What you think may be keeping you fat.
That was blunt but the truth is that your brain may be the biggest thing standing between you and weight loss. From your ability to make healthy decisions to your stress levels your brain is working overtime when you are in weight loss mode. And if your brain isn’t on board with your weight loss goals, you can’t expect to be successful.
Why is that?
Because your brain is the key player behind how you feel and how you decide to act and those two determining factors are everything when it comes to weight loss. To successfully become a thin person you have to adopt a thin mindset. You have to learn to develop a relationship with food that isn’t based on guilt, comfort, or boredom. And for most people struggling to lose, that means rewiring their brains for thinner thinking.
How do you learn to think like a thin person?
There are really three basic concepts that anyone trying to lose weight should learn to embrace. First, change your negative thought patterns. Second, learn to focus on fitness not weight. And third, love your whole self. Training your brain to do these three tasks will result in better weight loss and a stronger likelihood that you will maintain your loss in the future.
Change Your Negative Thought Patterns
There is an inherent link between what you think, how you feel, and what you do. Once thinking goes sideways, feeling sad, shameful, angry, or guilty usually follows and those emotions cause us to overeat and or make poor decisions that result in an ever growing waistline and more guilt, shame, and anger. It’s a bitter cycle that doesn’t leave much room for hope.
Some of the negative patterns to be aware of include:
- All-or-nothing thinking—that crazy judgmental thinking that leads us to eat ice-cream all day because we made one poor choice in the morning, or skip working out altogether because we only have half an hour, or give up our efforts to lose weight completely because we didn’t lose ten pounds in the first week.
- Emotional eating—using food to comfort, celebrate, or punish ourselves based on how we feel.
- Blaming—identifying weight as the cause for all of our unhappiness and assuming that if we were thin, we would have no problems.
- Comparing—judging our own success and failure based on others.
- Playing the numbers game—linking our happiness or sense of self worth to numbers on the scale or the tag in our clothing.
These old habits are all learned behaviors. You learned these self-defeating behaviors and you are fully capable of learning new, uplifting behaviors. Your brain wants to make things simple. It wants to create neural pathways that streamline your thinking. For some people, therapy or counseling might be necessary to tackle the negatives holding them back but many people can be successful just by getting their brain on board.
Make your brain help you lose weight; here’s how:
First, get motivated. Find the reasons that you really want to get in shape. Be clear and specific and write them down. Use those reasons to stay on track every day. Review, re-read, and commit. Over and over and over.
Second, plan EVERYTHING. Stop flying by the seat of your pants and get yourself organized. This half hearted effort at taking good care of yourself is reaping exactly zero rewards. Time to make yourself a priority and plan what you will eat and how you will get your activity in everyday. Losing weight is serious business and serious business requires serious action. Stop screwing around!
Third, stop self-sabotage. Your own thinking is the real reason you can’t lose weight and keep it off. In order to win the life you deserve, you have to stop giving in to poor choices and using the sense of failure that goes with it to keep yourself from succeeding. Accept that you are a work in progress and give yourself the support you need to win good health.
Fourth, learn to deal with being hungry. Losing weight means eating less and that may mean you experience some hunger. You’ll live. Train your brain to distinguish between hunger and cravings. More often than not what we experience isn’t actually hunger at all. It’s our brain longing for the quick highs it’s come to love like sugar and carbs.
Focus on Fitness not Weight
Healthy people don’t need to worry about losing weight. That frees up a lot of time! That allows them to think about their overall well being rather than how to shed pounds. People trying to lose weight often give food more power than it deserves, using it as a coping mechanism rather than a nutrition source. Imagine how much healthier you would be if what you thought about wasn’t calorie counts and deficits but nutrition and fitness.
Fitness is so much more than a number. If you want to be healthy, start thinking about your fitness as a whole and stop reducing your success to what the scale says. Healthy people don’t worry about the scale. They focus on strength, endurance, and how they feel.
We often judge ourselves based on what we see in the mirror. We get so focused on how thin or fat we are that we nitpick ourselves nearly to death. That focus on weight neglects the real goal behind achieving a healthy weight which is to live a fuller, happier life. Big picture people.
Love Your Whole Self
And finally, the most important thing to train your brain if you want to lose weight and live healthy is to love yourself. You are more than your body. You are more than your weight.
As women we often tie our self-esteem to our appearance. Our body image controls how we feel about ourselves. For the person who is overweight that can be overwhelming and depressing.
Remind yourself regularly that you are a whole person. Think about your many accomplishments and embrace everything that is in you. Your tight pants don’t define you (and I don’t mean leggings 😉). You are worthy of love, especially your own.
All these lessons I had to learn myself. My eating disorder seemed to control me. Once I was able to change the way my brain was wired, I found a way to live a sustainably happy and healthy life.
Losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle is a challenge but one that you are totally up to. You can learn to make better decisions. You can teach yourself to prioritize self-care. You can achieve every one of your health and fitness goals.
You deserve success.
Begin by learning to think thin.