Not sure where to begin? That’s alright, we all need to start somewhere! People ask me how I got started with my journey to long-term weight loss. They mention how hard it is to get started and/or stay dedicated. If we know what to do, why is change so hard? The secret is to shift your mindset and habits.
Most of us know what we need to do to eat well and stay healthy, the reality is that it’s easier said than done. The way we view our health and fitness on a daily basis has a significant impact on our progress.
I’m going to get into six tips on how I prepared myself mentally to lose weight and be healthy and hopefully they will help you also!
1. Shift your mindset.
When you’re starting a journey from a place where your mind dreads the thought of it then it takes both physical and mental effort to begin. It also takes physical and mental effort to keep going. You constantly have to shift your mindset to a place where you accept minor discomforts for ultimate long-term satisfaction.
For me, when it comes to deciding things about my future, health and responsibilities, I try not to rely on what I “feel like doing.”. If that were the case then what I would feel like doing is eat chocolate and cookies and ice cream and bread with butter and all kinds of cheesy things…then I’d be over 300lbs with no job and no real life! What I do is think about what is best for me in the long term and then set goals accordingly for myself to accomplish. When I set these mini goals, I encourage myself by saying them aloud and saying that I must accomplish it. I have to keep motivating myself this way until my mind gets with the program. For example, if I keep thinking about how much I don’t want to go to the gym and how much of a pain it is then guess what? I’m probably not going end up going to the gym. Having a positive mindset and telling yourself good things about your future aloud is honestly very powerful.
Focus on the process, not the product.
2. Get connected.
Follow the YouTube channels of people who have gone through (or are still currently in) their weight-loss journey. Do the same for website blogs. The goal is to find people you can relate to who were in similar situations. This should hopefully give you the motivation to take your first step.
Next, join a community! MyFitnessPal is one of my all-time favorite apps! Not only can you keep track of calories, workouts and etcetera, but they have a community section where you can discuss all kinds of topics with other users who are going through the same thing as you! Some users even create mini challenges that are open to the public where each person holds each other accountable via posting replies and providing encouragement. It’s awesome and very helpful!
I joined a community challenge on MyFitnessPal that was based on breaking the late night snacking phase. We would set a goal individually on the thread (i.e. no eating after 9pm) and from there each person would reply regularly, showing their track record towards the goal. The goal was to keep your streak going for as long as possible. People would post saying how they’re feeling, and the other members would encourage them to keep going further. I actually still do this and it’s great! It holds me accountable…I look forward to waking up and letting my little community know that I made it one more day!
3. Start slow – take baby steps!
This is something new, and just like learning anything else, it will take time. This isn’t some quick fix process– it’s a long term process that you have to build up to. You can’t absorb all knowledge at once. And if you tried to then you’d just overwhelm yourself and possibly scare yourself out of healthy living entirely! Start with the essential basics: track your calories, control your portions, eat more vegetables, drink more water, and begin to get active. Keeping it simple just like that will help you lose weight from jump. Once you get into the swing of things then you can start digging into more of the nitty gritty things such as limiting sugar, not eating late, avoiding processed foods, limiting your sodium intake, and more. These specific details are also part of understanding the healthy lifestyle.
Motivation is what gets you started…habit is what keeps you going.
4. Be realistic.
So many people reach out to me and tell me about the steps they plan on taking to lose weight, and honestly some are very drastic. For example, someone wanted to do a 10 day green smoothie detox (I have no clue what that is) to lose 10lbs. This person was starting from scratch and just saw some random video about someone who did the same thing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s doable (kudos to you all who can do it…me? I enjoy food too much to go through that torture!), but realistically if you’re going from eating sweets, heavy carbs, all types of meat and tons of sugar to nothing but smoothies the next day is a set-up for failure in my personal opinion. If you’re interested in a detox, try it for 24 hours. See how your body reacts to it. The end goal for a detox should not be to lose weight. Rather, it should be to cleanse your palette, remove the bad toxins from your body and regulate your cravings in preparation for your healthy lifestyle transition.
5. Remove CAN’T from your vocabulary.
can’t CAN do it.” I can’t WILL try my best to do pushups.”
If your manager asks you to work on something, would you tell him/her that you CAN’T do your job? Umm…If you want that job then you WILL try to do what he/she tells you and you WILL ask for help in the process. Losing weight is the same way if you’re committed to it. Trying and remaining positive is key.
I remember when I first started my journey and I went to the gym with my friend. She told me to try the elliptical. I told her that I’m sure I can’t go past 15 minutes. Guess what? I tried that bad boy and was on there for 20 minutes (go me!). I not only met my original expectation, I exceeded it also. That may not seem like a lot to others but it was a huge accomplishment to me at that point in time. Now fast forward 2 years later and boom–down 40lbs. BOOM doing two-a-days. You get what I’m saying? Don’t say you can’t when you haven’t even tried. You are already discouraging yourself. It’s all a mental game. Your body can’t eat right or workout if your mind won’t let it!
“The body achieves what the mind believes.”
6. Celebrate every small victory!
EVERY SINGLE ONE! I’m not talking about celebrating your victory by treating yourself to fatty foods. (Wouldn’t that be great !) I’m talking about congratulating yourself and giving yourself big cheers in order to keep encouraging yourself. You ate vegetables every day this week? GO YOU! You worked out 3 times this week for 20 minutes? GO YOU! You bumped up your workouts from 20 to 30 minutes? YASSS girl go you! You lost 2 pounds? GO YOU *hits the dab*!!! No victory is too small. So you didn’t lose 1221 pounds in a week after putting in work at the gym, but you DID lose 1-2 pounds. That’s progress! So keep being patient and persistent, and keep that awesome attitude of yours. You will get to your end goal eventually!
What I’ve started doing is writing post-its and sticking them in places I look at regularly. One of mine says “YOU GOT THIS”and it’s posted near my door so I can see it every time I leave the house. Things like that are really helpful. Don’t look for the acknowledgment of others to fulfill your victory. They don’t know where you started and they certainly won’t know where your journey ends.
No excuses this time…Get started! You got this!
If you truly are committed to wanting to live a healthy lifestyle you have to acknowledge and accept the biggest thing: this is a LIFESTYLE. Not a temporary fix. It is a PROCESS. It WILL TAKE TIME. Accept those things and you will gain comfort in the journey you’re about to embark on. Don’t give up on your goals no matter how challenging or impossible it may seem. Good things come through patience, a positive attitude and persistence. You are responsible for your own life. OWN IT!