Is your mindset causing your diet to fail?
Do you ever feel that the harder you try to lose weight, the harder it is? Why is it that once we conscientiously tell ourselves that we need to lose a few pounds, that they seem to cling to us all the more? It most likely has to do with your mindset.
Once you decide that you are going to do something, like not eat a bag of chips in the evening when you sit down in front of the tv, it happens to be all you can think about.
Nope, not today chips.
I can do this.
Okay, fine. One or two is better than the whole bag…
Oops, that was a few more than one or two.
I am a failure. I suck. Dieting sucks.
Tomorrow will be better.
And then tomorrow comes, and it happens again.
How can the one thing we consciously tell ourselves that we are going to not do, we do?
It comes down to mindset. We tend to focus on what we shouldn’t do, rather than on the things we can do.
Instead of focusing on not eating the chips, we need to shift our mindset and focus on adding things.
There are a number of problems with this scenario. The first, is that we are too focused on what we can’t or shouldn’t do (a negative), the second has to do with the habit(s) that have been ingrained, and the third has to do with our goal setting process.
Shouldn’t and should are dangerous words. They leave us wanting to do the very thing we know that we should not do, or leave us with guilt and shame over knowing that we should do something, but simply just not wanting to do it.
When we focus on what we shouldn’t do, we create a continuous thought process.
Don’t eat the chips, don’t eat the chips, don’t eat the chips… leaves us thinking about the chips. When we focus on what we should do, it leaves us feeling unable to achieve success when we aren’t able to do what we should. I should just be able to watch tv without eating the chips – why can’t I do something so simple? I suck. (ironically, this typically leads to eating more chips).
Instead, focus on what you can do to help you reach your goals. When we tap into the possibility of all of the things we can do, we leave the things we can’t and our feelings and history about our ability to succeed in the past.
When we focus on our ‘can’s and our ‘could’s we expose ourselves to a world of positive self choice. We begin to empower ourselves to be engines of choice, and of change in our situation. We begin to embrace our journey of health and weight loss, and begin to feel successful.
When we shift our focus from missing out on eating the chips, we allow a space in our brain for replacing the habit with one that is more conducive to our goals.
You could go for a walk, you could focus on adding more vegetables in a day, you could replace the act of eating chips with drinking a cup of tea instead. The word could opens up a window of possibilities rather than limiting you to the confines of not being able to do the one thing you want to do, or the one thing you used to do.
The power of can and could also shifts us from having outcome based goals to behaviour goals. Typically, when we set a goal, such as weight loss, the goal is identified, yet is still very vague.
Once we start to filter in a few could habits, we start to actually engage in behaviours that help us to reach our goals. Saying that we want to lose weight is one thing. Actually taking positive steps to lose weight is another thing entirely. I am trying to lose weight, so I am going to go for a walk each evening instead of sitting in front of the television and fighting the urge to each chips is far less taxing to the brain, and is making a positive impact on our health and getting us closer towards our goals.
Seeing the positive changes that you can take to reach your goal will open your eyes to the many opportunities that you can take to change, rather than focusing on the habits you can ‘no longer do’, or are going to miss.
After spending hours of coaching clients, and changing my own mindset, I have seen the tremendous effect a mindset shift can make. Recently, I had been feeling bloated and lacked energy and motivation. I knew that it was because I wasn’t fuelling my body as well as I ‘should’ have, but I just couldn’t get my mind into a place of wanting to change. I didn’t want to miss out on all of the things that I enjoyed, or that others were eating around me over the summer. But I shifted my own mindset to wanting to eat foods that fuelled by body and were as nutrient rich as possible. Suddenly I started craving vegetables, and salads, and nutrient rich foods, and actively started choosing these things over various sugary and empty calorie foods. I feel better, I have lost 5 pounds in a month and I actually feel in control of my body and my choices again.
If you’ve been stuck in a rut, or just can’t seem to make the choices that you need to make to reach your goals, let us help you. We’ve got a team of active food coaches who understand the position you’re in, and have the tools to help you get to where you want to go. Sometimes it’s not just a matter of knowing what you need to do, but having someone help empower you to act on what you know.
Click here for a complimentary consultation, or to learn more about our balanced lifestyle nutrition and mindset coaching.