5 Mindsets That Ruin Weight Loss
When it comes to losing weight, nothing sucks worse than hitting a weight loss plateau.
It takes shifting your focus and it can be a major challenge for people trying to lose weight. You'll need to create healthy habits to lose those last few pounds, which means trying a new routine or incorporating new foods into your diet.
But what about your mindset?
Your mindset — or the way you think — can derail even your best efforts.
Here are five common mindsets that can sabotage your weight loss and how to improve your mindset for a healthier approach.
Don't Ruin Your Weight Loss
#1 - I've taken on too much to handle
Weight loss is overwhelming.
To make it worse, social media blasts us with media all day. It's hard to wade through all of the bullcrap, fad diets, and "healthy trends" that aren't so healthy. The internet is accessible and we are in an age where we can read, learn, and research topics and ideas around health, fitness, and nutrition.
For most people, though, all of this information basically paralyzes you. You'll feel frozen or pure intimidation. This leads to possibly trying to turn to a quick fix or an unsustainable option like just starving it off.
Instead of setting yourself up for failure, you can make some small changes to keep from feeling overwhelmed. Try to replace your daily soda with water or try some unsweetened iced tea or black coffee and try to walk around at the office or on a weekly conference call.
You want to acknowledge your successes and enjoy some mini-rewards as you progress. You don't want to reward yourself with food, though.
Instead, think about buying yourself that new workout top, pick up those shoes you've been looking at, or get a massage after your first 5k you ran. Celebrating this progress boosts your motivation and it will help you stay on track and keeps you from having paralysis by analysis.
#2 - I just want to reach my target weight already
If you have a lofty goal, research shows that it can be much harder to achieve. Instead of seeing the one big goal, you need to zoom in on small tangible ways to progress. This is going to essentially give you the "path" to reaching your goals.
Learn to set SMART goals — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound. Instead of simply telling yourself you "want to lose weight," make a goal to eat vegetables at dinner five times a week. Try creating a step goal to increase your steps from 5,000 to 10,000 in five weeks.
While you create your SMART goals, you should think about starting a food and exercise log. Maintaining a food log holds you accountable and shows you where your pitfalls are. You will see where you are wasting calories or where you could be choosing the wrong foods.
If you are meeting your goals, start to tweak them or check off your successes. This is going to keep you focused and motivated to accomplish more.
#3 - I have to stop eating all of my favorite foods
Eating healthy foods is crucial to losing weight and improving your overall health, but when we think in a "black and white" way, it leads us to create rules around food. We deprive ourselves and cut out the foods we enjoy. This can bite back and cause you to overeat.
Instead of limiting your enjoyment, learn to make more balanced choices so you can enjoy the foods you like. If you are craving pizza, try to make a homemade pizza and load it up with veggies and lean protein. If you learn how to cook, you can recreate your favorite dishes and improve on them.
You just need to focus on nutrition and creating positive changes. Instead of thinking about foods you can't have, start thinking of ways to improve that food and make it more nutritional. Instead of cooking a huge baked potato and smothering it in cheese, sour cream, and hot sauce, try a smaller portion of potato and top it with a pound of stir fry veggies.
You'll be fuller and your calorie intake will be much lower than if your toppings were cheese and sour cream.
#4 - I'm not happy with what I look like
It doesn't matter if your goals are partially aesthetic, when you get in your head about your physical appearance, it can hinder your efforts — you will start nitpicking and make yourself feel worse.
This makes it much harder to stick to healthy goals. I don't know about you, but I want to bury my head in a bag of chips if I feel like I look like the Koolaid man in my red shirt today.
I deal with a lot of depression and I can honestly say when you are in that mode of thinking negative about yourself, it just gets worse and worse until you stop focusing on it. It doesn't mean you have to magically stop feeling the way you do about what you are being critical about... it means you just have to focus on more productive and important things.
If you don't, your workouts will suck, you'll only give half of your effort, and eventually, you just stop trying.
Instead of focusing on whatever you don't like, start trying to notice the other results that you can see and feel. Take a look at how much mental fortitude and perseverance you've built up by tackling these workouts and killing it at the gym.
#5 - I can't do this anymore
Life is beating you down, you've basically given up everything you love, and you've changed your habits... but nothing is working. It's stupid, you're tired of suffering, and you really probably don't even know why you started.
This happens. The trick to breaking through your sticking point comes from fearing the process. You start questioning your progress, why it's slowing down, and if you're doing something right.
Instead of seeing how far you need to go to reach your goals, start taking a look at how far you've come. For me, I've lost 120 pounds, gained it back, and so far I'm down 140 pounds. I've learned a lot in the journey, and if you take the time to look at your accomplishments, you may surprise yourself.
You've made healthy changes, you feel better, and you notice progress... just things have slowed down a little. If you've overcome new challenges before, use it as motivation to overcome your new challenges.