Hey there! Are you on a weight loss journey and feel like you've tried everything but the weight just won't come off? Well, I have some good news for you – the missing ingredient might be in your mindset.
I once had a client (we’ll call her Sally) who came to me with the goal of losing weight for her upcoming wedding. She was determined and motivated, and had already started a new workout routine and had cut out all of her favorite "unhealthy" foods. She was determined to stick to her strict regimen and was convinced that this was the only way to lose weight.
However, as time went on, I noticed that her weight loss had plateaued and she was struggling to stay motivated. Despite her best efforts, she was unable to sustain her weight loss for the long term. It turned out that her rigid mindset and extreme restrictions around food were causing her more harm than good.
She had completely cut out all of her favorite comfort foods and was not allowing herself any indulgences. She was also under a lot of stress from work and wedding planning, and was using food as a way to cope with her emotions. This led to occasional binge-eating episodes, which made her feel guilty and caused her to spiral into a cycle of restrictive eating followed by binge-eating.
After we talked through her struggles, we came up with a more balanced approach to weight loss. Instead of completely eliminating her favorite foods, we incorporated them into her diet in moderation. We also worked on finding other ways for her to cope with her stress, such as meditation and journaling.
Over time, she learned to listen to her body's cues and to give herself permission to enjoy soul foods without feeling guilty. This shift in mindset allowed her to sustain her weight loss and to develop a healthier relationship with food.
As someone who has worked with clients - like Sally - for years, I've come to realize that when it comes to losing weight, mindset is everything. So, let's talk about 5 small shifts in mindset that could make all the difference in your quest for successful and sustainable weight loss.
Tip #1 - Weight loss is NOT linear
First of all, it's important to remember that weight loss is not a straight line. Fluctuations in weight are normal and can be caused by things like hormonal changes, hydration status, fluid retention, digestion, and bowel movements. So, don't get discouraged if you don't see immediate results. Stay the course and make small, sustainable changes to your diet and workout routine. Be patient! It took a long time for the weight to build on your body, it will take a long time for it to come off!
Tip #2 - There are no good or bad foods
Next up, stop calling food (and yourself) 'bad'. An overly rigid mindset can backfire and lead to overeating and yo-yo dieting. Instead of completely eliminating certain foods or food groups, try building up small, sustainable habits. For example, add more vegetables or quinoa to your plate instead of completely eliminating a food. And if you're eating dessert every night, try saving it for 2 or 3 nights per week. Incorporate more fruits to satisfy that sweet tooth between dessert days.
"Don't let the fear of gaining weight stop you from feeding your soul. Life's too short to miss out on its simple pleasures!" – Coach Cassandra
Tip #3 - Pay attention
Mindful eating is also a great way to get insight into your eating patterns. Pay attention to how the food tastes and feels, eat slowly, and try to identify the difference between feeling satisfied or feeling stuffed. Unplug and make sure you aren't eating while watching TV. Up the flavor without the calories with seasoning, hot sauce, or citrus. If you have a habit of eating too fast, try eating with the left hand. It's a fun challenge!
Tip #4 - Emotions are everything
Emotional eating can also sabotage your weight loss efforts. Using food as a coping mechanism for stress, anxiety, boredom, or sadness can lead to overeating and a negative relationship with food. Try finding other ways to de-stress, like meditation or exercise, and seek help from a mental health professional if necessary.
Tip #5 - Log it
Finally, keeping a food journal can be a helpful tool in determining why you are, or aren't, losing weight. It can also help you spot habits or areas where you're struggling. You might be surprised at what habits you've developed. Batch cooking meals for the week ahead can also ensure that you have healthy options ready to go when you're feeling tired, hungry, or short on time to cook a meal.
Don't be afraid to ask for help
Remember, an all-or-nothing mindset, extreme restrictions around food, and emotional eating can be associated with more serious health concerns. So, if you're struggling, don't hesitate to seek help from a professional. I did and it was an absolute game changer.
I hope these tips help you shift your mindset and achieve your weight loss goals in a healthy and sustainable way. Good luck!