The psychology of weight loss is exceptionally complex – quite simply this is the reason that so many people battle with their weight throughout their lifetime no matter how many programs, pills and diets they try. Unlike scenarios in which a problem presents and there can be a step by step way to deal with it, weight issues are different. As weight gain can be caused directly and indirectly by numerous factors including genetics, hormones, behavioural tendencies, disorders, lifestyle choices and of course an interaction of all of the above, the traditional “calories in vs. calories out” is a tad simplistic.
In saying that, there is one common trait among those who do manage to lose weight and keep it off; they are mentally committed to doing so. They present in a completely different headspace than that of those for who weight loss is likely to be regained at some point whether it is in a few months or over a few years.
The good news is that we can all work towards shifting this weight loss mindset and once we do, you will see that weight control is actually very easy, it is just how you think about it.
1. Accept that weight control is something we will have to work at for the rest of our lives
Sure there are techniques that will help you to drop weight quickly if you need to but ultimately the sooner we accept that eating well and moving our body, is something we are going to need to do on most days for the rest of our lives, the sooner weight control will become easy.
2. Adopt a ‘failure is not an option’ attitude
Individuals who look after their weight will not accept failure when they begin a new program. They may fall off the rails occasionally or get frustrated when they have not lost as much weight as they would have like to, but in general, they decide to lose weight, no matter what they have to do and will pursue any avenue they have to in order to do so. If it means not drinking any alcohol they do it, if it means training at the gym every day without fail, they do so. Ultimately, they expect to lose weight and such a strong mental mindset means that they ultimately do.
3. Focus on self
Every single person has a different genetic code and hence what they may have to do in order to lose weight will be completely different. Some of us are genetically blessed and do not have to do much, but in my experience this is rare. Most people have to work pretty hard to control their weight even if they do not openly admit it. As soon as a client comes and complains that their friend, or husband or sister can eat whatever they like and never gain eight I know I will be fighting an uphill battle. The truth is that we never know what other people do behind closed doors and to be honest, we should not care. Concentrating solely on self and what we need to do to look and be at our best is one of the easiest ways to take control of your body and ultimately your weight.
4. Refuse to be distracted
No matter who you talk to about food and diets, everyone has an opinion – your neighbour lose weight by cutting carbs, your best friend wants you to join Weight Watchers with her and your sister swears that ordering meals online has changed her life. There is always a new fad, a new program and the seasoned weight loss professional has tried them all and is constantly open to new programs, none of which have ever worked long term.
Individuals who are truly ready to commit and lose weight are able to ignore the constant white noise relating to weight loss to concentrate 100% on what they need to do to lose weight and keep it off. They are able to maintain 100% focus no matter what is going on around them and feel no reason to justify their choices or decision to others.
5. Go hard
The script of a new client and their weight loss attempt generally runs like this. Together we develop a food plan that will result in weight loss if it is followed. Clients who follow it to the letter lose at least ½ a kg if not more in the first week that they try to lose weight. They then feel empowered to continue with their weight loss attempts and go on to lose another ½ – 1kg a week until they reach their goal weight. These clients have stayed off the alcohol for the week, eaten plenty of fresh vegetables as suggested and got the results they should have.
Then there are the clients who come in and announce that they “have been bad”. They still went out drinking on Saturday night and still ate 3 chocolate biscuits after dinner each night instead of 1. And naturally, as a result they have not lost weight, if fact many may have even gained as the psychological feelings of restriction they have imposed on self has actually driven them to eat more.
Losing weight does not have to mean that you can never have the foods you enjoy, but it does mean that at some point you are going to have to become a little stricter with self, even if it is just get that intimal drop in weight to keep you motivated and on track. Just a week or two, which is all it will take.
For more advice on finding and keeping your motivation, getting psychologically ready to take control of your weight and learning the art of self control when it comes to eating, try my eBook, ‘Change Your Mindset and Lose Weight Fast’, available now here. To get your own personalised weight loss plan with over 700 recipes and access to me throughout, try my online program, Shape Me, the day plan now.