Making the decision to do something differently is hard, but following through with your decision to do so is really the most challenging part.
For example, making the decision to lose weight is a big deal. You’ve got to work up a ton of courage, commitment and willingness before you take the first step. However, following through with your decision and sticking to it is another story. After working with thousands of clients and guiding them along successful weight loss and life transformations, I’ve pinpointed the three requirements needed to experience successful weight loss, which include: 1) the right mindset, 2) the right action and 3) the right reward.
Having the right mindset when you're losing weight is critical.
Your desire to change has to significantly outweigh your desire to stay the same. If your desire isn’t strong, if your commitment level is anything less than 11 on a scale of 1 to 10, then dramatic change will not happen and you'll fall back into old habits and behaviors that got you where you don’t want to be in the first place.
The words that you use and the pictures you create in your mind are the biggest drivers of your behavior. Your mind does what you tell it. Use words that tell yourself that this is your choice and that you’re excited about it. You are choosing to drop weight and be healthy, and most of all, you are excited and grateful for the opportunity to do this for yourself.
- “I am excited to eat healthier foods and choose to feel great about my decision.”
- “I choose to move more during the day and I do it first thing in the morning because I love how it makes me feel.”
- “I choose to eat this meal over this unhealthy one because it’s important to me that I fit into these clothes that make me feel confident.”
You can put a ton of effort into losing weight but if the effort isn’t put toward what works for your unique body, then you’ll continue to experience failure. For example, you can’t keep trying to eat less and move more and think that all of sudden you'll see success. You can try with all of your inner strength to be vegan or carnivore or fill in the blank diet, but if your body isn’t dropping the weight a new action needs to be adopted.
Be that person you want to be – lean, fit, strong, vibrant, confident? Form that as your new identity and act as if you are already there – don’t wait. This is who you are, so start acting and eating like it today. Being this person and acting as if you are already that person has the most power. Think about how you would show up. What type of foods would be in your fridge, your pantry? When you dine out, what would you order? How would you move throughout your day if you were already this person?
Oftentimes we don’t celebrate our successes, and if we do, it isn’t in the “right” way. Usually, our celebrations sabotage our efforts. Have you ever looked forward to hitting your goal weight so you can go celebrate by eating “X” food (that food you say you love that doesn’t love you back?) How often do you celebrate with food or alcohol?
The ticket? Reward yourself in a way that celebrates and supports your success. It could be as simple as sticking a gold star on your meal plan on the days you’ve followed it precisely. I like to encourage our clients to plan something they couldn’t have done at their starting weight that they can’t wait to do once they’ve achieved their weight loss goals. Learn how to scuba dive? Get back on your bike or try a more difficult trail? Go to the beach in a specific swimsuit with a specific someone? Apply for that job? Hike something exciting?!
Eighty percent of any significant life change comes from the mind, and losing weight definitely qualifies. Success will be the only outcome when you focus on the right mindset, the right action and the right reward.
Ashley Lucas has a doctorate in sports nutrition and chronic disease. She is also a registered dietitian nutritionist. She is the founder and owner of PHD Weight Loss and Nutrition, offering weight management and wellness services in the Four Corners. She can be reached at 764-4133.