The losing weight equation is a no-brainer right? Burn off more calories than you take in, by eating less and moving more. Sounds simple! But what if you are filling your plate with seemingly the right types of food, and hitting up your favorite exercise class at least three times a week, and it’s still not enough? Your mental game is likely the missing piece of the puzzle.
Before you roll your eyes, and go back to your bulletproof latte, hear us out. It turns out, the way we think about food, our body and our goals makes a big difference in how likely we are to stick to a weight-loss plan, regardless of whether your plan involves counting calories, going Keto, or taking an extra HIIT class every week.
Here’s 5 tips to get your mind right once and for all, and elevate your weight loss results, without the latest trendy diet or an overly intense workout plan.
- Disconnect The Distractions: What we often deem these days as successful multi-tasking, is in reality overstimulation, and losing sight of getting back to what we actually think and feel. When you eat, STOP watching TV, answering emails, or scrolling through social media. When you ditch the distractions, you can focus more on what you’re eating, how much you’re eating, and how it makes you feel. This new relationship with your food will likely leave you feeling more satiated and lead to a strong, clear picture of food as part of your diet in the long-term.
- More Is Actually More: Diets immediately lead to the connotation of less, by cutting out carbs or sugar, cutting down portions, or even cutting out entire food groups. This act of cutting puts us and our minds into scarcity mode. When something is off-limits, even if you’re able to avoid it for a while, you could end up bingeing on it later because you’ve gone so long without it. Instead focus on celebrating the foods that you can eat, by crowding your plate with protein and vegetables, therefore simply making less room for the other stuff. Shift your focus away from what you can’t eat, and more towards what you can. It’s the same thought process with good vs. bad foods. Take pizza for example: with the mindset of filling up your plate with what you can eat, make a salad *with protein* to fill up your plate, then grab a slice of pizza. Before you move in on your second, or third, slice, see how you feel after you finish your plate. This is a much more realistic approach to still eating a ‘bad’ food without the guilt later, or telling yourself it’s your cheat day and eating 3 slices of pizza, with a side of breadsticks (we can’t quit you carbs!).
- Write Down What’s Off Limits: We’re not talking food here (remember, we want a healthy relationship with what we eat!). Declare, in writing, what you’re unwilling to do. This might sound counterintuitive, but it can help provide a “why” when motivation starts to falter. Are you unwilling to be the girl who’s always complaining about the same body part, to her friends or family? Are you unwilling to be the next person in your family to be put on cholesterol meds? Are you unwilling to wear an oversized t-shirt, or black-only bathing suit your next beach trip? Are you unwilling to be the parent who’s too tired to play with their kids at the end of the day? Think both long and short-term, as again your health, and your weight, are something that you will be dealing with the rest of your life. Remember to write these down, and keep it at the ready.
- Tracking 2.0: We’ve told you before about tracking what you eat to make yourself more mindful of your calorie input. But let’s go a step above the calorie counting. Start tracking not only what you ate, and how much, add on when you ate it, and how it made you feel. You’d be surprised how many times you may be eating your feelings, or eat when you’re bored, or that you have developed a habit of snacking before bed time when watching TV. The key here is you’re not only tracking your food intake, you’re tracking what you’re doing while you’re eating, and how it makes you feel. Becoming more mindful of what you eat, when and why you eat it, will help you create a healthy diet for life.
- Sleep On It: One of the strongest risk factors for becoming overweight is lack of sleep. When you’re feeling tired, you’re more likely to choose unhealthy comfort foods and to skip your workout. Additionally, sleep deprivation may slow down your metabolism. Yikes! If you’re wanting to see an added tick on the scale, try shooting for a consistent bed time, 7 days a week. Sleeping at least 7–8 hours per night consistently, is one of the easiest ways to control your weight without having to factor in food or exercise! Plus sleep helps aid muscle recovery from class 😉