When it comes to weight loss, the biggest mistake people repeatedly make is falling prey to black-and-white thinking. The whole mentality of being “on a diet” or “off a diet” creates predictable failure. The key to success is wiping out this kind of self-defeating thinking and adopting a more global approach.
Mistakes are a normal part of any process in life, but the key is learning from them instead of repeating them.
Avoid letting them become habits. Everything has the potential to become a habit, including our thoughts. Therefore, we must be vigilant about witnessing our thoughts and our actions and choosing to nurture only those that lead us to the result we want.
Remember, it’s not “good” or “bad,” “right” or “wrong” but rather, what is the outcome your heart’s desires and do your thoughts, words and actions support that. If not—don’t beat yourself up—simply make the required adjustment as you would in all other areas of your life.
When your focus is on the higher quality of life you are creating for yourself, it becomes easier to avoid sneaking or trying to get away with something in those moments when you feel weak and, instead, stay on track with the highest vision for your life.
If you were driving from New York to Los Angeles and found yourself in Michigan, you wouldn’t just keep going to Canada, would you? Of course, not! You would turn around and that’s what’s required of you in the areas of health, weight management and happiness!
Here are some tips to help you do just that:
1. Plan Ahead. Did you ever see a new mom run out of the house with her baby but have no time to bring a stocked diaper bag? It doesn’t happen! You need to give yourself the same love and respect. Plan for the predictable times when you will get hungry during the day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and have your healthy food available at those times, no matter where you are, regardless of what you are doing. Put yourself first!
2. Make protein with vegetables your staples, with much smaller amounts of complex carbs. If you are a carb addict (which is very likely if you struggle with your weight and food) you need to cut back on or even eliminate simple, processed carbs. It’s also probably best if you are mindful of even the healthy starches you eat (such as potatoes, yams and whole grains) and eat them only in combination with protein, healthy fat and lots of water-rich greens.
3. You are not on a diet–ever (dieting causes deprivation, which leads to out-of-control eating). However, it’s necessary to retrain your mind to associate harmful foods that tempt you with the pain they cause, so you aren’t seduced by them.
4. Eat foods you like and make sure that the foods you do eat always taste good to you. This is part of avoiding deprivation. After all, food is one of the pleasures of life. However, you have to retrain your subconscious mind to know that healthy food tastes great, and the less you eat the more you enjoy the delicious taste of the food you are taking into your body.
You can make your healthy, unprocessed foods taste great by adding a small amount of healthy fat such as olive oil, cheese, nuts, nut butters or avocado. Also, add fresh or dried herbs such as cilantro, dill, basil or cumin and natural sea salt to your foods, freely.
5. Remember balance. If you slip up just select more veggies and protein the next time you feel hungry. Remember that fiber is a great filler and a fantastic blood sugar balancer (lots of times we feel hungry just because our blood sugar is fluctuating).
6. Stay away from triggers. Though you are not on a diet, you must identify and avoid trigger foods to be successful. Sure you want to eat whatever you want whenever you want, but you have to change your thinking so you don’t want foods that cause you to lose control.
If you had a person in your life who was causing you perpetual harm, after awhile you would most likely decide to avoid him or her. In some cases, moderation doesn’t work and that is true when it comes to obvious triggers. Mine is sugar and sweeteners. It’s likely that is the case for you, too. The good news is that after awhile you won’t even miss those items anymore. Just like time heals all wounds, staying away from an addictive substance lessens the desire to indulge, so it truly can be effortless to avoid the offending food(s).
7. If a slip up occurs, don’t focus on how good a food tasted but rather on the bad feelings it caused for you later, such as physical discomfort or emotional anguish (i.e., guilt and shame). This will help to prevent further relapse. If you keep remembering the “good” taste—you only create more desire for the same, and the cycle will continue, which is what you want!
8. Remember, nothing tastes as good as healthy feels. That is the truth! Imagine with all of your senses that you are fit, feeling sexy, confident, successful and beautiful at your ideal weight. This achievement is priceless and you must remember that it can be yours!
9. Keep seeing yourself and feeling your body thin and healthy. Focus on how great it feels to be at your ideal weight. Affirm your own success, “I’m absolutely determined to succeed. I am succeeding. Small portions satisfy me.”
10. Eat only when you are physically hungry. Eat only just enough to satisfy your physical hunger and no more. Food is not love, friendship, comfort or happiness. Food is nourishment and sustenance for your physical body and your mental health, and it needs to be selected with these points in mind. Bad eating causes mental and physical problems and, in contrast, good, healthy, moderate eating creates vibrant health and energy. Which do you prefer?!
11. Pray for the strength to do what it takes so that you can be at your healthiest to make your highest contributions in life. Choose mindfulness and awareness regarding your foods, feelings and thoughts.
12. Be patient. It’s not a sprint, but rather a marathon. Take your time. Learn a lot. Be easy and gentle on yourself. Learn to love and accept yourself exactly as you are. Identify and learn from your mistakes—with compassion.
Enjoy the journey. You are worth it!
Rena Greenberg is the author of The Right Weigh: Six Steps to Permanent Weight Loss, which is used by over 100,000 People (Hay House Publishing) and The Craving Cure: Break the Hold Carbs and Sweets Have on Your Life (McGraw-Hill). She conducts weight loss seminars using hypnosis at hospitals throughout the country and has a private hypnosis practice specializing in gastric bypass hypnosis in Sarasota. She can be reached online at www.EasyWillpower.com or at 800-848-2822.