One of the biggest changes our patients notice during their journey with Sound Medical Weight Loss & Aesthetics is a mindset shift.
Even while patients’ bodies are changing, new habits are forming and old clothes get replaced with new ones, often their biggest change is internal – in patients’ perception of themselves. Today’s blog post talks about this mindset shift and how it helps with losing weight and improving health over the long term -- in the most sustainable, longest-lasting way possible.
Old Mindset: “Good” vs. “Bad”
If you’ve ever tried to lose weight in the past, or accomplish any other big, bold goal, you may have fallen victim to a “good” vs. “bad” mentality during your journey. This is essentially the habit of labeling everything you do in black and white terms according to whether your behaviors get you closer to or further away from your goal(s) – e.g. “I’m going to be good today” or “I was bad yesterday”.
A black and white mindset seems innocuous at first. Goal orientation isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and understanding how your habits help or harm progress toward your goals can arm you with helpful data.
However, there are two big challenges with this mindset:
1. Labeling what we eat and do as “good” or “bad” often translates into labeling ourselves as “good” or “bad” – consciously or unconsciously. This can have rippling negative effects. Reaching difficult, long-term goals requires patience, encouragement, and support. If the voice in your head berates you constantly, it’s unlikely you’ll feel motivated to continue over the long term.
2. When we constantly judge our past actions as “good” or “bad,” we can end up over-focused on the past. That means we’re not present or mindful, which can negatively impact the decisions we make right now. For example, if I felt I was “good” yesterday, I might decide to overindulge today (or vice versa) rather than treating every new day as a fresh start and re-committing to my goals.
Our recommendation: ditch the “good” vs. “bad” mindset – and all associated language – for good!
New Mindset: Self-Care The new mindset you should be aiming for? One that treats your weight loss journey as an act of self-care.
Shifting mindsets is rarely easy, but it is doable. Here are our suggestions.
First, swap any “good vs. bad” language with the phrase “I deserve.” This simple phrase swap moves you away from a mindset of lacking, punishment and judgment and toward a mindset of self-care.
· Instead of “I have to work out,” replace with “I deserve to move my body outside today.”
· Instead of “I ate horribly yesterday,” replace with “I deserve a fresh start today.”
· Instead of “I can’t have any of that,” replace with “I deserve a gorgeous salad while socializing with friends at this party.” Second, practice being in the present moment (aka mindfulness). If your mind keeps wandering to yesterday’s brunch or last week’s weigh-in, for example, keep bringing your attention back to the here and now. This helps you treat every day – and moment – consistently, as a fresh start, rather than allowing your journey to feel like a roller coaster, dictated constantly by how “good” or “bad” you were the day before. Here are some ways to help with this:
· Use a mantra to remind yourself to stay present. I like “look forward, not back,” “every day is a new day” or “be here now.” You can even create your own personal mantra! · Use mindfulness tools, like meditation, breathwork, mindful movement or other modalities, to strengthen your “presence” muscle.
Finally, ensure you’re enjoying the journey, even in little ways. Big goals require big adjustments, so it’s important to find joy in the changes you’re making.
· Find movement types you truly enjoy. For some this is not the simplest task; we recommend trying as many movement types as possible. Also, check out the Joy of Movement for inspiration.
· Find new foods you love. While Phase I and II of our program may have you eating differently than before you started your journey, it’s important to find things you love within your plan. Head to the farmer’s market instead of buying the same tired old bags of pre-packaged salads, for example. Remember -- you deserve it!
· Take time each day or week to reflect on what you’re grateful for. This makes a world of difference in mindset shifting!
What are your thoughts on this mindset shift? Do you have more suggestions? Share with us in comments below!