Losing weight is 100 times easier if you start with the right mindset.
That statement may sound basic, but in my experience, most people who set out to lose weight quit because of psychological reasons. They never quit because they feel hungry or have difficulty with their diet plans.
They either become bored or dissatisfied with their slow rate of weight loss or lose focus and become overwhelmed to continue.
To explain their failure, they blame their diet plan, their current situation or their genes for their lack of progress.
This process can often repeat itself over and over. As a result, some dieters can spend years trying to shed weight without ever realizing the real cause of their difficulty.
Below are three common mindset problems you might encounter when trying to reduce weight, along with some tips on how to overcome them.
Problem 1. Not Knowing How Weight Loss Will Benefit You
Whether you want to lose 10 or 50 kilos, you need to change your eating habits and several other lifestyle habits. Making these changes may not be difficult on day one or week one because your initial enthusiasm usually gives you enough motivation.
But within the second to the third week, your “new” eating pattern can start to interfere with your lifestyle. At this point, things might go out of hand if you are not careful and have not planned on how to respond to it. Unless you are well-prepared for this, your desire to continue dieting and to stay active will start to fade.
Instead of seeing our diet as a ticket to a better weight and shape, we must see it as an obstacle and a burden. It becomes something we are doing because we “must” rather than because we “want to”. Usually, this is the first big emotional problem we encounter when dieting.
What is the Solution?
To overcome this problem, you need to know why you are trying to lose weight. Have a clear idea of how it will benefit you. When you have a clear benefit to look forward to, you will be able to resist the temptation to slide back into bad old habits.
Simple benefits such as having a leaner, lighter shape aren’t powerful enough. Have a selfish and specific why that commands your attention and that you can visualize.
It could be a beach holiday or your dream outfit to wear for a specific occasion, or you want to show off the new you at an important family gathering. Whatever your choice, it must be crystal clear in your head!
Remember, the moment you start to feel that you “have to” do something, it becomes the enemy and, your motivation flies out the window. To achieve lasting weight loss, you must “want it”.
Problem 2. Trying To Be Perfect
In my years as a fitness coach, I’ve met hundreds of dieters and talked to thousands over the Internet. But so far, I haven’t met one single successful dieter who was perfect.
Instead, most of my successful clients made tons of mistakes. They had bad days, bad weeks, even whole months, during which they went completely off the rails. But none of this stopped them from succeeding in the end.
And here is the reason.
Because they learned from their mistakes. As you very well know, the best life lessons come from the mistakes we make and not our successes.
Unfortunately, many dieters insist on trying to be perfect. As a result, when they fall off the wagon (as they always do), they find it impossible to tolerate their “failure”. They become overwhelmed by guilt and lose their focus.
So even though their lapse might have been trivial, say a weekend binge, they break to pieces and are unable to rise again. It’s usually the guilt that does the real damage and not the bingeing.
The big lesson here is never to waste time trying to be perfect. Perfection only leads to increased guilt and failure. Instead, accept that you will make mistakes, and don’t let them distract you when they do happen. See them as learning experiences and move on.
For example, if you drink too much alcohol and overeat, don’t wake up the next morning in a fit of depression.
Instead, ponder on your experience and see if you can learn something from it. Appreciate that you have made an important discovery; that too much alcohol makes weight loss more difficult.
By responding like this, you will avoid guilt and find it much easier to return to your diet.
Problem 3. Treating Your Diet As Race
Another common problem is the speed of weight reduction. Many dieters expect to lose weight very fast and have no idea what to do when that doesn’t happen.
If a week goes by without any weight loss, they become demoralized and lose interest. Unfortunately, like it or not, the human body only cares about survival, not looks”.
So, your body has no interest in shedding body fat. It sees fat as a vital energy store in case of future famine. As a result, we can only lose between half a kilo to one kilo per week.
Anything more is likely to be a combination of water and muscle weight.
Have a Long-Term Focus
To overcome your impatience and maintain steady weight loss, stop thinking of your diet as a race. Instead, see it as a journey. This way, you will reduce your anxiety and have enough time to settle into your new eating habits.
At the same time, avoid jumping on the scale several times a day. Check your weight once a week to get a picture of what is going on with your body. Obsessing over your weight only encourages you to have a short-term view of things which is not helpful.
I know ‘steady’ weight loss may not be attractive to most people, but what I’ve found is that the slower the weight loss, the longer it stays off.
Furthermore, as stated above, if you lose more than 2 kilos a week, it will not be fat but either muscle or water. And while losing water is temporary and pointless, losing muscle mass is not good. It will slow your metabolism down and increase the risk of future weight gain.
So when you start your next diet journey, remember not to rush the process. Set a realistic weight loss goal, focus on the process and let nature take its course.
For example, if you weigh 100 kilos and you want to get to 80, give yourself at least six months to achieve that. And if it takes a little longer, it doesn’t matter. I mean, what do you lose?
These three psychological problems constitute a huge chunk of all diet failures. Mastering them will enhance your chances of losing weight and keeping it off for good.
So before you start another new diet to lose weight fast, take time to think through these three points to set your mind right. If your mindset is right, failure is impossible because that’s where everything begins. The fat will, without doubt, melt away.