Wanting to lose weight and finding the motivation to lose weight are two completely separate ideas. Although you may want to achieve a healthier weight, you might find it hard to change your mindset. In order to get yourself moving and start a weight-loss program, you need to find personal motivation and discover why you truly want to slim down.
Weigh yourself first thing in the morning to find out your current weight. Compare this to what a healthy weight for your height should be. You may discover that you are at a healthy weight, overweight or more overweight than you suspected.
List the reasons you want to lose weight. Think about how you feel when you go swimming, being able to be active with your children or feeling more confident about yourself. Dig deep and look for the personal reasons you want to have a healthy weight.
Consider how being overweight can jeopardize your health. People who are overweight are at a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. These are life-threatening diseases that can be prevented with weight loss.
Get support from your family and friends. Share your goals with people you trust to build you up and help you along the way. Ask if anyone wants to join you during workouts for added support.
Develop a plan based on your goals. Write down the time, place, duration and activity you want to perform each day for exercise. Seeing a plan can help you to believe it is achievable and manageable.
Think of ways to reward yourself for losing weight. Make small goals for every 2 to 5 lbs. you lose and one large reward for when you reach the finish line. You could treat yourself to a new article of clothing, a day at the spa or your favorite treat or go to a movie.
Tired of watching your weight go up and down (and up again)? Here's how to ditch diets forever and get happy, healthy, and body confident.
Why Yo-Yo Dieting Is Bad for You
Last spring you reached your goal weight and celebrated by hitting the beach in a bikini. Then your job got stressful, you had trouble finding time to work out, and your cruise vacation had a round-the-clock all-you-can-eat buffet. Now when you step on the scale, you realize there's no way you're going to fit into the dress you bought for your friend's wedding next month unless you start dieting...again.
We're betting that this scenario sounds all too familiar. Yo-yo dieting — or weight cycling, as experts call it — is practically a national pastime. An estimated 54 percent of people in the United States are currently trying to shed pounds, fueling a $59-billion-a-year industry of supplements, books, and packaged foods that promote weight loss, according to Marketdata Enterprises, a marketing research group. But our efforts don't stick. Most of us will regain almost all of what we lost, according to research, which is why the typical dieter tries a new plan four times a year. "We have this mentality that a diet is something to go on and then get off as quickly as possible," says FITNESS advisory board member Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD, founding director of the University of Pittsburgh's Weight Management Center. "But lasting weight loss requires making lifestyle changes that will work long-term."
It's not only your waistline that suffers from yo-yoing. "Repeated crash dieting increases metabolic hormones, such as insulin, and elevates levels of sex hormones, including estrogen," says Andrea Pennington, MD, author of The Pennington Plan for Weight Success. "These changes cause you to start putting on weight around your middle, which research has linked to insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease."
Your confidence also takes a hit. "The more times you go through the gain-lose-gain cycle, the less convinced you become that you can break free from the constant ups and downs," says Keri Gans, RD, a dietitian in private practice in New York City. "No one wants to diet forever; it's hard work."
Which is why we know you're ready to lose the weight and keep it off. Here top experts spill the success secrets that will help you balance the scale for good.
Tips to Stop the Yo-Yo Cycle
Soothe Without Food
You've got a looming deadline at work, your in-laws are coming to town, and the house is a mess. Before you know it, you've demolished an entire bag of chips while freaking out over your to-do list. "Stress eating can quickly turn into a binge: We don't register what we're munching on because the food's going down so fast," says Martin Binks, PhD, assistant consulting professor at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. Make a list of calming strategies that don't involve reaching for the cookie jar, Binks suggests. When you feel overwhelmed, consult your list and pick out something you can do in the next 10 minutes. Go for a quick walk or post a Facebook status update. Either will distract you long enough for your stress levels to come down.
Change Your Goals
There will always be a reunion, wedding, or vacation to slim down for. But once the big event has come and gone, what will keep you from splurging on dessert every night? "With special-occasion weight loss, it's all about dropping pounds quickly," Fernstrom says. Do this too often and you may find that it's even harder to lose than before. "Constant crash dieting causes your body to cling to the calories you do eat because it's not sure when it's going to get more," she explains. Rather than keep the pounds off just long enough to impress strangers on your vacation, think aboutrewarding long-term achievements. Maybe you want to train for your first half-marathon or get in shape to hike the Grand Canyon. Setting a big new goal each time you check one off your list will keep you headed in the right direction.
Yes, the point of dieting is to ditch pounds, but focusing solely on calories in and calories out can make it hard to stick to your plan if you aren't seeing results. "Even if you're doing everything right, your weight can fluctuate based on the time of day or how hydrated you are," says Evelyn Tribole, RD, coauthor of Intuitive Eating. In fact, research shows that women who fixate on counting calories and restricting their food intake report more stress and have higher levels of cortisol, which is linked to overeating. "Instead of obsessing about every morsel, think about how eating right and exercising make you feel," Tribole says. "Do you have more energy? Are you able to keep up with your kids?" If you take the time to notice the positive effects of each healthy behavior — whether it's pushing away from the table before you clean your plate or biking for 30 minutes a day — it's easier to motivate yourself to stay on track.
Studies show that tracking what you eat every day can help you lose up to twice as much weight as people who wing it. But forget the pen and paper. Social-networking Web sites like TweetWhatYouEat.com and FoodFeed.us upgrade old-school food diaries and give you something a journal can't: a virtual support group. "It's much easier to pass up the piece of cake when you know that other people are going to hold you accountable," Fernstrom says. Plus, your online pep squad will provide you with the support you need to stay on track.
Your weight isn't the only thing that can yo-yo; motivation can wax and wane too. Instead of skipping your workout when you're feeling less than inspired, get over the hump by intensifying your efforts. "Pushing yourself a bit harder than usual shows that you can take on and tackle tough challenges, which boosts your confidence," says Christina R. Johnson, PhD, professor of sport and exercise psychology at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. The more pumped you are, the easier it is to bounce back from inevitable setbacks and plateaus. The next time you're dragging, partner with a faster friend for your usual four-mile run or opt for the advanced yoga class rather than the intermediate one.
Know How Low You Should Go
If you find yourself stuck at a certain weight for more than a month, it could be that you're fighting an unnecessary battle. "You may want to be 130 pounds, but if you're doing everything you can — watching portions and exercising — it may not be right for your body," Gans says. To gauge whether you've lost enough weight, take a good look at your body. If you've got a lot of excess around your tummy, you probably should keep trying to lose a few more pounds, Dr. Pennington says, since belly flab is linked to heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and even cancer. But if the fat is in your hips and butt and your body-mass index is within a healthy range (18.5 to 24.9), it may be time to stop dieting and start maintaining.
Find a Success Story
You know that sticking to a diet is easier if you have a friend who is also shedding pounds. But teaming up with someone who has already lost the weight and kept it off can be even more useful, says Judith S. Beck, PhD, author of The Beck Diet Solution. "A mentor can empathize, help you navigate potential pitfalls, and remind you of how good it feels to be in control of your body," Beck says. You can find your own successful loser on our message boards or at group meetings of a program like Weight Watchers.
Make a Clean Sweep
A messy house can interfere with your efforts to make smart choices, says Peter Walsh, an organizational expert and author of It's All Too Much. It's hard to feel inspired to hit the treadmill if it's serving as a clothes hanger or to go for a walk if you can't find your sneakers. Plus, "an overflowing pantry or fridge makes it more likely that at mealtime you'll opt for takeout or packaged food instead of digging around to see if you have healthy ingredients to cook," Walsh explains. A few hours spent cleaning can do wonders for your waistline. Walsh suggests starting with the kitchen: Clear the counters so you have no excuse not to prepare meals. Then clean out and restock your pantry and fridge with good-for-you picks — fruits, vegetables, lean meats, soups, and whole grains. It's simple to whip up a quick, satisfying dinner when you know you've got tasty foods on hand.
If you have gone on vacation lately, you may realize that it isn’t necessarily hard to eat clean. The again, you’re on vacation, so that means your diet and fitness are on vacation also! It becomes very easy to indulge in a “vacation binge fest” where you eat and drink everything that looks appealing.
How long will I need to exercise when I get home to recover?
Well let me say, I just got back from a fantastic (and much needed) vacation with my wife, Paige. We went from Indiana and traveled down to the Miami area and the Keys. It was an awesome vacation for us and best of all the majority of our travel and hotel stays were paid for by my loyalty points! That left us with a lot of money to eat and drink everything we wanted. (Maybe too much…)
While we were on vacation, we went down near the Florida Keys. Now, when you are in the Keys, it is almost criminal to not have some of the delicious Florida Key Lime Pie. Let me emphasize the word DELICIOUS…
Here is a brief list of my binge-fest foods I had:
Key Lime Pie in Ft. Lauderdale at Coconuts and in Key Largo at Mrs. Macs Kitchen
Key Lime Freeze at Mrs. Macs in Key Largo (like a key lime pie was blended and put in some glorious milk shake, slushy thing!)
Mustang Sally Burger at the Burger and Beer Joint in Miami
36oz, $30 (don’t get me started, there was no price on the menu) “Bulldog Margarita” at The Place in South Beach
Room Service Pizza and Fish Tacos at The Hilton Bentley South Beach
Grouper Sandwich at Shooters Cafe on the Intracoastal in Ft. Lauderdale
Lots of Oysters
A cuban platter in Little Havana
Blue Crab at Pinchers in Naples
I’m sure there were more, but I think you get the point… Cheat meal? No, no, no… How about CHEAT WEEK! Let me at least say, I did lift weights a few times at the hotel fitness centers and some were awesome with huge weight rooms which had lots of free weights and quality equipment…
Remember, I am a believer in cheat meals and cheat days. Let me know if you found this helpful? Comment any other tips you've found helpful to drop those vacation kilos.
In this article, we’ll explore the science behind your mindset and underlying philosophy, and show you some proven ways to take action to improve it–so you can finally use your mindset to lose weight, get fit and be healthy.
What Is “Mindset”?
Mindsets are beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities.
Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, who wrote a book called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, says there are two different types of mindsets: fixed and growth-oriented.
People with a fixed mindset think talent alone creates success. When faced with a challenge, they tend to take the easy way out to avoid failure and embarrassment. This is a psychological principle known as self-handicapping.
People with a growth mindset believe they can improve their abilities and create successes by working hard, practicing, and learning. They take on challenges even at the risk of failing. They embrace failure because they know they’ll learn valuable lessons from it.
How Mindset Affects Your Health
Research shows your mindset can profoundly impact your life—especially your health. Here are several studies that prove it.
In a study published in the journal Psychological Science, hotel cleaning crews were told that the work they do (cleaning hotel rooms) is good exercise and satisfies the Surgeon General’s recommendations for an active lifestyle. Subjects in the control group were not given this information. Four weeks later, the first group perceived themselves to be getting significantly more exercise than before. As a result, compared with the control group, they showed a decrease in weight, blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index. Mindset alone caused physiological changes in their body.
In another study published in the journal Health Psychology, participants were divided into two groups. Each group received a 380-calorie milkshake but one group was told they were drinking a 620-calorie “indulgent” shake and the other was told they were drinking a 140-calorie “sensible” shake.
The researchers then measured participants’ levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates your brain to increase appetite.
Those who thought they drank the 620-calorie shake experienced a dramatically steeper decline in ghrelin after consuming the shake. The study authors concluded that “Participants’ satiety was consistent with what they believed they were consuming rather than the actual nutritional value of what they consumed.”
In other words, your mindset about a particular food can affect your hunger and levels of fullness. If your mind tells your body you’re drinking a “skinny” shake, you won’t feel as full. You CAN use your mindset to lose weight, get fit and be healthy.
Finally, in a study published in the journal Clinical Psychology Review that looked at the science of optimism, researchers found that an optimistic mindset can lead to better health outcomes too—optimistic people tend to be healthier on average.
How to Change Your Philosophy and Mindset
So the science clearly tells us that your mindset can have a dramatic impact on your health. The question is, how do you change a mindset that may be holding you back?
This is what Dweck suggests in her book:
Step 1. Recognize fixed mindset thinking.
Even if you have a growth mindset, that pesky little fixed mindset voice will sneak its way in once in a while. You know … the one that produces these types of thoughts:
“I have bad genes, there’s no way I can lose that much weight.”
“What if I fail?”
“I don’t want to embarrass myself.”
“I don’t have the willpower to stick with a healthy diet.”
“I’m just not as smart/lucky/talented.”
When this happens, simply recognize and accept it. Then do this …
Step 2. Reframe negative, fixed mindset thinking with a growth mindset voice.
Once you recognize a fixed mindset thought, you have a choice: believe those negative thoughts … or reframe them. For example:
“No excuses this time … I’m getting started.”
“If I fail, it’s okay. Great accomplishments don’t happen without risk.”
“Forget diets. I’ll take it slow and making eating healthy a lifestyle.”
“If I don’t know how to do something, I’ll learn.”
Step 3. Take action.
Once you reframe a fixed mindset thought, the next step is to take action.
Here are some strategies that will help you:
1. Write it down. One of the most effective ways to improve your philosophy and mindset is to keep a journal or planner. Use it to capture your thoughts, plan your day, and track your goals. For example, here’s what I do:
At the start of every day I write a positive quote at the top of my daily planner (today’s quote is “Life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it”).
Next, I write down everything I plan to do over the course of the day to accomplish my goals (for example, “Write new blog post, network with 3 people, lift weights for 45 minutes, find recipe for healthy dinner”).
Then, I evaluate what I accomplished at the end of each day.
Writing things down feels good, and it’s proven to help you cultivate positive mental and physical changes in your body. In one study, participants wrote for 20 minutes each day for three consecutive days about either a positive life experience or a control topic.
Three months later, the students who wrote about positive experiences had improved physical health and higher levels of focus—just from writing about it. That’s powerful stuff. If you want to change your mindset, write.
2.Embrace learning. We all consume massive amounts of information every day. You have a choice whether that information helps you or holds you back. Checking your Facebook page 10 times a day may be mindless fun, but what if you spent that time reading books that helped you cultivate a growth mindset?
I recommend Mind Is The Master by James Allen, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, and Make Today Count by John Maxwell. Even if you don’t like to read, buy audio books and listen to them while you drive. Imagine the impact those books and others you’re interested in can have on your mindset over time.
3. Take calculated risks. Whether you want to start your own business or get in the best shape of your life, ask yourself this question: will you be better off by never starting or by taking a chance and risking failing?
It’s an easy answer. Embrace failure. Because it will give you the most valuable feedback in the world. The foundation of the growth mindset is the ability to learn from your failures and become a person who continuously improves.
On Carol Dweck’s website, she says, “Although people may differ in every which way—in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments – everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”
In other words, your mindset is like a muscle: the more you use it to both learn and focus on positive thoughts, the stronger it becomes.
Dream big but start small. Focus on your mindset first and you will open doors to anything and everything you want to accomplish in life….perhaps starting with losing weight, getting fit and being healthy.
It's so easy to get stuck thinking about your weight; how to lose it, how to keep it off, and even for some; how to gain it. Whether you're a man, woman or teenager, we've all compared ourselves to billboards and fit-stagrammers. Our image-focused society focuses on appearance so much, it can seem inescapable.
Comparing yourself to others and shaming yourself every time you stray from your diet or workout regime is a bad habit, and leads to overeating, bad self-esteem, binging, trying crazy unrealistic diets and ensures a lifetime of fluctuating weight. But for some reason, we all do it.
Instead of focusing purely on weight loss though, it's been found that focusing on a positive outcome like better health is way more effective for long-term weightloss. Now's the time to stop making yourself feel bad about your weight, and start focusing on the end goal: Living a happier, healthier life.
When you focus too much on any outcome, you get exhausted along the way. If you focus on day-to-day goals though, you'll find you reach the same outcome without all the worry. Let's be honest though, it's easy to say you want to lose weight, but harder to stick to your strategies. So instead of putting excessive pressure on yourself like banning yourself from eating cheese and saying you'll run 15 kms every day, make your day-to-day goals more achievable.
The goals above are weight-loss strategies disguised as wellness strategies! By aiming to enhance your health, you approach weight loss in a positive way rather than from a negative, self-punishing angle.
One of the best things about technology is it's ability to change our behaviour with cool apps and programs and this works for weight loss and wellness too. My favourite for goals setting is WOOP: Where you set a wish, outcome, obstacle and a plan.
Eg. Wish: To be lighter and healthier
Outcome: I'll feel more confident in my own skin & with my partner
The Woop app is an evidence-based way to stick to your goals, and find actionable ways to make them happen. There are plenty of other fitness and goal-setting apps, but I think Woop seems more authentic. It works with you and your mindset rather than using financial motivation, like apps such as Pact. It's amazing how goals pop into your head when you're using the app - things you didn't even know were important to you.
Goal setting doesn't have to be a mission
The term goal setting sounds like boring terminology used in stuffy conference rooms and tedious hour-long meetings; but it doesn't have to be. Change the word 'goal' to 'ways for me to be healthier,' and the focus and accountability comes back to you.
Another important weight loss mindset change: Remember being in a healthy weight range is better for your body, it's not about looking a certain way. Carrying extra weight around your tummy is directly linked to heart problems, while generally carrying extra weight is hard on your joints and can accelerate osteoarthritis and joint degeneration.
What do you think are important aspects of weight loss?