BY NADIA POPOVA
Most of us have good intentions when it comes to the sting right and exercising more often. And most of us know the basics of what to eat and what to avoid. But even with the best of intentions, we often end up derailing our progress when we feel tired, or stressed, or bored, or frustrated. And let’s face it…these emotions pop up often.
We are all creatures of habit. We find comfort in routine. So, if your routine includes food and activity patterns that have led to an unhealthy weight, it is normal that you seek out those comfortable habits when times get tough. These habits relieve discomfort—at least in the short term.
What’s worse, is that you likely have strong rationalization skills to support the continuation of unhealthy habits. After all, why would you discontinue a practice that provides relief and comfort?
But all is not lost if you want to change your habits for weight loss. The psychology of weight loss works against you in some ways, but it can work for you in others. In order to get past your roadblock, you’ll first need to figure out specifically, what that roadblock is.
Common Psychological Blocks
These are the most common emotional issues that come into play when people struggle to slim down. Scan the list to see if any of them look familiar.
If you find yourself walking a thin line between sticking to your food plan perfectly or completely falling off the wagon, you may be experiencing a cognitive distortion called all-or-nothing thinking. Psychologists use the term “cognitive distortion” to refer to persistent exaggerated thoughts that are not in line with what is actually going on in the real world.
If you practice all-or-nothing thinking, you probably struggle to return to a healthy eating pattern after enjoying a small indulgence. Instead, you are likely to throw in the towel and overeat based on the assumption that your diet is a complete failure.
There is a good reason that comfort food got its name. For most people, eating feels good. And in times of stress, some people use food as the best way to calm their emotions. While this occasional strategy is not uncommon in people of all body shapes and sizes, it can create problems if you are trying to lose weight or if eating is your only way to cope with stress.
And it’s not just overeating that can be problematic. Your food choices are likely to change when you feel more anxious. A study published in Physiology and Behavior determined that not only do we eat more when stressed, but the foods consumed are foods that are normally avoided for weight-loss or health reasons (foods that are typically higher in calories and added sugar.
Make Small Changes
If all-or-nothing thinking is preventing you from sticking to your food plan, consider taking small steps and setting short-term goals. First, identify one specific healthy change that is reasonable and attainable.
Perhaps you can choose to walk for 15 minutes after dinner each day. Set a goal to focus on that target for a week. If you keep a journal, jot down notes each day about different ways that you have been successful in keeping that goal front-of-mind. And give yourself credit. Remember that taking a small step is better than taking no steps at all.
Taking single small steps can also help you to avoid making too many changes at once. It can be easy to get overwhelmed if we do too much at once and then we lose motivation. On the other hand, if you are able to make a small change with success, you will feel a sense of accomplishment which then provides motivation to keep going.
Listen to Self-Talk
Do you pay attention to the messages you send to yourself throughout the day? These pervasive thoughts may be building a roadblock to weight loss success.
Those who are prone to a negative body image may find themselves repeating negative messages about their body throughout the day. Phrases like “I’m so fat” or “I’m so out of shape” said out loud or in your head can undermine your ability to take a healthy step when the opportunity presents itself.
Self-talk is another way that all-or-nothing thinking can come into play. For instance, you might find that you beat yourself up for reaching unreasonably high standards or goals that you set for yourself.
A Word From Coach Nadia.
If you are struggling unsuccessfully to lose weight, any one of these mental barriers to weight loss may be to blame. It is also possible that your body is already at a healthy weight and weightn loss is unnecessary. So you may want to evaluate why you feel weight loss is necessary.
If you feel that weight loss is warranted, use the psychology of weight loss for you, rather than against you. I can help you to understand and deal with those mental blocks. I have been coaching men & women on their journey to be better version on their selves for some time and I can help you too. Please visit our website: www.nadiapopova.com
Make the Call now at 760-880-9904 to speak with a trainer.