I can’t think of two more shameful words than, “I’m fat.” Yet you likely think that all the time.
Even if you aren’t actually overweight, you feel something in your body that feels uncomfortable and you label it as “fat”. Then the automatic shame cycle kicks in and makes you think less of yourself.
This is a mindset many of us are trapped in. And it is this mindset that is a key player that’s destroying the image we have of ourselves and how we think of ourselves. I’ve seen client after client lose 10, 20, 70 even 100lbs, and like clockwork, every time they hit their goal, they wanted to lose more and more and more. They had convinced themselves that they would be happy after they reached their desired number, but it didn’t play out like that.
This is why I became a health coach and created the Stress Free, Health Me program.
Diets don’t take into account who you are, your needs, your wants, and how you protect yourself. And it’s for that reason that 98% of people gain the weight back in 6 months of losing it.
Want your experience to be different? Keep reading!
What you need to know is our bodies crave convenience. That might not be too surprising, but that also means our brains crave convenience, which means, our brains will always resort to what’s automatic and familiar.
What does this have to do with dieting and getting healthy, you might ask?
Diets focus on willpower, not actually adjusting the behaviors that will cause you to gain the weight back. Over time, you’ve created automatic, familiar patterns of eating and thinking about food that will come back to sabotage you if you don’t examine your behaviors.
So how did you create these automatic patterns? You created a mindset out of the beliefs you have about yourself and how the world works, the regular feelings you experience on a given day, and the thoughts you have.
One of the biggest obstacles to changing our mindset is our inability to rest. We live in a world that values Doing over Not Doing (I love asking my clients what’s the difference between being lazy and resting? Most can’t answer).
If we’re not doing, we perceive that time as lost, or that we were being “lazy”. Just that thought alone has the power to release a hormone in our bodies that encourages our body to follow the pattern we’ve created and take regulatory action. For example, if you told yourself rest = laziness, it would prompt you to do something….whether that’s scroll on your phone, eat, call someone.
When we tie this into the dreaded “I’m Fat” mindset - it speaks to thoughts, feelings and beliefs you hold and have practiced for decades about feeling fat. You could lose all the weight, but as long as you’re interpreting certain body signals as I’m fat, your mind will stay convinced it’s fat and take you along for the ride.
What this means is you could do all the hard work to lose weight, succeed, and then find yourself dissatisfied, and ultimately gain all the weight back because you left out a key factor for maintaining a healthy lifestyle - your mindset.
CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
In order to change your mindset, follow these simple steps:
Learn about what your mindset is (the thoughts, feelings and beliefs you hold around yourself that connect to your health)
Identify the habits and patterns that make you work against yourself (overeating after a stressful event, negative self talk, etc)
Come up with a positive Why and create a menu (more about this below)
PRACTICE AND BE PATIENT
STEP 1: Getting to know your mindset is simple, but it’s not easy.
As I briefly mentioned, we live in a world that values doing. When we are so busy, always on the go, moving from one thing to the next, or multitasking, our brain can’t even observe what’s happening. We’re stuck in “being busy” instead of focusing on being calm and productive.
So, you can go about changing this mindset in two ways:
You can try your best to slow down during the day and actually be present to the life you’re living (which we all should do anyways).
OR you can schedule in daily reflection time and write down what you observe.
Making a habit of doing both can help lead you toward a healthy lifestyle. But I’m a realist, and I can share that most of my clients have found more success with adding in reflection time and writing down their observations.
Write down thoughts you remember thinking, or feelings you remember having
Be more specific than good and bad, use actual emotions
Include the beliefs you remember guiding you (that one is harder, but I can help you with that HERE).
STEP 2: Now that you’re aware of the thoughts, feelings and beliefs that you’re practicing, you can look at the life experiences that cause and influence them.
These are the experiences that lead you to respond in a way that would sabotage your health goals.
For instance, if you’re a perfectionist and your boss has negative feedback for you, you might observe thinking, “What’s wrong with me? I should’ve known better and worked harder.” That thought might make you feel agitated, disappointed and less than. And those feelings might prompt you to stop at the ice cream store on your way home from work (sound familiar?).
Now, think about your life experiences that led you to think those thoughts and ultimately act out of alignment with your goals. Were you bullied as a kid, which made you more sensitive to criticism? Maybe your parents were strict, or you had a sibling you used to compare yourself to?
When you resort to a quick fix (like “treating yourself” with ice cream) your brain learns to rely on these convenient and quick “fixes” to make you feel better.
But when you can identify similar patterns in how you react to triggers like negative feedback, it’s easier to slow down, realize the answer isn’t to “treat yourself” with an ice cream but to reflect on what it was that triggered you in the first place and hopefully work through it to soothe yourself.
Once you become aware of these patterns and motivations (which is the first step in any change), you’re better equipped to change your mindset.
Another example: If you want to be healthy so you can look good, people will accept you more, so you can find a partner…none of that will truly work. Your motivation NEEDS to be so you can feel better. Because there will be times when you’ll feel triggered, and if your motivation is based solely on how other people see you, you won’t motivate YOURSELF to make a choice that will help you feel better. You’re just putting on a band-aid rather than treating the underlying problem.
Why should you turn your focus inward? Because your limbic brain, which is the motivational center of our brain, has three needs to create motivation: The action you need to take has to be
and not be painful.
The habits and mental patterns you’re trying to change will feel inconvenient and even potentially uncomfortable. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle isn’t necessarily easy at first, but the payoffs of better health and increased self confidence are unquestionably worth it.
The desire to feel good helps the brain work WITH you instead of against you. When you connect to the desire to FEEL good and then create menus of things you can do, instead of following the unhealthy habits your brain typically resorts to, you’ll make better choices for your mind and body.
The purpose is to create a menu of things that you’d be interested in trying and being OPEN and curious to see how they made you feel different.
For example, if you feel triggered, your menu might include taking a break to
- paint your nails,
- go for a walk,
- make a lanyard,
- call a friend,
- or listen to a podcast.
Practice and be patient.
I know, I know. I’m not a huge fan of these either, but I don’t make the rules, I just teach them. Your “unhealthy” mindset has been your unhealthy mindset for years. In order to change it, you need to practice thinking different thoughts, challenging your emotions, and acting differently - AKA practicing steps 1-3.
Then you need to be patient.
You might want instant results, but you're changing your lifestyle, not for a wedding or a birthday, but for the rest of your life.
If you can be patient and build a healthy lifestyle one brick at a time, like you will in the Stress Free, Health Me program, you will be able to truly embrace and live a healthy life.
With practice and patience you WILL be able to change your habits, which include your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and mindset, to align with who you are and who you WANT TO BE.
Instead of hating yourself, you will build yourself up. You’ll be successful at helping yourself heal from old stories of the past and truly step into the light that I know is within you.
STEP INTO YOUR HEALTHY LIGHT
Losing weight and keeping it off is hard, I understand that. But we make it harder by relying on quick fixes like fad diets or even surgery. We want results and we want them now and we don’t want to work for it.
I’m the same way, but if you’re like me and many of my clients you probably already experienced the quick fix, noticing it felt good but wasn’t sustainable, gained the weight back, and felt bad about yourself.
So, I want to extend an invitation to you.
An invitation to go about it in a different way.
To work WITH yourself from a loving space.
To understand how to eat, when to eat, and how to become your own health expert.
I’ll give you the guidance for where to look within your life to examine the behaviors that sabotage your success. BEING healthy is a lifestyle. You can’t separate life and health, because it's how we respond to our life that drastically influences our health.
You’ve tried diets, they don’t work, so let’s try something different so y