”
I’m working on my mindset. Good luck with yours! We’d love to hear your experiences. Next time we’ll explore the major diets of 2017 and the habits of successful dieters.