There are sooo many people that when they look in the mirror, decide they need to lose weight and get in better shape… and fail. And feel terrible about themselves. And look in the mirror, and try again. And then feel terrible about themselves. Are you one of them?
Do you also want to escape that vicious cycle? The first step is to look inside yourself, not at the outside.
What do you see when you look in your “internal mirror.”? Do you see a positive image or a negative image? Very likely what you see is negative….
Could you see yourself any other way? Can you picture yourself as a fit, healthy and strong version? That´s where it all starts!!
Step 1: Visualize your “ideal me.”
Visualize what the ideal version of yourself looks like and ask yourself how your current lifestyle habits differ from those of the ideal person in your mind.
After a little self-reflection, you will start to find your own answers for how to identify and overcome many of the challenges that keep you from success.
One of the best things you can do is to look closely at what has and hasn’t worked for you in the past. Choose to see your past experiences not as failures but as experiments — all of which are leading you in the direction of a very valuable discovery.
Perhaps you’ve adjusted your eating without much nutritional know-how. Or you’ve largely neglected exercise. Or you’ve embarked on a weight-loss plan without considering your schedule and lifestyle. Or perhaps you’ve done all that stuff right but still found yourself repeatedly derailed by social and environmental triggers, a metabolism-disrupting health condition, stress, or some form of self-sabotage. As long as you can look at this information objectively, it’s potentially useful to you.
At the same time, you may also have to let go of what you think you know about weight loss — a topic more fraught with myths, misinformation and oversimplification than virtually any other.
Here’s the truth: Losing unwanted weight and keeping it off really isn’t as simple as eating less and exercising more. Rather, it requires a variety of thoughtful life adjustments in four key areas: psychology, lifestyle, nutrition and fitness.
Step 2: Analyse and change your lifestyle
If you commit to making lasting changes in several aspects of your live — not just isolated changes to diet and exercise — you will be more successful in losing weight and keeping it off. Change your life, and your body will follow.
Start by honestly assessing any imbalances or trouble spots in your life, and pay attention to the interactions between various sectors such as work, home, relationships and money. If one area of your life is distinctly unhappy or out of balance, it will tend to create problems in other areas of your life that may, in turn, inhibit weight loss.
For example, if you’re working long hours on the job, your stress level will probably rise, leaving you more vulnerable to cravings for unhealthy foods. Plus, you’ll be short on time to shop and cook, eat well, and exercise. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you could throw your metabolic system out of whack — increasing hormones, like ghrelin, that trigger hunger.
To achieve healthy, sustainable weight loss, you need to address the underlying patterns and lifestyle behaviours that may have predisposed you to gaining weight in the first place. The following questions might help you identify the trouble spots in your life:
- Are you leading the life of a healthy, active person? Do you have the interests, priorities and passions of a healthy person? What positive changes or areas of learning do you think might make the biggest difference?
- Do you have enough sources of healthy pleasure, meaning, creativity and joy in your life?
- Are you aware of any lifestyle habits or addictions (eating, drinking, skipping sleep, overspending, overworking, watching TV, people-pleasing) that are absorbing your energy or holding you back? What things are taking up an excess of your time and focus?
- Do you have a variety of fun, relaxing or exciting opportunities to move and use your body throughout the day and week?
- Are you surrounding yourself with other healthy and motivated people?
Step 3: Start living your life as though you already are your “ideal me.”
Once you have identified the challenges that keep you from success you have to begin living your life, right here and now, as though you were already the ideal version of yourself in your mind.
Picture what your “ideal me” would do, and start doing it. This probably sounds easier than it really is, but you will be amazed by how powerful it is to think of yourself as the “ideal me” and not the “current me” you see in the mirror.
As when it comes down to it, it’s not the body that is actually creating overweight – it’s the brain. We all know intuitively that poor decisions are what make you gain weight and better ones are what make you lose it. The problem is that over time, the poor decisions lead to significant changes in how the brain governs – and, amazingly, responds to – the hunger and satiation processes. Years of any kind of behaviour pattern lay down neural tracks, and overeating is no exception.
The good news is that there’s increasing evidence that the brain can, in large part, “fix” itself once new behaviour patterns emerge (i.e., calorie restriction, healthy food choices, and exercise). However that process does take time, and like any other behaviour change, is ultimately a practice. It takes a long time to develop new habits, rituals, routines. This can take months or even years. But it will happen!
Step 4: Embrace some fundamental principles that seemingly have nothing to do with fitness.
There are some principles you should embrace in order to better build a strong mental and emotional foundation.
The first is love for self and others. Love for self establishes that you have value; not come from an ego perspective, but from the belief that we all have a purpose and therefore we all have value. Love for others also means that we care deeply for the people who are close to us, and when we take care of our mind, body and spirit, we can then be a better blessing to them.
Show yourself some mercy. Most people are very hard on themselves, which usually means when they mess up… they give up. Don´t let one bad meal send you on a downward spiral that ends in quitting. Give yourself some credit for persisting in the face of adversity. If you feel you’ve made a mistake, own it, learn from it, and keep moving forward. No one is perfect. What matters is that you keep trying!
Keep it simple. Doing a few simple things consistently well often leads to tremendous results. You could keep a journal of your exercise and nutrition habits for two weeks. Afterwards, you review the journal and identify a few areas you can target for improvement. Keep it simple. Paralysis through analysis is the downfall of many a diet and exercise program.
Step 5: Rework your nutrition.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is approaching your eating habits as a diet, relying on reduced-calorie diet foods or highly restrictive eating plans to slim down. This strategy generally backfires because it tends to reduce metabolism and degrade overall health, crippling the very systems required to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
It is far more useful to approach eating as a nourishing and pleasurable activity, the whole point of which is to provide you with the best health, energy and vitality possible. Good nutrition from a variety of whole, unprocessed foods is essential to build healthy metabolism and to regulate appetite. It naturally helps heal the imbalanced biochemistry at the root of most weight challenges.
For more tips how to develop healthy eating patterns we refer to our Blog: https://www.spa-in-spain.com/blog1/2017/03/09/nutrition-month-march-2017/
Step 6: Establish an exercise plan
No weight-loss program is complete without an adequate fitness or activity plan. Working out — whether at a health club, a yoga studio, at home or outdoors — helps you build your metabolism and develop the lean muscle mass that’s essential to long-term weight management. It also gives you energy, balances blood-sugar levels, reduces stress and helps you build self-esteem. And one of the best parts about improving your fitness is that it makes losing weight easier and more enjoyable overall.
To keep yourself motivated to exercise, it’s important to find a sport or physical activity that you enjoy and that you feel comfortable doing. This will influence our ability to stick to a routine and take care of ourselves.
For more information about how to develop an exercise routine, please read our Blog: https://www.spa-in-spain.com/blog1/2015/12/30/get-healthy/
Step 7: Remember that being healthy is a lifestyle, not a program.
Nutrition and exercise isn’t one size fits all. Nor is it something you do for a week or month. That’s why starting with the basics is so important — if the nutrition and fitness plan you adopt isn’t simple and easy to follow, you’re much more likely to get frustrated and quit.
And that’s also why the process starts with looking inside yourself and not in the mirror. What is your purpose? What are you goals? What is your “ideal me”?
Answer those questions and you’ll build a great foundation for a lifestyle that keeps you healthier, fitter, and a lot happier
Last but not least, some tips to help you get started:
- Establish a realistic goal: Think about what you want to achieve and why. Set a positive-minded, health-and-fitness-oriented goal — defined by behaviours you’re willing to change — that you know you can accomplish. Be specific and realistic.
- Find a support system: Surround yourself with people who can help you achieve your weight-loss goal, whether that’s a formal support group, a class, one-on-one counselling, or your friends and family.
- Think positively: Dial down destructive thinking and put your energy toward proactive steps that will take you to your goal. Stop thinking of yourself as fat and start focusing on how fit you can become.
- Use nutrition as an ally: Emphasize good nutrition and educate yourself about how it enables your body to control cravings and regulate its weight through healthy metabolism, hormones and genetic expression. Remember that you also need good nutrition to support your mood, immunity and fitness activities.
- Focus on fitness: Make your exercise less about burning calories than building metabolism and strength, growing your body confidence, and establishing a healthy lifestyle that includes active fun, play, challenge and adventure.
- Watch for positive change: But don’t get hung up on the scale. Pay more attention to how you look and feel — and how your clothes fit.
- Don’t rush the process: Sustainable and healthy weight loss isn’t a quick fix. It’s a life shift, one that offers tremendous rewards beyond weight loss. As your body gets healthier, weight loss will happen and healthy habits will start to feel automatic.
- Get help when you need it: If you aren’t making progress, get some expert help. You may have an underlying health condition or another unaddressed obstacle that requires
Good luck! YOU CAN DO IT!!