Whether you’ve just had a baby or gained some weight after another emotionally or physically challenging phase in your life, losing it can be more challenging than the celebrity magazines may make it sound! But it wasn’t a “miracle” diet or fitness regimen that did it for me! Changing my mindset was what helped me not only lose the postpartum weight, but stay in good shape permanently!
Here’s why: although weight loss is a physical thing and it may seem logical to approach it by only making physical lifestyle changes, it’s also so much about your mindset!
For instance, when I had my first baby I was tremendously emotionally overwhelmed! Stressed, anxious, sleep-depraved! When I tried changing my regimen to lose weight, it only made me more stressed and even depressed!
I relied on certain things (like grabbing a candy whenever I didn’t feel good) to keep me emotionally going! I could not afford sticking with a restricted regimen that would make me lose all the joy of living!
Unless… unless I made these changes stress-less, and even enjoyable!
Changing my mindset and mentally adjusting to the healthier lifestyle not only made the physical changes doable! it made it possible for these changes to stick for years to come!
HOW TO CHANGE YOUR MINDSET TO LOSE WEIGHT:
1. REALIZE THAT YOU FEED BOTH YOUR BODY & YOUR SOUL!
The most important thing that I’ve discovered about making any changes to my diet was the realization that we don’t just eat the food to nourish our bodies! We also use the food to nourish our minds and souls!
That is especially true to all sorts of dessert, since in most instances our body doesn’t really need any sugar or fat, right? But our soul certainly does!
Understanding why we crave certain foods at a certain moment is the first step toward getting your eating habits under control!
The next step is approaching these cravings with compassion, love and care!
This approach is never as important as when you just had a baby (or going through another emotionally challenging phase in your life!)
The final step is about making the changes in your diet that DO affect what you eat, but do NOT affect your overall levels of joy and satisfaction!
2. DEAL WITH EMOTIONAL EATING
There are a few things that you can do to “feed” your soul right! I’ve covered most of them in this article about Emotional Eating!
…But here’re just a few most important ones:
- Have a dessert! Have it every single day! Just pick a healthy one! (instead of a fried donut for instance)!
- Dedicate a certain time in the day to have an edible treat! Knowing when you’re going to have it won’t only stop you from randomly picking samples or snacks! The anticipation of that sweet moment will make the actual eating even more pleasurable!
- Don’t just grab a piece of candy and munch it on the go! Making that moment special (going out to a cute coffeeshop or a bakeshop where the environment is a treat of its own or devouring it when the house is quiet, early in the morning or late at night) will make it so much more enjoyable!
3. FIND THE DISTRACTIONS!
A big part of sticking to a diet is about stopping yourself from eating when your body doesn’t need the food! But as challenging as it may seem at first, there are ways to stop your cravings before they take your mind over!
One of the ways to deal with them is by distracting yourself from eating by thinking of something else other than food to do at the given moment!
It can be as simple as planning a to-do list to take your mind off of eating! (Bonus points for adding all your pleasant daily rituals into that to-do list! )
It can also be anything from planning a vacation, going out for a walk, reading a blog post or making that phone call you’ve been meaning to make for a while now!
3. FIND THE REWARDS!
For many new moms food seems like the best and the easiest reward! It’s always there. It’s relatively cheap. And it’s instant!
That’s why it’s important to consciously find other rewarding things in your daily life that aren’t food! Finding these rewards will play similar tricks with your mind as the distractions do; the only difference here is that you’re consciously looking for a substitute to foodie pleasures in other things.
Because this process is more conscious, the non-foodie things that you’ll find rewarding involves a bit of self-searching. But this is also why it’ll help you with your weight-loss long term: you’ll come out of it equipped with the new knowledge about your favorite non-foodie pleasures to rely on!
So, go ahead and think of the other sweet things in your life that can give you a sense of gratification and joy, yet that aren’t food!
Here’re some everyday joys from my list:
- Cooking: I especially love to bake! And although it is food-related, I don’t have to eat my creations to enjoy this process! Crafting, serving and sharing them gives me just as much joy!
- Shopping is a simple, but powerful mood elevator for women! Well… as a new mom or a regular busy woman you won’t always have the time to spend strolling through a mall (although hey – get a nice stroller and take your bundle of joy for a stroll with you!) But shopping on-line or going out to buy your everyday groceries will always elevate your mood!
- Dressing up. Yes, I know, as a new mom dressing up might sound unreasonable! It’s so much easier to put on your tee and sweats to bounce through a day! But trust me: I’ve been there, done it! When you don’t care about your looks, it’s so much easier to stick with the extra pounds! On the other hand planning your outfits (even if it’s for the next summer, when you will be in shape to wear that bikini), can be tremendously rewarding and motivating!
- Finally, reading a book or watching a movie are the things that elevate my mood every day!
Switching from rewarding myself with food to rewarding myself with a new dress or a coffee & book-reading date with myself was a big mind shift! I still rely on my reward system when I’m stressed or overwhelmed and need to lift my spirits and elevate my mood!
Working on making these dresses look great on my leaner body is just a pleasant bonus!
4. ACCEPT THE CHALLENGES!
OK, here’s the truth: losing weight is NOT a blissful process. Anything that involves physical changes is hard on our bodies, because naturally our bodies like to be where they’re at: adjusted to your current lifestyle conditions.
This is why it’s so important to acknowledge the fact that yes – you will have to get over craving yet another candy at 11 PM. And yes, your grumpy belly will be reminding you of your cravings while you’re trying to distract yourself from food with watching a movie!
Consciously understanding what your body is going through in this process, realizing that it may show the signs of discomfort until you get where you want to be with your weight and your schedule, will make it easier for you to control your own feelings and sensations!
5. ADJUST THE WEIGHT LOSS TO YOURSELF & YOUR NEEDS!
Losing weight isn’t only about staying away from a fried donut!
Exercising regularly and nurturing your body with the right foods are the things that you need to be in good physical shape! But as you’re adopting all these healthy habits, you should also bear in mind that you do have some choices!
You can tweak these healthy habits to your liking! Find the ways to enjoy your healthy foods and exercise!
…Because you don’t have to eat kale if you hate it! And you don’t have to sweat on a treadmill if it sounds depressing to you! (I’m talking about myself here! I seriously dislike the treadmill!)
But here’s what you can do instead:
- Don’t like the treadmill – find another way to exercise! Dancing, yoga, or just walking around a block window shopping are a few things that you might find enjoyable! When it comes to me, I don’t like yoga either! I find it boring! 🙂 But I do like a good jog! And dancing had always been my favorite! 🙂
- Same goes with the food! I don’t like stir fried veggies. And I don’t really like steamed carrots. But I do like the veggies that are baked (and browned a bit)! Steamed broccoli with some oil and cheese sounds terrific. And there’s nothing, NOTHING better than a baked winter squash seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper! 🙂
Out of what’s healthy – pick the things that you’ll like and enjoy doing! Out of what you love – keep the things that are good for you and your body!
This is how you get your good habits to stick! And with that – a way to stay in shape for years to come! 🙂