Before you begin your weight loss journey and focus on the changes you’ll make to your diet, it’s really important to make some changes to the way you think; changes in your mind can really help you make those changes to your body. Instead of fighting the limitations of our minds, we should work with them. Here, in part 1 of The Mind Game of Weight Loss, we will cover the first five tips to overcome your mind and benefit your body!
1. Think “New Life”
It will be easier to keep the pounds off if you think of this new phase as a healthy lifestyle and not something you plan to do only until you reach the weight you want. In this sense, don´t think about the foods you can’t eat, think about the foods you’re going to add to your diet, all the fresh produce that’s in season right now. This will leave no room on your plate for unhealthy foods.
2. Don’t Eliminate Favorites
The feelings of deprivation will only increase your desire to eat them. One strategy is to make a list of the foods you like and imagine never being able to eat them again. The unhealthy foods we have a strong emotional attachment to are our ´High Sacrifice Foods´ (HSFs) and the foods we think we could live without are our ´Low Sacrifice Foods´ (LSFs). Most people have less than six HSFs and only eat unhealthy foods they are not particularly attached to out of habit. The LSFs are eliminated from the diet and the HSFs are maintained through portion control strategies, such as taking the time to concentrate on what you´re eating and really savoring the tastes and flavors. It is also important to eat your HSF early in the day, rather than saving it as a treat. Research on overweight people has shown that they are more likely to overeat later if they feel they have deprived themselves earlier in the day.
3. Set Milestone Goals
Research has shown that we are biologically wired to discount the value of faraway events, so whether your diet is aimed at losing weight or avoiding ill health, your goal can sometimes seem distant, less achievable or less important than more immediate issues in your life. Impulsive people and overweight females have been shown to have the most difficulty at imagining future rewards, so it would seem that overweight females have a tendency to ´live in the moment´. Instead of having a target weight far off in the future, have target milestones. These could be where you would like to be in a few weeks, or months, or a pair of jeans you want to get into, or a physical challenge you´d like to be able to do.
4. Slip-ups are OK
It’s inevitable that you will have a few slip-ups during your diet, but the real mistake is to decide to forget the diet for the rest of the day and resume it tomorrow. A study by the University of Toronto showed that this kind of ´The diet starts tomorrow´ thinking leads to binges and weight-gain, due to overeating when we have the opportunity before an impending period of deprivation. So, if you see yourself slipping up as you reach for a slice of pizza, remember to really enjoy every mouthful and then stop there – you have not broken your diet, you’ve just taken a detour. The most important thing is that you have successfully avoided a binge which would have undone a lot more of your hard work than one slice of pizza.
5. Don’t Misuse Exercise
If we truly want to be healthy we need to engage in some kind of physical activity. This should not be seen as a punishment, otherwise your motivation will not last long, but similarly it shouldn’t be seen as an excuse for you to eat more, either. Food is fuel, so obviously if you do more exercise you need to provide more fuel for your body, but you shouldn’t do exercise in order to eat more. Both of these views are harmful to your healthy-lifestyle mentality. Find an exercise you enjoy, and ideally someone or a group to do it with and you’ll trick your brain into thinking it’s a social activity and therefore, fun.
Apply these first five tips to your life at the very beginning of your weight loss journey, to increase the likelihood of success with a permanent (and positive) change in your life. If you have already started your weight loss plan, not to worry, you can still work to incorporate these tactics into your life and reap the results in the future. And remember, this is only part 1 of The Mind Game of Weight Loss, later in the week we will publish part 2, so you have even more knowledge and understanding of what you can do to make your weight loss a success! Also keep in mind, a phentermine alternative can always help keep the pounds off!
Comment below if you have any questions or feedback, we are always happy to hear from you!