After losing more than 100 pounds, one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is that weight loss is simply body over mind. Well, not simply because it’s far from simple. I don’t care what anyone says….there is NO quick fix to weight loss. You HAVE to make a permanent change to your lifestyle if you want to be successful. That’s it. The secret to weight loss is….CHANGE!
The first thing you need to change is your thinking. Now, let me tell ya, this is the hardest freakin’ part to change! That’s why this entire post is dedicated to it. If you’ve ever struggled with food, you know what I mean. When you first decide to lose weight, you’re often overwhelmed by a few things. It’s either the amount of weight you need/want to lose, the amount of exercise you should do, the constant stream of never-ending, conflicting information, and the list goes on. How in the hell are you supposed to know where to start?! It’s simple – K.I.S.S. I learned this acronym when I was in business school and it means Keep It Simple, Stupid. I’m not calling anyone stupid, so don’t think that. What’s it mean? It means that you start where you are with what you have….
Your mind is the first thing that needs a reboot. You’ve probably been so damn hard on yourself for being overweight that it’s become a core part of who you are. It’s not who you are! Let go of thinking you have to be perfect; that you have to do it all right every single day. That kind of thinking isn’t productive. Our minds are very powerful and will, oftentimes, talk us out of changing. Why? Because change is uncomfortable. We’ve become so complacent with how things are that we often resist making changes for the better. Change is work!
Our bodies were made to move; it’s inherent in our DNA. Don’t deny your body a vital function because your mind is like, “Nah, we don’t need to take the stairs because the elevator is right here.” Whether you believe in the Garden of Eden or the Theory of Evolution or neither, it makes no difference to me, but our bodies were designed to take us where we need to go. We’re built with a fight or flight reflex; you’ve probably noticed it at one point or another in your life. That reflex has been there since the beginning of time and it’s not going away. Our bodies know what to do to survive and it’s high time we start listening to them again!
It’s time to tell your mind to shut the f*%! up and start doing what your body wants you to do! If it helps you to say that out loud, go for it (that’s what I do). Each time I have a negative thought creep into my head, I work on shutting it down fast. If that means I have to get sassy with myself, that’s what I do. What do I mean by that? If a thought enters my mind that tells me I’m not going to be physically able to walk 5 miles or I don’t have time for a walk or whatever, I say, out loud, “you watch me!” I don’t like being told what I can’t do, even by my mind, and I don’t tolerate it very well.
We’re our toughest critic; no one will ever be harder on us than we are. While that has the ability to help us become better, it can also lead to overwhelm and eventually shutting down. It’s time to start talking to yourself and treating yourself the way you would a friend or family member. If a friend told you she didn’t workout today, would you call her lazy? Probably not. But, I bet that’s exactly what you’d say to yourself, right? STOP IT!
Eating healthy and exercising are expressions of love for yourself and your body; they’re not punishments. Your mind will have you thinking that your body is being punished because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. Turn that thought around for a minute. What if you thought about exercise as a way to be able to eat a piece of chocolate cake? My conversations with myself go a little like this:
Mind: “Ok, I want another iced coffee from Dunkin.”
Me (usually out loud): “Do I really want a second coffee or is my body craving something else? Let me do [insert activity here] before and if I still want the second coffee, I’ll get it.”
Mind: “Why do [insert activity here] when you’re already so close to Dunkin now?”
Me (again, out loud): “Because I’m not going to spend the money or the calories if I don’t really want the damn coffee!”
Mind: “Ok, ok, you win. Do [activity]…sheesh!”
If you think I’m joking about this, just ask anyone who’s ever ridden in the car with me, talked to me on the phone, or has just gone out in public with me. I’ve just applied the body over mind technique and won! It’s a constant struggle that will never go away but it will get so much easier. I don’t always win, and neither will you, which is why it’s important to celebrate each and every success! Even when you don’t win, let it go – don’t beat yourself up over it. Shit happens and, despite what anyone may have told you, you’re not perfect. We’re going to mess up, have set backs, and get discouraged; it’s all part of the process. The important thing to remember, and to do, is always keep going!