Over the last few weeks we’ve discovered how, when it comes to losing weight, it’s not just about what you eat and how you move.
In the final installment of this three-part series, we’re going to cover a third forgotten element of weight loss. It’s not as science-y or technical as the last two elements, but it’s just as important. Can you guess what it is?
Drum roll please….
How Your Mindset Affects Your Weight Loss Efforts
But what does that even mean? There are so many coaches and practitioners out there talking about mindset. “You need to have a daily mindset practice.” “Did you work on your mindset today?!” Does this stuff really matter, and more importantly, does it really work?
Psychological research says yes!
Your mindset is the way in which you view yourself and the world around you. In really simple terms, you can have either a positive mindset or a negative mindset. But in reality, your mindset can change under certain circumstances. Maybe you hate your job, everyone you work with, and your commute. Your mindset around that area of your life would be quite negative.
But if you love your body, feel proud of what it’s capable of, and enjoy treating it well, you would have a positive mindset around that area of your life!
You can tell yourself how much you hate exercise, how disgusting healthy food is, and how much this new “lifestyle” is going to suck.
Or you can acknowledge that implementing new habits might be challenging, but that you’re open to the possibilities and to trying something new.
Which scenario seems more conducive to long-term success? 😉
But beyond the positive vs negative mindset, there’s another school of thought that explains why some people are more successful in reaching their goals, weight-related or not, than others.
Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset
The concept of a growth mindset vs a fixed mindset is nothing new. Carol Dweck, a leading psychologist in the field of motivation, discovered over her years of research that some individuals were more open to opportunities for growth, whereas others seemed to stay stuck because of their beliefs or circumstances.
Somebody with a growth mindset sees an obstacle as an opportunity to learn something new. They see mistakes as missteps and a chance to try a new tactic. They accept criticism, are inspired by others’ successes, and understand that effort is required to make meaningful change.
Somebody with a fixed mindset, on the other hand, sees things a little differently. Challenges are a sign to give up. Perfection is the goal and mistakes are failures. They aren’t open to criticism, are threatened by others’ successes, and they adopt a “why bother?” mentality.
So how does a growth mindset and a fixed mindset apply to your weight loss efforts?
It’s the difference between seeing a missed workout as a reason to give up and start again next Monday, or a chance to take a non-judgmental look at what happened and what you can do differently next time.
It’s telling yourself it’s going to be hard so there’s no point in putting in effort versus reminding yourself that you’ll never know what you’re capable of unless you try.
I could go on and on here, but I think you get where I’m going 😉
How to Change Your Mindset
If, after reading through the above scenarios, you’ve identified that you have a pretty negative fixed mindset, fear not my friend! It’ll take some effort, but there are ways to shift your thinking to a more positive state of mind.
A few simple things you can do to shift from a negative mindset to a positive one:
- Keep a “Success List”. At the end of each day, write down 3 things you did really well that brought you closer to your goals. They don’t have to be big things, so if you can’t find anything…keep looking! When you actively start looking for and acknowledging your successes, your brain becomes wired to do so automatically.
- Begin journaling. Journaling gives you the opportunity to express your feelings and get them out of your head. When you go back and review what you wrote, you’re more likely to look at things from an objective point of view. It can help you solve problems, and it can help you reflect on what’s working and what’s not working.
- Meditate. Countless studies have shown how powerful meditation can be when it comes to re-wiring your brain. If you’re of the anxious variety that’s always looking for the negative in every situation, meditation can help to quiet your mind. It allows you to become less reactive, and if you listen closely, it can even help you become proactive.
- Talk to someone. A friend. A loved one. A therapist. A coach. Anybody you trust. Begin expressing how you really feel about yourself or a particular situation, and be open to listening to what they have to say. I think you’ll be pleased to find out that you’re actually pretty freakin’ awesome 💛
Beyond the above strategies, there are lots of different things you can do like EFT Tapping, visualization practices, mirror talk, energy work, and more. Those are all different topics for different days, but know that there are dozens of options out there for helping you improve your mindset!
All of these things will contribute to greater success in your weight loss efforts, your personal goals, and your overall quality of life. Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?
Have you ever harnessed the power of your mindset when working towards a new goal? How do you stay positive in the face of adversity?