Your Brain Can Help You Lose Weight... Or Make You Fat!
By Tracy Lee
Have you done this before?
You have set your weight loss goals and mapped out your plan to lose all those excess pounds that you have been dying to get rid off.
In your mind, you have psyched yourself up -- this time you are going all the way out to lose all those pounds! "Nothing can stop me," you tell yourself.
Then, you rationalize that...
1) In order for you to succeed in your weight loss goals, you must follow a super-strict diet and exercise routine.
2) If you happen to go off track in your diet or exercise routine by eating your favorite high-calorie junk food and skipping your exercise session, this means you have totally blown off your plan altogether.
I sure hope not!
This train of thought can be very detrimental to your weight loss efforts, but it's all too easy to fall into this trap. And not only is it very harmful to your body, it actually lowers your self-esteem too.
Your brain can help you to lose weight, or it can make you fat.
If you want to lose weight successfully, you'll need to have the right thoughts in your brain. Conversely, holding on tight to the wrong concepts can (and will!) jeopardize your plans!
Here's what you should do instead...
1) Get rid of the word "DIET" from your thoughts
Firstly, you must shake off the idea that you absolutely have to follow an extremely restrictive diet in order to lose weight successfully.
In fact, most people who are able to lose their unwanted weight successfully DO NOT diet. What they do is simply change their lifestyle such as practicing portion control, moderation, cutting back on calories and curbing their emotional eating bouts.
It's time to change your focus from weight loss to weight management. It is not just losing weight, it is about changing your lifestyle so that you can maintain your weight loss.
And do you notice how most women like to use the word "diet" every time they want to lose weight? We "go on" and "go off" diets after every holiday season; we say "I start on Monday" only to go off it by the weekend. Nobody says "I start my new way of life on Monday." But that's exactly what we need to do. An effective diet isn't just for Christmas or just a very special occasion, it's for your whole life.
We need variety not only for our nutritional reasons. It is also to satisfy ourselves, and to take care of our "wants." So, you need to create your own healthy lifestyle... the lifestyle that you want, and one that's sustainable for the long term.
Be wary of any plan that restricts entire food groups, or if it relies on just 1 type of food (e.g. soup or salad) as its mainstay.
Believe me, I've been there and done that. If you go on a diet that requires you to eat all the food that you hate or totally omits your favorites, you are going to dread your meals and are bound to fail. Even if you manage to lose the weight, all your pounds (and probably more!) will creep back once you are off the diet.
2) Do NOT give up your favorite foods
Another thing that most women would do initially is severely limiting their food intake. Or they completely cut off their favorite foods.
This is one thing that you should never do.
Well, by doing that, it sets you up for binges and your temptation for these foods would definitely increase.
Instead, you should reduce your consumption slowly. For example, you always have desserts after dinner. Instead of cutting off totally, you start by reducing your portion size to half. Thus, the temptation becomes much less powerful when you have just the taste of something "bad" now and again instead of telling yourself that it is off limits for good.
After a while, you will find yourself accustomed to the new portion sizes, and you'll be able to satisfy your craving with just a small amount of your "super sinful" foods.
3) Forgive and move on...
So, you decide to keep your favorite foods in your weight loss plan. You allow yourself a chocolate cookie everyday. But, you could not resist the temptation and you finish half of the pack. Next day afternoon, you finish the remaining half of the chocolate cookies pack for your afternoon tea.
Gee, have you blown your weight loss plan again? Does that mean you should just give up the idea of losing those extra pounds and go back to my old eating habits?
Well, not allowing yourself to make mistakes is the worst mistake you can ever make. Seriously.
Having this all-or-nothing thinking is a way to let you off the hook. It is an escape route that you create for yourself. In your mind, you could be telling yourself, "Oh well. It is all gone. I guess I don't have to bother anymore. Give me my cookies."
There's an old saying that goes, "No matter how far along you are down the wrong path, it's never too late to turn back." So don't think just because you made bad choices today, you can't start over tomorrow.
Everyday is truly a new beginning. You do not have to wait until a new year, a new month or a Monday to start all over again.
You can't erase last night's binge, but you can aim for a much healthier today!
4) Create a lifestyle you want
Many times, when you want to lose weight, you will plan up a very strict diet and exercise routine for yourself. Well... there is a high chance that you would not be able to execute it successfully. To make things worse, you hate it.
Why not aim to create a healthy lifestyle you want so that you do not give up your favorite foods?
You must create a realistic and achievable weight loss plan. After all, you want to plan to SUCCEED, not to fail, right?
If you find difficulty in creating a good plan for yourself, or if you can't seem to discipline yourself to stay true to your plan, I suggest that you engage a personal trainer to help you.
5) Celebrate your small victories
Every time you achieve a small milestone, go ahead and reward yourself.
But do not over-indulge. For example, you can reward yourself a small ice-cream once you have managed to complete your first week of exercise routines. Or when you lose your first 3 pounds, you can treat yourself a slice of cheese cake.
Remember, it is alright to reward yourself for the small challenges you have overcome so that you won't give up so easily. Let it be something you look forward to every time you surmount a challenge.
If you set up your rewards properly, they'll motivate you on a daily basis and you'll find it easier to follow your weight loss plans!
Bonus: And here's one more extra tip... Don't stress yourself. Take it easy on yourself as you're learning how to be a new, improved and healthier you. After all, you're only human... a soon-to-be-much-lighter human!
Copyright 2006 Tracy Lee
About The Author
Tracy Lee is the owner of the "Weight Loss for Women Over 40" site.