♥ The foundation to a balanced life is what we put in our bodies. ♥
Trying to shed some pounds, like most of us?
Then you’ve probably tried Atkins, Whole30, Paleo, a juice cleanse, or maybe you’ve gotten really wild and tried the master cleanse. You’ve probably joined a gym, a Pilates studio or enlisted the expertise of a personal trainer. These diets and workout regiments more than likely got you the results you wanted….for the short term. But, then the holidays came or a European vacay and it was a carb overload and vino fest. And those skinny jeans were a lot tougher to button.
We all know it’s actually pretty simplistic to lose weight-burn more calories than your body consumes. So, why is it so damn hard, sometimes???
The internet is saturated with weight loss tips and strategies, but there is a MAJOR problem. We’ve been missing a very crucial piece to the weight loss puzzle–the messages we’re telling ourselves about food and working out. They’re powerful and can be the deciding factor if we are successful in our weight loss goals. I’d put all my money on black and say that you’ve had these thoughts before…
∇ It’s ok to eat this because it’s a holiday/the weekend/a celebration.
∇ Since I cheated, today is screwed and I might as well eat whatever I want for the rest of the day.
∇ My friend/coworker/family will think I’m rude if I don’t eat the meal/dessert she made.
∇ It won’t matter if I eat this.
∇ I’m really stressed out, I need to treat myself.
If you checked the box off on all of these (I did), it’s okay! Now, you’re aware of these weight loss traps that are sabotaging your goals. So, how did I get so smart? 😉 I discovered a book called the Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person by Judith S. Beck, Ph.D. She is a cognitive behavior therapist who has spent over 20+ years working with clients on changing their thoughts about weight loss. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is a fancy term for the way our thoughts impact our emotions, which in turn impact our behaviors. Here is an example–
Thought: I can’t stand being hungry. I have no time to make something healthy to eat before this meeting.
Emotion: Anxiety, Worry, Frustration
Action: Grab a bagel and cream cheese and iced coffee from drive through
You then end up feeling bad after you eat it, thinking you’re never gonna be able to stick to a healthy diet. We’ve all been there. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle takes time, effort, and planning–real work. In these next series of posts, I’ll be sharing the useful tools and tips that I learn from Dr Beck’s books, as well as lessons from my own experience as a counselor. More importantly, I’ve been an avid dieter who wants to make the change to stop dieting and instead follow a healthy lifestyle. I truly believe that what we put in our bodies is the foundation to good health, as it impacts our energy level, mood and well being. So, let’s get started.
How to Think Like a Thin Person
Dr Beck says that people with weight loss struggles often tend to fall into these categories. Is this you?
- You confuse hunger with the desire to eat.
- You have a low tolerance for hunger and cravings.
- You like the feeling of being full.
- You fool yourself about how much you eat.
- You comfort yourself with food.
- You feel hopeless and helpless when you gain weight.
- You focus on issues of unfairness.
- You stop dieting once you lose weight.
To start thinking like a thin person, you have to change these bad habits cause that’s all they are-habits.
Tip #1: Create your lists of reasons why you want to lose weight.
I’ll have more energy.
I’ll feel better in a bathing suit.
My blood pressure will go down and cholesterol reduced.
I’ll be less self critical.
I’ll feel more in control.
I’ll enjoy trying on clothes.
I’ll have more confidence.
I’ll feel as if I have accomplished something important.
Post this list somewhere you will see it daily–on your phone, on your fridge, in your planner or make it a screen saver. Read your list 2x a day to keep these reasons fresh in your mind.
You might be having a sabotaging thought right now, but Dr Beck’s plan is all about changing your perspective to change your actions.
Sabotaging Thought: Duh, I know why I’m dieting. I don’t need to waste my time and remind myself daily.
Tell yourself instead: I know the reasons-now. But what about the times I’ve strayed from a diet in the past. I sure wasn’t thinking about all the advantages to sticking to healthy eating then!
Tip #2: Be mindful when you’re eating
Do you tend to stand while you eat or snack while watching TV? These behaviors need to stop stat because they don’t allow you to be aware of just how much you’re consuming. While you eat, you want to pay attention to your portion size and truly enjoy the taste and textures of your food. This will help alleviate mindless eating, which leads to overeating and not feeling fully satisfied. Who hasn’t gone through a bag of chips while indulging on the Real Housewives? No, no, no. Take a seat, slow down and savor your meal. Don’t forget-it takes 20 min for your body to feel full.
To practice mindful eating, I would suggest starting a daily meditation practice. This will help you learn how to quiet the mind and focus on body awareness.
Tip #3: Give yourself credit
We are all going to have slip ups, cravings and mistakes, that’ okay! Don’t beat yourself up or think you can’t do this. Instead, realize that there will be ups and downs. Rather than getting down on yourself, think “This is hard, but I’ll get better. Next time, I will…” And most importantly, take notice of what you’re doing right and give yourself credit! Reflect on your behaviors after each meal and write down your credit worthy behaviors in a notebook or type them in a note on your phone.
Tip #4: Find a diet coach
Anything is always easier when you have support, especially weight loss. Your diet coach can help keep you motivated on those rough days when you want to give up and eat the entire box of cookies. A coach can help you problem solve, build your confidence and most important-keep you accountable. You can enlist the help of a friend, family member or a professional.