The battle to lose weight starts in your mind. To have cake, or not to have cake. Is it hunger that you feel, or is it greed? Too often do we take the psychological struggles for granted. Hopefully, this guide will temper your resolve and see you through your weight-loss journey.
1. Visualise your goals
Sometimes when the end-point seems so far away and giving up seems the sane thing to do, it helps to mentally see yourself achieving your goal. Picture what it feels like to be able to finally fit into the pair of jeans you wore as a teenager. When you see it happening in the mind's eye, bringing it into reality suddenly seems much more possible.
2. Ignore the doubts
Similar to how you brush aside comments from your “friends” about how pointless your efforts are, ignore that nagging little voice at the back of your mind that insists that nothing but failure and disappointment is awaiting you. We are our own worst critic. If anything, set out to purposely prove that little voice wrong. It's your life and it's up to you to own it!
3. Pamper yourself
It may seem like torture, but engaging in a healthy fitness regimen is one of the best things you can do for your body. By thinking of it as a form of pampering, the idea of fixing your nutrition and getting more exercise into your daily life will seem a lot less scary.
4. Be thrifty
When it comes to losing weight, consuming more calories than you need is easily the most dangerous saboteur to look out for. If avoiding that extra portion of rice seems like too much work, just think of the extra money you'll save by not having it. When you finally hit your weight goal, you can use the money you saved to buy yourself something new as a hard-earned reward.
5. Master your emotions
Weight-loss can be an emotionally tumultuous journey. However, it doesn't have to be that way. We are biologically programmed to eat to ensure survival, not to be happy little doughnut people bouncing around. By reminding yourself that you're eating to satisfy hunger, you desensitise yourself to compulsive feelings that would otherwise drive you to binge or go off your diet.
6. Use distractions to your advantage
This is a trick addicts use to kick their vice. Whenever you feel the need to eat more than you should, do something that would occupy yourself for a couple of minutes; take a walk, do a jigsaw, catch up on a book, call up a friend for a chat, etc. Using these distractions will allow you keep your appetite in check while doing something fun.
7. Enjoy your meals
Eating is meant for you to relax and refuel, so don't give into the pressure to rush through your food. Take as much time as you want to eat. Take small bites and chew slowly, while being sure to savour the various flavours available. Research has also suggested that taking the time to enjoy your food can lead to higher and longer-lasting feelings of satiety.
8. Think beyond the numbers
Instead of having the number shown on the scale be your end-point, think of what you'll get after achieving your goal. Think of how movement will become much easier for you, how your lifespan will be improved, how much more energy you'll have. By going beyond what you originally envision, your journey becomes more enriching and fruitful.
9. Track your food
Keeping a food journal is one of the best ways to hold yourself accountable for what you eat. Knowing that what you consume will be recorded in a book for posterity will keep you more aware of your food choices and be more responsible for it. Review your entries every week and congratulate yourself on a job well done. If you made mistakes along the way, having a record will make it that much easier to identify them.
10. Don't be a victim
Avoid falling into the trap of victimising yourself for not having minded your nutrition. It's one thing to accept responsibility, but it's another to believe that you deserve it. Everyone has the right to be the best version of themselves. I would even go so far as to say that you owe it to yourself to be that. Convince yourself that your body is capable of doing what needs to be done and don't let anything get in your way.
Although these tips won't magically allow you to lose weight overnight, it will make the journey a lot less arduous. Weight-loss isn't always just about minding your body, but also managing your state of mind.
MacDonald, A. (2010), “Why eating slowly may help you feel full faster”, Harvard Health Publications. Retrieved from: www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-eating-slowly-may-help-you-feel-full-faster-20101019605