Do you ever feel like you’ve lost the battle? Like, you’ve hit the bottom and can’t get back up anymore?
Do you feel like you’re trying so hard to accomplish goals but nothing works?
Do you feel betrayed by people or weight loss products that have failed you?
Do you ever tell yourself “nothing works so why bother try”?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions then the first thing you need to do is change your mindset and cognitive thinking.
Everybody knows the drill, whether you want to lose 2 pounds or 200. Just decrease your calories and get more exercise. And millions of people routinely set off with high hopes determined to do just that. Nevertheless, study after study indicates that while many succeed in losing some weight, the long-term results are overwhelmingly poor. Knowing what to do and knowing how to get yourself to do it are entirely separate skills. When it comes to changing behavior, especially long-term, habitual patterns, getting yourself to do something different, even when you know it’s good for you, depends largely on what you tell yourself: that is, on your thinking.
For example, let’s say you’re at a party and see five really delicious pastries. Will you end up eating too much? You probably will if you think, “I don’t care. I don’t want to deprive myself. It isn’t fair that everyone else gets to eat whatever they want, and I have to settle for one small piece”. By contrast, if you say to yourself, “I’m going to pick my favorite dessert. I’ll eat one small piece slowly and enjoy every bite. I know I’m going to feel so proud of myself,” you stand a much better chance of not overeating.
Like depressed clients, those with anxiety, substance abuse, or eating disorders, people who repeatedly find themselves unable to regulate their own weight typically can’t get past their negative, dysfunctional thinking. In order to achieve their goals, unsuccessful dieters don’t need to uncover hidden motivations or explore the hypothesized childhood origins of their problems. Instead, they need to learn how to address the dysfunctional thinking that leads to overeating.
The most basic tool that helps clients learn the cognitive skills they need to adhere to their diets is the use of index cards on which they write messages they’ll need to read when they’re tempted to overeat. They develop the practice of reading “response cards” containing these helpful messages every morning and at least one more time, at their most vulnerable part of the day. Here are a few examples of response-card messages:
– I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want, or I can be thinner. I can’t have it both ways.
– Hunger and craving always pass. I can make them go away faster by focusing my attention on something else.
– My body doesn’t know it’s a holiday. It’ll process food in exactly the same way as on other days.
Reading these cards daily, even when motivation is high, allows dieters to immerse themselves in crucially important ideas that prepare them for the inevitable difficult times, especially the thoughts that lead to negative, motivation-sapping emotions: “This is just too hard” leads to discouragement. “It’s not fair” leads to anger and a sense of deprivation. “I really want to eat this right now” leads to disappointment. Dieters can’t prevent these sabotaging thoughts from entering their minds, but if they’ve been practicing helpful responses, they’ll be able to deal with them and modify their habitual eating behavior. Train your mind with these cards until it becomes a habit and you begin to form a “mind, body connection”.
For more ways on how to help change your mindset, contact me today.