How to Lose Weight and Get Fit. And Make it Last a Lifetime. (Part III/III)
So we are inching closer and closer to the New Year. And what better time to talk about making real change than in the New Year!
This week we’ve been talking about goals and resolutions. Hopefully yesterday’s post made sense to you, and you might find yourself connecting the dots in seeing why certain life changes have been hard to make. You might even be thinking more about your thinking. (so meta, right?)
Well today we get to dive into the most common New Year’s Resolution:
Health and Fitness Goals!
And this is where I get really excited. Because one of the greatest changes in my own life occurred when I finally made the connection between my own mindset and how it affected my relationship with diet, exercise and my body image. After struggling with these things for half of my life, one simple (though significant!) change in my approach brought me freedom, and led me naturally to my ideal weight.
And fourteen years later I’m still there, and now it is my greatest joy to encourage others in this area!
Before I dive in though, I will be the first to say that this is heavy stuff (scuze the pun.) You might remember that I originally wrote The Secret of Your Naturally Skinny Friends as an ebook simply because it was TOO MUCH to put into a blog post. Now it’s a really short book..but it would have been a really really long blog post.
And it’s still too much to cover in one post.
So today, I will just scratch the surface. I will share a few concepts from my book, and just a few of the keys to successfully achieving health and fitness goals. If you want to read all of the practical applications, and a whole slew of examples, tips and tricks, you’ll have to get your hands on my book.
So let’s scratch the surface now, shall we?
Many people tell me they want to lose weight. Or get into shape. (Usually both.)
The average person will get set up with a diet plan and exercise routine as they set out in the New Year to accomplish their goals.
Their plan, they tell me, is to become thin, healthy, and then to stay that way for a lifetime.
But even as they begin their diet, their mind is on food all of the time. They study their diet plan, and map out their meals…They shop for just the right ingredients, and usually talk (a lot) about what they can or cannot eat, either making it sound like a big party, or (more honestly) how much they hate it.
Their mind is on food all of the danged time. And that’s problem number one.
Problem number two is that even while they are on a mission to lose weight and get fit, they have not dealt with a big underlying issue: They think of themselves as fat. Maybe they were overweight as kids, or maybe someone called them a cruel name in Jr. High. Maybe they gained a lot of weight during a pregnancy and never quite got their body back…but somewhere along the way they began to identify themselves as “fat.” (or “chubby,” “heavy,” “out of shape,” or any number of things.)
So they begin the dieting and exercising, but their mindset has not changed one bit.
In fact, if they’re honest, they simply think of themselves as a fat person on a diet.
Now sometimes this person has great will power and is initially successful in their diet and exercise program. They drop some weight, and they are excited.
But the two problems still remain: They are still completely obsessed with food, and deep down their identity is still that of a fat person. The numbers on the scale do not change their identity. In fact, now they add to their problem a sense of anxiety…now they have a fear of gaining weight again. In fact, it is more of a premonition, because they think, of course they will gain the weight back, it’s just a matter of when. This comes from that nasty voice in their head that tells them that they will always be fat. Or at least it will always be an area of struggle for them.
Even if they shed some pounds, they feel phony. This explains why often when someone on a diet overeats a little bit, they go all out and binge, planning to “get back on their diet” the next day or week. Their identity has not been changed one bit.
Sure, these people will hold on to hope that they might get lucky and the weight will stay off…that this time it might magically last, but if they are honest they will tell you that they are likely just only one holiday, or a few slip-ups away from being back on the fast-train to fat.
And sadly, statistics tell us that over time these people will almost always gain their weight back. They end up as heavy or heavier than they started.
And I propose that is because they relied on external behaviors alone to make changes. They never changed their identity…Their perception of themselves. …Their constitution.
And that is such a bummer. I am passionate about this because I see how many people are missing out on a free and healthy life because of their mindset.
On the other hand…To have real and lasting success in achieving weight loss and fitness goals, this is what needs to happen:
A person must change from the inside out. They must make intentional choices to establish a new identity. They must believe that they CAN BECOME a thin person. They must learn to think like a thin person, and speak like a thin person, and behave like a thin person. They must be willing to do this day in and day out for the long haul (the rest of their life) which means the change may come more slowly, but it will be real and lasting.
As they begin this process, most people have some serious work to do on their old thought patterns. It is essential to learn how to reject old beliefs and thoughts patterns and replace them with new ones which are consistent with the person they are becoming. (plenty to help with this in the book!) They also will learn to get their mind off of food, and their bodies. Learning to recognize how many food and self-centered thoughts come in and replacing those with other things will open up an abundance of time to focus on other things and people.
Along with that, they must set their sights on person they are becoming. They ought to imagine themselves as they hope to be in six months. In a year. They should visualize what it looks like to be eating and living and thriving in future scenarios. There is an exciting new freedom that comes from this entire process, and it doesn’t take people long to begin to get excited and embrace this new way to think and live.
In addition to revamping their thought-life, this person will be practicing new habits and behaviors. They will eat and exercise like the person they want to become. I don’t recommend diets because they are not realistic for a lifetime, but we won’t go into that here. (sorry just not enough space!) The important thing is, the new behaviors that are practiced ought to be realistic to practice for a lifetime. This comes as a relief to most people because it lends to moderation…For example I would not suggest a super intense workout regime if that is not in the plans for the rest of your life. I also would include small treats in a normal eating schedule because this is generally realistic for long-term success. Extreme diets or banning all of one food type typically leads to burnout pretty quickly. (In the book I give a lot of personal examples of how this looked for me from the beginning and how it continues to play out today.)
After all, the goal is to create a new way to live…The rest of your life.
As you can see, this topic can be very complex. Even writing this blog post is bringing me flashbacks of the agony (haha, #kiddingnotkidding) of trying to communicate in the clearest way possible in my book. And you know what? I think I did it! In a short and easy to read book, I outlined clear steps and practical applications that so many people now tell me are “the missing piece!” in every plan they’ve ever followed. So if you relate to any of the issues in this post, and you have not read my book yet, this might just be your time!
**More about the book, testimonials, and options to order it in paperback, or get it instantly on Kindle, Nook, or iBooks, at the Book page! 🙂
Now as you head into the New Year, please hear this: I really do believe that you can make the changes! I am confident that your 2016 can be different. I really want to cheer you on as you overcome challenges and forge a new way to live at peace with food, exercise, and your body! Please feel free to comment with questions, or your story below.
**also: Keep up with daily inspirations related to all of this on my new instagram: @healthyhappyandfree
If you found this post encouraging, please consider sharing it using the social media buttons below!! Thank you!
With Much Aloha…Until next year!
PS. I had hoped to share other examples of the best way to approach your New Year’s goals and dreams, but this post just went too long. I do hope that between yesterday’s post and this one, you might be able to apply the same concepts to whatever your New Year’s goals might be!
I love all your weight loss/fitness advice! I would like to ask your opinion on what you think about all these weight loss programs I hear about with these shakes that you drink. They are all so expensive! Are they worth it? I spent a lot of $ on one that I did for a few months and only lost 3 lbs and gave up. I tried a different one a few months ago and lost nothing. But so many people have results (just not me)! And when you stop, do you just gain the weight back? Just wondering what you think…
Thanks Jane, and great question! In most cases I do not believe in following a plan using shakes or really any other diet plan. You are absolutely right in that they cost a lot and they mostly provide a balanced meal (which you can get through eating your own food). Any weight you lose is just because of the calorie restriction, and when you go off of it you are most likely to gain weight back because you are no longer restricting you diet the same way. Much more on all of this in my book, but in general: I say no to shakes. Diets. Any “plan” that you have to follow to achieve goals.
Thank you so much for stopping in to comment and I hope you’ll check out the book as it covers much, much more! 😉
The biggest battle can be while working out…..concentrating on what I was able to do vs struggling with what I could not do yet. If that makes sense. It goes back to reframing it in the mind….right? It is by far not an easy fix as we all know. Something I want to make into a daily deliberate action in all areas of my life. 🙂 Thank you for your posts Monica.
Thank you Laura. And yes, the mental battle plays out as well during exercise, in different ways for everyone. But recognizing it, and not being afraid to face it is the start. Well done, and thank you!! Happy New Year!
I have definitely been wanting to get back into shape after a rough few months (which led to unhealthy eating and a lot less working out.) So, after reading this post, I did what I think a healthy, fit, intelligent person would do first… I ordered your book! 🙂
I am looking forward to a healthy and happy 2016 and a permanent change in my attitude, habits, and outlook! Aloha and Mahalo!
Awesome Angela! Wise choice, for sure!! 😉 Thank you for giving the book a try. I truly think you’ll find what you’re looking for there! Please do keep me posted on your progress. Aloha and Happy New Year!
Every time I think of our family lake vacation this summer I get anxious. I don’t want to be the fat girl there. I know this is the missing piece for me. I don’t want to be the fat girl on a diet. I want to be fit and healthy. For life. What does she require of me?
great thoughts, Paige. Thank you so much. Keep up the good work. 😉 and Happy New Year!