All of these things WILL happen as you try to lose weight!
That’s why for weight loss success it’s important to get your mind-set working with you, rather than against you. If you’ve not got your mind on your side, you’re setting yourself up for a rough time! Going into a weight-loss phase with unrealistic expectations or negative emotions will de-rail you when the going isn’t as smooth as you like!
Here’s 3 simple mind-set hacks that’ll change the way you look at weight loss and set you up to lose weight in a healthy, effective way (and keep it off!)
Don’t think “I want to lose 2 stone” think “I want to lose a little bit of weight each week”
Too many people associate weight loss success with a massive change in the scale in weeks or even days. Sorry to burst the bubble, but this isn’t the right way to go about losing weight if you’re doing it to improve your health and keep the weight off.
The problem with this mentality is that it’s very ‘all or nothing’.
What happens if you don’t lose 10ib a week? Answer: you become despondent and give in to the siren call of Benjamin and Gerald.
Even if you are successful in losing a large amount of weight for a few weeks, you quickly stall out and your calories are too low to take any lower to continue the weight loss. You plateau, get stuck. But now your metabolism has adjusted to the low calorie diet and you’re just not burning as many calories any more (this is why a lot of people put weight back on quickly after a crash diet!)
So instead of focussing on the end goal and trying to get there last week, change your mind-set and focus on day-to-day and week-to-week progress.
Set yourself easy to hit, short term goals. Instead of thinking you have stones to lose, think that you want to lose a pound or 2 a week.
(if you’re worried you won’t lose weight this way then consider this- 1lb a week is 52lb a year, or nearly 4 stone. You won’t need to starve yourself to do it, you won’t need to ruin your metabolism. Or you could lose the 4 stone in 2 months but put back on 5 stone by the end of the year because you crash dieted!)
Constantly smashing these shorter-term goals will keep you motivated and you’re far more likely to reach a healthy weight and stay there. Having realistic short term goals will also keep you away from ‘crash’ diets and their inevitable pitfalls!
Be sensible, take it steady, one step at a time!
Don’t think ‘I need to burn this fat off with exercise’ think ‘I need to get fitter and stronger’
Whilst exercise is a big part of losing weight, it’s not going to replace a poor diet. There’s a temptation when you’re trying to lose weight to out-exercise some ‘off-piste’ diet decisions.
(occasionally having a little treat is fine, but we are talking when that treat becomes an entire binge weekend and you’re chained to the treadmill on Monday trying to atone!)
Exercise does burn calories and you can burn a lot of calories by doing a lot of exercise. However, exercise also has a hormonal effect on the body. Because you’re already in a calorie deficit due to diet, your stress hormones are already elevated, compounding this with marathon sessions of jogging and cardio (which further spike your cortisol) can actually lead to your weight loss stalling!
Your body essentially recognises all of the stress you’re putting it through and enters survival mode where it’s concerned only with protecting its resources (i.e fat) to keep you ticking.
You can’t rush the body if you want to lose weight and keep it off.
Don’t take this to mean that you shouldn’t be exercising though! You should be. However, the focus of your workouts should be on improved performance rather than calorie counting.
If you’re focussed on getting stronger whilst also doing some work to improve your cardio-vascular health (some, not loads!) then you’ll be contributing a lot more to your long-term health and weight-loss than being a calorie obsessed treadmill junkie.
Building some muscle will improve your metabolism and aid in long term weight-loss! The more muscle you have, the more you can eat whilst losing or maintaining weight! I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a winner to me!
Focus your workouts around moving well in exercises like squats, hinges, weighted carries and some upper body pushes and pulls. These movements can easily be suited to any fitness or skill level and will train every major muscle group. By building strength and proficiency in these movements you’ll be getting stronger, fitter and be building some muscle to stoke those metabolic fires!
When it comes time to get your cardio in, make it fun!
Set out a circuit of exercises to complete, hit a tyre with a hammer, do rounds on a punching bag, medicine ball slams or dance! Make the exercise fun and get away from worrying about how many calories are being burnt. Instead think of how much stronger your heart and lungs are getting!
You will be burning calories, but you’ll also be enjoying yourself- a huge key to sticking with exercises for the long-run which will help you live a healthier lifestyle for years to come rather than as a three month health kick before returning to your old habits.
Don’t think ‘food will make me fat’ think ‘food is fuel’
If you’re going to have successful and happy weight-loss you need to have a positive relationship with food.
Food isn’t making you fat. Food isn’t inherently evil! What leads to weight gain is eating too much coupled with an unhealthy lifestyle.
It’s too easy to think that food caused you to put the weight on, so the simplest logic is that not eating will make you slim.
But you’d be wrong.
You need food. But you need it in the right amounts.
Think of food as fuel. Your body can’t function without it.
If you cut out food too much you’re going to run into a heap of different issues from headaches, mood swings, metabolic adaption, massive increases in cravings (leading to binge eating) and even into the more insidious and dangerous realm of eating disorders.
It’s not a recipe for weight loss success….
Instead, think of everything you eat fulfilling a purpose for your body.
Those eggs for breakfast? The protein will repair your muscles and make sure they’re recovered for your next workout.
That sweet potato? Not only does it provide your body with glycogen for energy (which your brain needs to function) but it’s packed full of vitamins and minerals to improve everything from gut health to strong eyesight!
What about that butter? Surely that’s not good for fat loss. But it is! You need some fats in your diet for shuttling fat-soluble vitamins around your body (boosting the immune system!) supporting hormone balance, joint health and for the correct functioning of every organ in your body!
When you think of food like this, you appreciate it for what it is- life nourishing fuel!
You need enough of it keep you thriving! Eat as much healthy food as you can whilst still losing a little bit of weight each week. The more you can eat, the better you’ll feel and your metabolism will burn fast and hot (scorching fat!).
Weight loss can be a daunting process, so don’t make it harder for yourself my going into it with a mind-set that will sabotage you!
-Progress, not perfection. Focus on short term goals.
-Don’t use exercise just to burn calories. Aim to get stronger and fitter.
-Use food as fuel. Eat plenty of nutritious food to keep your metabolism stoked and your body healthy!
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Dan Mennell is a Personal Trainer and Strength Coach working in Staffordshire and Shropshire.
He writes regular fitness articles and creates other informative free-content.
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