So many people say that they are unhappy with their body and want to look slimmer, but that they lack the motivation to lose weight. How we view ourselves informs everything that we do, so it’s time to learn how to love and respect your body and unblock the psychological barriers to lasting weight loss.
Studies show that up to 90% of women disapprove of their body and depending on which study you read, between 20-80% of women are on a diet or think they should be.
This represents chronic dissatisfaction. Yet so many people struggle to take action and maintain the motivation to lose weight. In today’s post I am going to help you to develop the leverage you need to feel motivated to lose weight, so that you stop putting off until tomorrow what you know you should do today: To take consistent positive action to achieve your goal.
The key to feeling good in your body and feeling freedom around food is really quite simple: It’s all about confidence! Confidence in the power of your own mind. Confidence in the power of your own thoughts. Whatever you think determines to a great extent whether you can or cannot lose weight.
Feeling confident will help you to:
• Give yourself credit when you do well, instead of criticising or punishing yourself when you have a slip up or a bad day.
• Better recognise and deal with your feelings so you can eliminate emotional eating.
• Give yourself the time and space you need to create a plan that works for you.
• Allow yourself to plan what to eat and when to eat in advance so you can avoid common mistakes.
• Acknowledge that we all need support from others and to feel comfortable asking for help when you feel you need it or are in danger of slipping up.
Below are two simple yet effective Cognitive Behavioral Therapy exercises designed to get you thinking in a different way about weight loss. I encourage you to take the time, grab a pen and paper and answer these questions thoughtfully.
Questioning your thoughts and beliefs around food is extremely effective if you are looking to find the motivation to lose weight. By actively assessing the thoughts behind your actions, you will begin to discover better ways to view over-eating when it happens (and it does happen to most people) not as a disaster, but as a temporary problem that you can solve.
So take the time to do the two exercises below, the purpose here is to begin to address the cause of your unhelpful relationship with food, as opposed to focusing on the symptom- what you eat, calorie counting, focusing on your dissatisfaction with your size.
The questions, and more importantly your answers, will help you change your relationship with food and your body. Really this is the part that is missing from almost every major diet system, which tends to focus specifically on what you eat.
It’s not just the food you eat. It’s the way you think (cognitive) and they way you act (behavioural) around food that also needs to change.
Exercise #1: Prioritising my motivations to lose weight:
Here are some of the common reasons people want to lose weight. Check off each one according to how important it is to you. Give it 10 if it is really important to you, and 1 if its really not important at all.
1- Not really that important 10- Very Important to me.
- I will look better
- I will feel more healthy
- I will be more attractive to others
- I will be able to wear more stylish clothes
- I will be happier when I look in the mirror
- I won’t feel so self conscious
- I will be able to exercise without feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable
- I will live longer
- I will have more physical energy
- I will be more physically fit
- I will enjoy sexual intimacy more
- I will like myself more
- I will feel more in control of my life
- I will feel I have accomplished something important
- I will have more confidence
- I won’t be so hard on myself and so critical of myself
- I will be more outgoing
- I will do more things
- I won’t have anyone bugging me about my weight
- I will be able to wear smaller size clothes
- I won’t have people commenting on what I eat
- I will feel more comfortable eating in front of others
- I won’t be thinking about food all the time
- I won’t crave problem foods so much
- I won’t struggle with what I should eat all the time
- I won’t feel guilty if I eat something I shouldn’t.
Any other reasons you can think of? Please take the time to write them down in detail.
Reflect on this list, what do you notice? How does it make you feel? Write down your answers.
Exercise #2 Finding my ‘WHY’. What is my real motivation to lose weight?
Next, lets get a bit more personal, I would like you to actively assess your motivation and desire to lose weight by answering these three very simple, yet very powerful questions below:
- Why do you want to do this? What is your motivation to lose weight? (Write down every single benefit you can think of, even the smallest and silliest of reasons).
- Do you eat for some other emotional reasons? (If you find that this is a specifically challenging issue for you then check out my free lesson on how to overcome emotional eating by clicking here)
- What in your opinion has stopped you from losing weight and keeping it off in the past?
Reflect on what you write down, take the time to really contemplate your answers.
What you are doing by engaging in these two exercises, is building up ‘leverage’. We typically put off until tomorrow that which there isn’t enough urgency to do today. By engaging in these two simple exercises you are building up leverage (motivations and specific reasons) which will help you to feel motivated to take action and change your relationship to food and your body NOW.
Most people don’t know how to lose weight and maintain their goal. They don’t know how to:
• Avoid cheating
• Resist tempting food
• Deal with hunger
• Deal with cravings
• Deal with stress and emotional issues
• Build motivation to exercise
It doesn’t really matter if you are thin or fat. Unless you know how to tackle these common challenges that every single person has to deal with, chances are you will never really feel happy or relaxed around food. Now I would like you to imagine how good it would feel to never have to obsess over food and focus on ‘controlling’ your eating behaviours. Food for thought, right? Now that you feel motivated to take action, there are lots of helpful posts in this blog which will teach you how to shift from being a controlled eater to an intuitive eater and overcome the issues on the list above, so do check them out!
To learn more about Artful Eating: the psychology of lasting weight loss, an approach where I will share with you the skills and tools to lose weight, enjoy food and achieve your dream body without the pain and restriction of dieting, check out my free training Artful Eating: Reprogram your mind to transform your body.