If, like me, you have made many attempts in the past to lose weight and get fit, it is likely that you have a fair bit of knowledge around diet and exercise. While recommendations change over time and often there is a lot of conflicting and incorrect information available to us, the fundamentals stay the same...
Consume a lower calorie, balanced and nutrient dense diet and move more to create a caloric deficit.
If we know how to lose weight, why is that we so often fail?
The answer is mindset!
How often have you been so geared up to create healthy habits, join a gym, cut out the junk and then within weeks your newly laid plan is slipping, treats are creeping in, and your gym membership is being paid but is not being used? Why is that? Mindset. Professionals say that losing weight and keeping it off is 90% mindset, 10% diet and exercise. That’s not to say that the plan you follow isn’t important, it absolutely is and will be the vehicle to get you to your goal, but without the right mindset, you simply will not be able to stick to your plan and reach your weight loss and fitness targets.
We all seek to find that ever elusive catalyst we call motivation, wanting it to show up and stick around to help us hit our goals. But the truth is motivation won’t just show up and it definitely won’t stick around day in and day out. Motivation is built over time as you stick to your new regime building new habits and start to see success, but still it won’t be there all the time. Fitness professionals and even athletes do not feel motivated every day. If an athlete didn’t train or eat well whenever their motivation disappears there would be no Olympic medals won that’s for sure! So how do they achieve the success that they do? Through great mindset and staying consistent.
I certainly know all too well the mental resilience you need to build to stay the course and get up every morning to exercise and remain focussed on my nutritional goals. Especially when life gets in the way! The difference between all those failed attempts in the past and now, is my mindset. I have done a lot of work over the years to change the way I think about life, setting goals and working towards them consistently. My motivation isn’t there every day, but I still work towards my goals EVERY day. The thing that has changed for me and that has been the difference in finally hitting and maintaining my health and fitness goals has been my mindset; the way I use my time and the importance I press upon always developing and improving myself and the way I think, alongside my 6-week plan. I am living proof that my plans work, but they only work if you show up and put in your full commitment every day of the challenge and of course continue to have that focus beyond the plan to maintain your new healthier body. That means ensuring that you are in the right headspace and motivated to hit your goals.
So, how do you work on and change your mindset you may ask?
Well, here are some of the key things to think about and put in place to help you with mindset while working towards your goals.
Your What and Why
With anything that you do, if you don’t know what you want to achieve and why then you are unlikely to end up at the destination that you hoped. You would never just get in your car and drive without first knowing where you want to end up and why you want to go there, so why should life by any different? The journey may change a bit along the way, due to bumps in the road, road works, traffic etc and sometimes the final destination may be altered, but you would still always have in mind where you want to end up. Your ‘Why’ is like the fuel that you put in the car, it is the thing that will motivate you on the good days and on the days where you really don’t feel like it. If you have in mind why you want to reach a certain goal, you will be so much more likely to stay focussed and achieve it.
Here are some examples of what your ‘Why’ could be:
To have enough energy to run around after the kids or grandkids to truly enjoy your time spent with them.
Perhaps you are heading towards type 2 diabetes and the fear of what that could mean for your long-term health has been the wakeup call you need.
Maybe menopause symptoms have really started doing a number on your day-to-day life and are getting in the way of losing weight and ohow you want to live.
It could be that you are nearing retirement and want to be able to live your non-working years to the fullest travelling and seeing the world and know that losing weight and getting fit will ensure you can do the things you dream of.
You may have lost confidence over the years as your weight crept up and want to feel confident, happy and maybe even sexy again.
There could be any number of motivating reasons that you want to lose weight and get fit and everyone is different. It has to be something that motivates you and that you truly want.
Visualising the end goal is also a great way to stay motivated. Lots of successful people use visualisation in all areas of their life to keep them focussed on what they want to achieve and how it will feel when they do. Allowing yourself to visualise how your life will look when you have hit your health targets will keep it top of mind. When you visualise, you need to think about you as you will be in the future and take time to really experience how that would make you feel in the moment. Being able to draw on those feelings at any moment when you are low in motivation will help. You could also make a vision board or hang a picture that means something to you in a prominent place where you will see it every day. It could be a picture of a dress you would like to wear at a big event, photos of a destination you want to travel to, even a picture of you or a representation of you and how you would be when you hit your goal. Whatever motivates you will work.
Gaining self-awareness is essential to creating a heathy mindset. It enables us to understand why we are how we are, what makes us tick and what can also be a trigger for us. For many people when it comes to weight loss and fitness common triggers can be stress, tiredness, being busy and even certain foods or alcohol that we have little to no self-control around. To be successful in your weight loss you will need to be aware of those triggers and put in place a plan that helps you to overcome them. We cannot realistically completely eliminate the things that cause us to fall off plan, but if we have a plan in place for how we handle them when they do crop up we will be 100 times more likely to stay focussed and not let it throw us off our journey. It could be things as simple as having homemade batches of healthy foods ready in the freezer so that when we have had a stressful or busy day, we don’t end up reaching for the takeaway menu. Or if we know that we don’t make the right food choices when we have been drinking, to eliminate it completely or restrict alcohol consumption to special occasions only. Have a think about what may be triggering and sabotaging your efforts and put a plan together to combat them.
Make a plan
We are all busy people and trying to embark on a new fitness and diet regime can seem like just another thing on our already too long to do list. So, in order to get the results we want, we will have to prioritise and make a plan that allows us time to focus on ourselves and our health. It won’t just happen by magic; you have to make time. To some this may seem selfish as we are so used to putting others first, especially as Mums, but in order to be better for those around us, we have to focus on ourselves first. I will remind you of an analogy that I am sure you will have heard before – if you are on a plane that is going down, you must put on your own oxygen mask first in order to help those around you. That is true for all things in life and you cannot pour from an empty cup. You must plan in when you can take that time for you and fill up your own cup first. That could be getting up an hour earlier if that suits you and your lifestyle to complete your daily exercise and then make your healthy breakfast. Or perhaps you are more of a night owl and a late-night exercise session works better for you. It could be taking ½ hour each Sunday to plan your meals for the week in advance, or even a Sunday batch cooking and meal prep session. Whatever works for you, but you must plan the time in. As they say, ‘Fail to plan, plan to fail!”.
In order to change our lives, we need to work on ourselves. To make lasting change we need to do things differently. The way to do that is through working on and developing ourselves and our mindset; the way we think about things and the way we react to them. If we keep doing the same thing over and over we cannot expect to get a different result, so, if the result you are getting is not a favourable one, then something has to change.
“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
I am a big advocate of self-development and work on myself and my goals daily and a big part of that is reading self-development books and implementing the knowledge I have gained into my life. There are some truly inspirational speakers and authors out there who have made an impact on my life. I have a long list of their books that really have been instrumental in changing my mindset for the better and in turn have kept me focussed on my life goals, including my weight loss and fitness. I would really recommend buying or loaning some of these from your local library, or if you prefer to, listen to them as an audio book while out walking or completing your exercise plan.
1. Atomic Habits by James Clear
2. Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
3. 5am Club by Robin Sharma
4. Today Matters by John C Maxwell,
5. The Art of Exceptional Living by Jim Rohn,
6. Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins
7. The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins
8. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown
In summary mindset is one of the biggest pieces in the puzzle to reaching your weight loss and fitness goals. In order to change your mindset, you should take some time to think about what you want to achieve and even better write down your answers to the following:
What - What is your weight loss and fitness goal? (Make its SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Time Bound)
Why - What is your ‘Why’?
Visualise - Create a vision board or hang a motivational picture where it can be seen every day.
Self-awareness - Think about what your triggers are that throw you off plan and put a plan in place to combat them when they occur.
Plan – make a plan for when you will exercise and what and when you will cook.
Self-development – Work on yourself - Pick a book from my list of recommendations and read or listen to it and then implement the takeaways into your life.
If you’re ready to take the next step and work towards your fitness goals then check out my 6 week fitness plans and book on my upcoming challenge.