Better than we know the back of our own hand we know that getting in shape is hard work.
That being said it would be presumptuous of me to say that many intend to fail on their weight loss ventures stricken with naivety of diving in without any real plan. But it’s frequently seen that many of those looking to lose weight find their short comings from disregarding mental preparation.
And if there is one thing that I do preach it’s; “Preparation Is Key to all forms of success”.
So to first become mentally prepared and aware of what represents your progress will serve you well on your journey.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
Understanding that how we judge or scale our success will impact the continuity during this new venture will serve you well when presented with the day to day mental battle of “Is it really worth all the effort”.
I propose that we recognize the two major influences we have to “learn to discern” if we want to achieve our weight-loss goals.
The two major influences are the “outward” influences and the “inward” influences. An outward influence is anything out in the touchable, three-dimensional real world like food, scales, mirrors, people, clothes, and so forth. The inward influences are things that go on in your heart, your desires, your thoughts, and eventually your actions.
Both outward and inward influences play their own roles in losing weight. The key is to learn how to pay more attention to the good inward influence that will help you lose weight.
Below are some outward influences and how they affect your weight-loss progress:
(It should be noted that these are generic understandings of interpretations- each individual will interpreted an item differently)
- The scale: reinforces your success or failure every time you step on it. Lower numbers on the scale indicate you’ve lost some weight, but never enough according to your expectations. Higher numbers on the scale indicate you must have done something wrong. It doesn’t account for water-weight, bloat/swelling, muscle mass, etc.
- The mirror: serves as our “critique meter”, or something that reflects how the world views us, therefore, we must view ourselves that way too.
- The refrigerator and cupboards: reminders of the “NO” ZONES in our homes.
- People: when they know you are losing weight, they want a report on your progress.
- Physical body fatigue: dietary changes, exercise, or worrying sets in and you become irritable or sad at times.
- Food: new eating habits and healthier snack foods interfere with what you’ve formerly known as “normal”, and the new routines are difficult to incorporate.
- Calendars: timeframes you’ve set to achieve your weight-loss goals is nearing its end, and you are scared that you’ll be a failure “again”.
- Menus: proper food selection seems like a CHORE, and eating just isn’t pleasurable anymore because you know the caloric count, grams of sugar, grams of protein, and grams of fat of everything you put into your mouth.
- Clothes: as you lose the pounds, clothing begins to sag on you a bit, and this can make you look even worse. Having to spend money on new clothes can be depressing if it’s not part of a current budget.
- Experts: they have all kinds of suggestions on losing weight, and they can’t wait for you to listen to them.
The above list could go on and on based on how deeply you wanted to analyse this issue. But as you can see from this shortened version, all of the “outside” influences make us feel the stresses of losing weight and are purely based on how we choose to interact with each object.
The inward influences I would like to address are those influences that some would label as “self-talk”, or rather “self-affirmations” that either tell us we’re okay or not okay in the world as we know it.
It’s that inner voice that all of us have that directs us to thinking, and then inevitably directs us to act according to our thinking. Actions begin with thoughts, and thoughts begin with desires. And desires begin with what we want deep within our heart. Sounds complicated and poetic, I admit; but it is so worth the effort to take some time and figure out how you can make your heart speak its desires, which will prompt the thoughts, that will then lead to actions.
The inward influences are working well for you UNTIL you step on the scale or look in the mirror. Then what happens? You’ve allowed the outward influences to monitor your progress, and the outward influences want to override all of those positive inward influences. You begin to mock all of your hard work you’re doing, find disappointments, identify shortcomings, and generally debase any accomplishments you achieved. You’ll do this for one kilo lost or for twenty kilos lost.
Why? Because you’re allowing the outward influences to take over the inward influences.
How do you make the inward influences rank higher than the outward influences? This is the trick…
WORK AT IT and remember it’s TWO TO ONE!
As you hear the “devil on your shoulder” (the outward influences) toss around insults, doubts, and negative remarks, turn your head to the “angel on your shoulder” (the inward influences) that tells you that you are doing fabulous, you’re making progress, you’ve worked so hard, you’re improving every day, and you’re going to make it.
For every negative comment, strike back with two positive comments. If you do this, you’ll always stay one step ahead of the negative, which just might be enough to keep you moving forward toward the prize. The minute you DON’T strike back, the outward influences gain one-up on you, then two-up, then soon become ten-up… just like a board game and your game piece is falling behind on the squares. If you find yourself too far behind on the squares, you will become more discouraged and then quit the game all together. Like a kid who says, “well, I sure can’t win now”, leaves the game and pouts on his way home.
Unfortunately the outward influences must be part of the process. This is the monitoring, our measuring stick that proves we are doing the right things.
The body doesn’t understand this at all. The body is a grand machine that is constantly busy with checks and balances, making sure all systems are GO, that all operations are functioning to their best capabilities. It doesn’t have time for “feelings.” It only does its functional responsibilities accordingly. So you cannot count on the body to understand any inward influences or outward influences such as I’ve mentioned. It is only concerned about body functions and getting things done.
So work VERY hard at paying more attention to the inward influences. But remember that you have to put the inward influences in there before you can actually use them. Like putting gas in the car to make it go, you must put the good inward influences in to make them available when you need to call upon them.
Here are some great inward influences you can put into your mind today that will help you achieve:
- I am doing WELL, considering this isn’t easy!
- I am making progress!( focus on what is happening and what you can do today that you couldn’t yesterday)
- I haven’t lost yet, but I haven’t gained either!
- I still need to lose XX kilos, but look what I’ve done so far!
- I didn’t eat one bad snack today!
- I got in all of my fluids today!
- I still can get my fluids in today before bedtime!
- I got all of my protein in today!
- I can squeeze more protein in today if I try!
- I like the fact that it’s getting easier to walk up the stairs!
- I like the fact that I can stoop over and pick that up off the floor!
- I like the fact that I can say NO to that cookie!
This gives you a START TODAY to begin to put more inward influences inside so you can battle the outward influences with more power! Keep in mind that you must do TWO inwards for every ONE outward. Stay AHEAD of the game and you won’t go home a quitter!
I would even urge you to write in a diary each day with only positive things that happened on that day so you can flick back through them in the tough times and look at what you have accomplished thus far.
We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are. ~ Anaïs Nin
You have the ability at any point to change how you see the world, step back and take it in through new eyes. You will feel the weight of the world fall off your shoulders- empowering you to take on any challenge that faces you.
Work from the inside out and Keep talking to yourself in a positive manner.