If there were actually any easy ways to lose weight we would all be supermodels. The fact of the matter is it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be slim.
Ever wondered why you’re stuck in a cycle of yo-yo dieting? It’s because even though you know consciously that you have to do the work to see results, a little part of your mind is always trying to trick you by telling you lies.
It’s impossible to get where you want to go if your mind is going in the other direction. If you know what you need to do but you’re sabotaging yourself, it’s a pretty safe bet that your mind is working against you.
You Are What You Think
Like it or not if you think it’s too hard to lose weight then that will come true. On the other hand, if you think you can lose weight easily (but with some effort) that will also come true – that’s how your mind works.
On a day to day basis you act out your negative subconscious beliefs and the results are always the same; you get nowhere fast. The good news is you can get rid of your old mind patterns; but first you need to know what they are.
To get you started I’m going to list four most common ‘lies’ you may be telling yourself that keep you overweight and unhappy.
ONE: It Runs In My Family
Yes, unhealthy eating habits and yo-yo dieting can be learnt from childhood. No, you don’t have to continue doing what you’ve always done. There is a straightforward path to weight loss, but it takes some commitment from you.
What messages did you receive as a child? Were you told you had to finish everything on your plate? Were you given treats whenever you were upset? Perhaps you were told you had inherited Aunty Betty’s ‘thunder thighs’.
Whatever you learned you can unlearn it, by paying attention to what you think and say to yourself (and about yourself) on a day to day basis.
If you always say ‘I’m lazy’, try replacing that with a positive statement that reflects who you want to be. For example, you could replace this statement with the mantra ‘I am motivated and inspired by life’. What would you need to believe about yourself in order to be slim, fit and healthy? Write it down and make it your mantra.
You can’t change the past; but you can choose what you pay attention to here and now. So become the gatekeeper of your mind and focus your attention on what you want. In no time it will become your reality.
TWO: I Have No Willpower
Is that really true? Or are you so used to failing that you’ve just resigned yourself to the ‘fact’ that it’s only a matter of time before you give in and eat that donut?
A little while ago I worked with someone who called herself a ‘chocoholic’. Jenny was so obsessed with chocolate that her eyes would glaze over at the mere mention of it. As far as she was concerned, sustainable weight loss was just a pipe dream.
Jenny had lost quite a bit of weight but Easter was coming up and she was terrified that all her hard work would be undone once the Easter eggs came out.
I asked her why she has such a hard time maintaining self-control at Easter time. She replied: ‘Because I can’t say no to chocolate’. Jenny believed that whenever she had a craving for chocolate, she ‘must’ act upon that craving.
If you think you can’t say no to chocolate you will act upon that belief. On the other hand if instead you say ‘I listen to by body and eat only what it needs’, little by little you will create new neurological pathways that guide you towards healthy eating and away from your old destructive habits.
THREE: I Hate Exercise
When I was a child I was pretty good at sport. I loved running, swimming and playing active games. My lunch break was always spent organising or playing some kind of game, and I loved running races, playing ‘chasee’ and basically skylarking around with my friends.
Then as a teenager I went to a new school. My older sisters had gone to this school before me and none of them were especially interested in sports. On the first day of sport I was busting with excitement at the possibilities that lay before me; netball, volleyball, hockey – so many new sports to choose from! I wanted to join all the teams.
Unfortunately my sports teacher had other ideas; she took one look at me and said: ‘Oh….you’re a Devine…’, as if that was the worst fate anybody could endure. Immediately I was lumped in the ‘not good at sport’ basket and after that I lost my passion for sports because nobody believed in me.
Once I left school I went through a difficult adjustment period where I became very anxious and overwhelmed. My doctor suggested that regular exercise may help so I began to do some workout classes.
Amazingly I found the endorphins really helped to settle my anxiety – and since that time I have always been fit and active. Still, I have to admit sometimes it can be pretty boring, mostly because I don’t mix things up very much.
But I whenever I feel tempted to slack off I remind myself of the benefits I get from regular exercise. I have no trouble maintaining a healthy weight, I’m fit and I’m emotionally healthy and happy.
My point is that you don’t need to want to exercise or even like it in order to do it. Just like brushing your teeth or putting the garbage out at night, you just do it. So before you hit the snooze button tomorrow, actively challenge the ‘lie’ that you have to enjoy exercise and just get moving. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is once you get started.
FOUR: Skinny People Are ‘Lucky’
No. They’re not. Most slim people work hard at it. Less than one percent of the population over the age of 25 can eat whatever they want without gaining weight.
Slim people are organized, disciplined and focused – by choice. If you want to lose weight ask yourself ‘why do I want this?’ Is that reason compelling enough for you to be willing to commit to healthy eating and regular exercise for the rest of your life?
If you’re just biding time until your daughter’s wedding so you can fit into that special outfit, probably not so much. On the other hand if being slim will give you great health, good self-esteem and the inspiration to participate in life again, those things are worth working for.
If you think you can’t achieve your ideal weight because of your genes or your circumstances or because you’re unlucky, you are wrong. You can choose to think, speak and act like a slim person starting right now.
How To Change the Way You Think
There is a lot of power in the written word. Take a pen and paper, sit down and finish the sentence ‘I can’t lose weight because…’ The answers you see on that sheet of paper will show you, clear as day, the specific thought patterns that are keeping you stuck in a cycle of self-sabotage.
Then, next to each statement, write down a positive statement written in the present tense that you want to be true. For example, next to the statement ‘I hate exercise’, write down ‘I am learning to enjoy exercise more and more each day’.
Repeat these positive statements silently or out loud at least ten times per day. The more you focus on what you want the more you will act upon your statements and the easier it will be to change your mindset, actions and ultimately, your reality. Take back your personal power by understanding that there really are no easy ways to lose weight and keep it off.