If you’re trying to lose weight and not finding much success, it’s time to acknowledge that maybe what you’re doing isn’t working. Though you might set weight loss goals, compile healthy recipes, and vow to make lasting changes, what you might not realize is that the ultimate influence on your outcome isn’t about what you do, it’s about what you expect.
Your internal perspective is the foundation of any external action you take. No matter how many goals you set or lists you write, if your thinking inadvertently erodes at your expectations, you’ll never find lasting success. Here are some mental and emotional tips to shift how you look at yourself and your situation to give yourself the best shot at healthy weight loss success.
Stop comparing yourself to others–or your former self.
Conventional wisdom urges you to post a picture of your dream body or yourself looking your best in order to motivate you to reach your weight loss goals. If you hang a motivational picture, notice how you feel when looking at it. If you feel inspired and happy, let it stay. If you feel guilt or shame, take it down because it’s holding you back. For many people, feelings of guilt and shame are part of the spiral of weight gain, so make a different choice. Ditch the negative self-talk and self-condemnation. Stop comparing your current self to where you would like to be and instead realize the grand impact of undertaking a long-term change as you shift toward self-love and acceptance.
Quit resisting! Make weight loss fun, not grueling.
The expectation that adopting a new fitness-focused lifestyle is going to be difficult or boring holds you back from fully committing to losing weight. The bottom line is this: you will have as much fun as you allow yourself to have. Go out on a limb and make new friends at a local fitness class, visit a luxury weight loss resort and try fun outdoor activities, or start your own weekly workout group with friends or neighbors. Recognize your tendency to groan, complain, whine and resist. Make a concerted effort to grin through the discomfort and actively appreciate the fact that you’re taking the time to prioritize your own health and wellbeing.
Revamp your wardrobe with stylish clothes that fit the current you.
No matter what your current weight is, when you look good, you feel good. Though it might seem superficial, constantly reminding yourself that you’re not at your college weight (or wedding weight or pre-baby weight…) through ill-fitting clothing that digs, pulls and pinches are mini-inflictions of unhelpful guilt, shame and disappointment. While you might be in the midst of a healthy weight loss program or lifestyle shift, don’t use that as an excuse to continue to dress yourself in a way that issues a harsh reminder every time you button your pants.
Forget diets– embrace a new lifestyle.
One of the biggest factors that can impede your weight loss progress is the expectation that you will feel miserable and deprived if you start eating healthy snacks and meals. With a little research and dedication, you can replace fatty, salty, sugary convenience foods with fresh, healthy alternatives that are just as satisfying. Learn about the foods you eat through online research, cooking classes or working with a dedicated nutritionist at a weight loss resort. When you understand exactly how the foods you eat are farmed, processed and prepared, and how your body assimilates them after consumption, it becomes easier to fill your body with foods that promote energy and weight loss.
The bottom line is: healthy weight loss requires an ongoing commitment to make new decisions instead of old patterns. Ditch the all-or-nothing thinking (and the accompanying fear of failure or procrastination to get started) and begin envisioning a new lifestyle that promote self-acceptance through sweeping but gradual changes. Your time is now.