The Mental Side of Weight Loss

“This is a lot of work initially, especially mentally.”  This is what one of my coaching clients who is in my 8-week fat loss program told me last week.  She is absolutely right. Weight loss and habit change takes a lot of work.  It takes a lot of time, effort and mental energy and it’s not easy.  It can be simple, sure, but not easy.  Most know what to eat to be healthier. Eat well, move your body, drink water, sleep, etc.  So why is it so hard to just do it?  Answer: because our head gets in the way.

When we start a new program, whether it be nutrition or exercise, we’re super excited and motivated because we’re convinced THIS is going to work.  Week one is great, week two and maybe even week three are spectacular…but what happens when the excitement starts to wear off?  What if you don’t feel like you’re seeing results fast enough (I talked about this here and here)?  We start questioning what we’ve been doing and then it begins… “I’ll just eat this pizza and start over tomorrow” or “I’ll just take a break from planning my meals and cooking for a few days and figure it out as I go” or “I’ll eat xyz but I just won’t tell my coach.  She’ll never know.” (FYI we always know).  When this happens, which it inevitably does, you have a choice.  You can either sabotage your efforts or dig deep and just keep grinding. Easier said then done, I know, so I have a few ideas of how you can stay motivated and focused when enthusiasm and excitement starts to waver.

  1. Find your WHY and go back to it often.

In the very first email I send to my fat loss coaching clients I asked them to think about what their WHY is.  Of course most said they wanted to lose weight or they were “sick of being fat” but finding your why goes deeper than that.  I learned this from one of my own coaches that it’s not enough to just list the reasons, we have to tap into the emotions behind our why. 

So you want to lose weight.  Why?  Because my doctor said I have to and I don’t want to be fat anymore. Why?  Because I feel bad about myself and I hate my body. Why?  Because I want to feel good in my skin.  Why?  Because I want to be confident and proud of myself for once in my life. BAM. 

Self-pride and confidence is the real why in this case.

Yes, weight loss is the goal, but when motivation begins to fade and we lose track of why the hell we have to eat MORE vegetables or drink MORE water, remembering that you want to feel that sense of pride and confidence is extremely helpful.  Actually visualizing yourself as that confident and prideful version of yourself and knowing that once you really get there how proud you’ll be has a magical way of pulling us right back to remembering our goal getting us motivated to keep moving forward.

 

  1. Hire a coach or get an accountability partner

One of the many goals I have for myself in running my fat loss program is that I don’t want any of my people to feel like they’re going it alone.  I was in a program once where we were promised email/FB messaging access to our coach and he just fell off the face of the earth 4 weeks into a 12 week program.  The nutritional changes I had to make for this program were huge changes, so when he disappeared I felt totally lost. I had no one to help hold me accountable to my goals and no one to talk about my struggles with (in hindsight, I don’t think anyone could have stuck to that plan in real life…I mean bison for breakfast?  No thanks!).  My peeps get 24/7 text and email access as well as access to a private FB page so they have a whole group of supporters on top of having me as their coach. 

Aside from having a coach to guide you through the process, having a friend or family member who knows, understands and supports your goals is SO important for any kind of habit change.  You can’t have someone trying to force you to eat French fries or pressuring you to go out for drinks if you’re trying to lose weight.  What you need is someone who will go for walks with you after work, who will go out to dinner with you and not comment on the fact that you’re eating chicken and veggies again and not drinking alcohol.  You need someone who supports you 100% otherwise the change becomes even harder.

  1. Find a plan and stick to it.

Ah, program jumping.  I was the queen of this back in the day especially when it came to diets. I’d buy all the Weight Watchers products then switch to South Beach Diet then go from there to Special K then circle back to WW only to find myself ordering Dominos eating all the pizza and cinnastix.

I was talking to one of my clients about this very thing a few days ago.  She has been a devoted Weight Watchers follower and has gotten fantastic results but for the past year or so her progress had stalled almost completely.  She told me that she felt like Weight Watchers was a safety net for her and she was having a hard time letting that go. While I understand what she’s saying, I reminded her that what she was doing before wasn’t working anymore.  That’s why she signed up for my program in the first place, so it’s time to try a new way now and if it for some reason it’s just not working (which it is) Weight Watchers is always there for fall back on.

Also think about how much mental energy it takes when you’re program jumping.  You start with one program, begin implementing it, then a couple weeks later you’re doing it all over again but with a different plan.  How long can you go making all those changes before you burn out and wind up lost, confused and frustrated?  When it comes to changing habits, especially nutritional habits, just focus on one thing and stick to it.  You’ll never know what works and what doesn’t if you’re hopping from program to program each week.

Like I said before, weight loss is hard work.  Weight loss is so much more than knowing what to eat and how to exercise.  Mastering the mental aspects of weight loss is probably the biggest component to being successful.  Without understanding your why, having a strong support system and having a solid program that works for you, you’re bound to be running in circles trying program after program and finding yourself unsuccessful. 

So now I want to know…if you have lost weight in the past what worked for you?  Did you use an accountablility partner or follow a program or both?  If you’re on a weight loss journey now, what stragetgies are you using?  What’s been your biggest struggle so far?


If you’re having trouble finding your WHY or need some fat loss questions answered, I can help!  I offer 30-minute coaching calls so just click here, fill out the form and I’ll get back to you so we can set up a time to chat!

Lastly, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter!  On Wednesday of this week I’m sending out an email about what real weight loss looks like compared to what we see on TV. You won’t want to miss it! Click here for exclusive access to my best stuff –> http://bit.ly/1PJnYe4

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