On April 4th I wrote a post, What Do You Think? I asked for some reader feedback for future blog topics. If you didn’t participate (but would like to) please feel free to follow the above link. If you did participate, thank you for sharing. I like to imagine we are having a conversation and when you answer prompts or leave comments I feel the connection, and that means so much. So it begins, with a series of posts that are inspired by readers, and the first topic is keeping a positive mindset.
To be completely transparent, I have been called, “Too positive.” (by one of my best friends) when it comes to weight loss. I’ve also been told that my attitude about it makes it hard to relate to me. While it is true that I have a positive disposition about most things, including weight loss, it’s not because it isn’t challenging. Weight loss can be a difficult goal to keep because it takes so long to lose weight. Another reason is that it requires a lot of effort. Maybe the hardest reason of all is that while it takes time and effort, it is also so easy to get down on yourself during the process. In a weight-obsessed society, it’s easy to feel judged. Why are we so focused on weight loss? To put it simply, it’s because so many of us need to lose weight; according to the CDC, 4 out of 10 Americants are obese.
So what can we do to help ourselves make our weight loss journeys a little nicer? I’ve been doing this long enough to have some tricks up my sleeve! These are my top five strategies to reframe negativity:
- When negative thoughts start to creep in: “Talk back to negativity!” The “voice” that answers back is the one that would be used with someone you really love. I use my first name and it would go like this: “What?! Is that what I really look like? I thought I looked way better than this, I thought that shirt looked nice in the store.” then… “Come on, Jennifer, you have already lost so much weight. You are feeling better and your clothes are looser. I am very proud of you.”
- When weight loss feels like it takes too long: Know that this is an emotional response, employ analytical thinking, and get grounded in reality. I go to the data. I know numbers can be triggering to many of us but if you’re able to just take them as raw data they can really help. I weigh in daily, and because I do that I can see trends over time. Seeing the trend can inform future goals.
- When weight loss becomes overwhelming: First, write a list to organize the process. Then establish habits and rituals that will make the process manageable. I used a habit tracker because habits not only help with weight loss but also bring with them a sense of control by diminishing decision-making fatigue.
- When the end goal for weight loss is too big: Set smaller goals to build momentum. It’s so important to experience success because success builds stamina to keep going. My last small goal was to plan a week of dinners using WW recipes. Something I have to watch is not getting to fixed on the goals I set like I don’t always accomplish them, but that’s ok. Sometimes my goals are not always as helpful as I thought.
- When weight loss is all or nothing: Weight loss is a process and a process is seldom a this or that scenario. When I find myself engaging in fixed thinking, I’m only doing “good” or “bad” with this, I remind myself that this is a lifestyle change and not a diet. It is not prescriptive, it is not a “how to” it is a complex process where many things can be true (or false) at the same time. Reflecting on the many parts that make weight loss successful or not – is what helps me break this pattern of thinking.
Being a realist about weight loss does not have to mean being miserable. Sure it’s difficult, but I bet you’ve done “difficult” before. Being kind to yourself is not living in a delusion either – it’s being humane. If you believe in yourself you are halfway there. Help someone else to believe in themselves, and then you’re golden.