Monday, December 14, 2015

The First Thing to Change for Weight Loss

Diets don't make for lasting change. A lifestyle haul is typically necessary to keep the weight off for good. However, it doesn't matter how good your health coach is, if you don't learn how to change your mind, you will never change your body.

The Battle is in Your Mind

Will power is like a muscle. It takes practice and repetition to strengthen will power, and you can't use it constantly without it fatiguing. If you have a tendency to ebb and flow with your weight and committment to a "healthy lifestyle," then you probably have some distorted thinking.

Don't be embarrassed; I think we all suffer from stinkin' thinkin'. In our minds, we have limited mental real estate, and the more stressful life gets, the less room there is to differentiate thoughts that keep us in survival mode and thoughts that free us to contemplate change. When we feel insecure or threatened, we tend to resort back to our core principles, of which were often taught to us at a young age without our say at all.

For instance, when I was a little girl, the oldest and only girl of four kids, my parents used to dote on the fact that I was such a good helper. I helped change diapers, finish homework, clean up messes and counsel family members. My self-value was then shaped by an ability to take care of other people. As an adult, I've struggled with over-exerting my efforts to take care of people and carry their problems. If I'm not able to fix a problem for someone, then I feel like I'm failing at being a human being, and more so, failing at an expected position of being the one who makes others feel good and encouraged. I developed a core principle to take care of people, which was originally a positive attribute, but with the unraveling of life (and sin), distorted my thinking. Because that kind of thinking defined who I was for so long – or at least I thought it did — any time I tried to let go of controlling people's problems, I fought against it.

Your core principles affect your beliefs about your health and body. You may be limiting the grace you give yourself to transform your body because you've yet to give yourself grace to transform your mind.

I see it in many of my clients inquiries. Several people go back and forth with me on whether or not they want to purchase a program or commit to coaching. They might email me about the things they don't like about their lifestyle or body, and ask for help. But when I respond with points of action, they disappear from the entire Internet world. Usually, these people are the ones victimized by this brain battle. For whatever reason, they don't really want to change.

Identifying Your Core Habits

You might have a tendency to think you've got better things to do than truly get healthy. It starts out as "I don't have time to workout like some people because I have kids and a job; I'm just stretched thin already." But you're really telling yourself, I've got more important things to do than learn how to prepare food and cook healthy. When you have inner dialogue like this, you're exercising a resistance to change by limiting your beliefs. You convince yourself you don't need to change, when really you're most likely acting out of a lack of a want to change.

Priorities reflect people's principles and values. If you value work above your health, you might often say to yourself, "I'm too busy to cook meals." This kind of thinking often results when we fear making changes to our habits. Instead, we end up practicing another habit; for example, someone may get really good at working hard and late into the night and think "I'm too busy to cook dinner," or "I work so hard and don't have time to cook dinner." We deepen the need to work hard, prioritizing one's work ethic above other things, like the domestic habit of cooking. In turn, we tell ourselves working hard at my job is more important than learning how to cook healthy. This thought process has its benefits in the beginning. It helps you continue to work hard and might help you make deadlines or finish work under stress. It also may be an outlet on which one uses to focus energy to protect oneself from thoughts of insecurity or low self esteem. But when one decides they want to start valuing their health more, this thought process works against them.

Maybe you tell yourself "I can't workout because I'm already too fat and tired and I hate treadmills." But, you're really saying, "I don't want to workout." Maybe you think, "What's the point of working out? Everyone in my family's fat." If we were to dig a little deeper, you may actually uncover a fear of working out, and then at a deeper level, you realize you have a fear of man (or fear what others think about you). When we get to the root of our resistance towards habitual change, we learn how to cut those roots, decide what we really want to do, and plant new thoughts toward those goals.

Making New Habits

It's important you recognize areas of your life that you limit yourself with this kind of self-protecting mental game. To do so, you have to be open to it. You have to begin thinking about what you're thinking about.

If you plan on changing your habit of eating out 4-5 times a week to cooking dinner at home 3-5 times a week, you should anticipate your mind giving you excuses why tonight's not a good night to start. If you think you can't cook because you're just way too busy, then the next step is to learn how to simplify the art of cooking. It may be that the only experience you have cooking is some really extravagant, complicated recipe that you found off Pinterest that took you hours to prepare. Well, that can convince just about anyone to get in the car and pick something up. Maybe you realize you're just not sleeping well and it's a lack of rest that's the real issue, not the timeliness of cooking.

There's an abundance of available knowledge around food and cooking, so learning which foods to eat and how to prepare them are not the real issues. Once you can pinpoint the real problem, you will easily begin tackling some of the tactics to cooking healthy.

For example:

  • Plan a list of meal ideas for the week (nothing fancy; just a list of items like "fajita style chicken/salad or egg whites/veggie scramble)
  • Go grocery shopping at least once a week (on a full stomach)(with a list)
  • Wash and cut all produce before putting it up
  • Plan a time you're going to stop and eat, so meals stay in your schedule and aren't just an inconvenience; they're planned, to-do items (don't skip them)

For more tips and resources, follow me on social media: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram. Also, check out my Services to find out how I can personally help you get fit from the inside out.


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