Work on Your Mind BEFORE You Work on Your Body! - Weight Loss Discussion
Weight-loss or is one of those tricky topics that no one really knows how to approach anymore. It has been talked about so many times for so many years, yet no one seems to have found the answers that everyone is looking for! There is a massive negative stigma attached to weight loss discussions, and it can certainly be a sensitive topic for many people. Weight loss advice and information can vary hugely due to differing opinions and tends to be heavily influenced by dishonest marketing strategies and people trying to push a certain agenda. I think the way we view and talk about weight loss and weight management needs to change. Rates of people being overweight or obese are still skyrocketing despite all the hype around dieting and healthy living. Restrictive diet plans and weight loss challenges are more popular than ever. They promise (and sometimes deliver) fast results, through intense and unmaintainable dieting and exercise regimes. However when the challenge ends and the results have been achieved, if you haven’t fixed your mindset or created healthy and sustainable habits, you’re going to go back to your old ways. Losing weight and keeping it off by creating new healthy habits is hard! In a purely physical sense it should be easy, there is generally a pretty basic formula for weight loss. But when our minds get involved too (they always will), the toll it takes on us mentally and emotionally is where most people struggle. People forget that both the mind and the body control your health equally. I think there is way too much focus put on finding the ‘perfect’ execution methods and strategies for losing weight, and not enough focus put on finding the best headspace and ‘reason why’ to actually keep you motivated and on track with your goals! So I’m not here today to give you the perfect formula or diet plan for successful weight loss and management, I just want to discuss the mindset surrounding it. There’s no point starting the physical part of the journey if you aren’t ready mentally.
Before anyone embarks on a weight loss journey I think it is absolutely vital that they take some time to evaluate the true intentions and end goals they are working towards. Having clear intentions and a healthy mentality will allow you to be much more successful in the long run. Weight loss and improving your health is not something that you work on for a few months and then forget about. You need to implement long-term strategies that benefit both your mental and physical health for the rest of your life!
So what is the most common motivator behind the desire to lose weight? Although there can be a thousand different reasons (some of them are not good reasons but that’s a whole other topic), 99% of the time it ultimately comes down to someone wanting to improve either their health or their happiness (or hopefully both at the same time!). Since aiming to improve your health is usually an indirect strategy to ultimately improve your quality and enjoyment of life; we can say that in most cases, people want to lose weight to feel happier and to enjoy life more. Weight loss can help to achieve this through improved body confidence, having more energy and immunity, managing or preventing illnesses, improved mental health etc. So is there anything wrong with having happiness and quality of life as your main motivator? No of course not! Almost everything we do in life is either a direct or indirect attempt to improve our happiness or the happiness of those around us. The problem begins when we forget that this is our ultimate motivator and intention. Just take a moment to think about it. If the ultimate goal or desire is to improve your happiness and enjoyment of life; then making your daily life miserable through punishing diets and workouts you hate is not a sensible method of achieving this! What is the point in losing weight if you just end up suffering daily to achieve or maintain it? Wasn’t the whole point to improve your quality of life, not reduce it even further?!
This is where so many people get stuck. They fall into the trap of believing that sacrificing today’s happiness will bring them more tomorrow. They think that if they suffer now, they will reap the rewards further down the track. Don’t get me wrong, yes of course you will need to work hard and make some sacrifices in order to change your life and achieve your goals, but you shouldn’t have to be constantly miserable throughout the journey. Eating foods you hate and being hungry and tired all the time is never going to lead you to where you want to be. You don’t just suffer and feel like shit for a few months and then magically wake up one day feeling amazing just because you finally lost 5 or 10 or 20kg! The most toxic mentality in modern society is always thinking that true happiness and fulfilment lies just around the next corner and that once we achieve our current goal, we will finally ‘be happy’. There is nothing hidden around that corner that will suddenly make you happy indefinitely. Stop telling yourself that ‘when I do this’ or ‘when I have this I will be happy’. It’s bullshit and you need to be strong enough to call yourself up on it!
It’s great to have goals, weight loss/health related or not. Having a purpose and something to work towards is a great way to keep challenging yourself and growing as a person! But it is equally as important to find a way to just be content with where you are today, right now. So relating this back to losing weight or embarking on a health journey; while it is cool to have specific goals e.g. losing 5kg or eating clean 80% of the time, or being able to squat your body weight etc., it is so important to still be taking care of both your physical AND mental health every single day. Don’t get so caught up on chasing these goals that you neglect the ultimate intention, improving your happiness and quality of life. Check in with yourself as often as possible, not just to make sure you’re on the right track physically, but to make sure your mentality is also progressing towards where you want to be. Are you generally feeling healthier and happier in your day-to-day life? Do you have more energy or are your health conditions improving? Don’t just jump on a scale and use that as your main measure of success and progress. If the ultimate overarching intention is to improve your enjoyment of life, make sure you are measuring that progress just as often.
So basically my thoughts are this; we need to stop just measuring weight loss as the ultimate end goal and start actually measuring our quality of life instead. There is literally no point in losing weight or ‘being healthy’ if you can’t even enjoy your day-to-day life due to the restrictive lifestyle you are living. Weight loss is simply a tool that you are using to improve your quality of life, you aren’t trying to lose weight just for the sake of it right?! You are doing it to make you healthier, more confident, have more energy, more freedom to move and live! Saying, “When I get to (insert weight here) I will be happy” is not a good mentality to have. Hitting your ‘goal weight’ does not equal never-ending happiness, I can promise you that. You need to find a way that allows you to live a healthy and maintainable life without sacrificing your daily enjoyment and happiness! Having abs or fitting into a size smaller than before does not necessarily make you a happier (or healthier) person if you still have the same unhealthy mindset as before! Health and happiness don’t come from constantly following a set of strict rules or restrictions; they come from consistent healthy actions and taking care of your mental and emotional health.
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This post is not talking about any specific strategies to actually help you begin or maintain a health or weight loss journey. I just want to help you to understand and delve a little deeper into your ‘reason why’. I will talk more specifically about healthy ways to approach health/weight loss in further posts to come. Right now I just want you to think about whether or not you have the right mentality when approaching these topics.
Also, although this message is targeted mainly at people who actually want/need to lose weight, these thoughts and discussions can easily be transferred to many other aspects of life. When you set any type of goal, it is important to analyse the true intentions behind it. The main point I want to get across is; don’t get so lost in chasing your goals and results that you neglect your enjoyment of each day as it comes. Don’t fall victim to the mentality of happiness always being just over the next hurdle. Enjoy life right now, while still working hard and achieving your dreams!
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