The Five Pronged Approach — Step 4: Making it Mental

Back on the wagon — how are the first three steps going on your end? I’m actually feeling better, even if my clothes aren’t fitting better and I’m not exactly dripping off pounds… but that’s what step 4 is about — keeping your head in the game.

I tend to fall into an “all or nothing” approach in many things. One of these things is eating. If I’m “dieting,” I sometimes feel like I need to ban all things bad from my diet, eat “clean,” and live a completely pristine life from that point on. Of course, that lasts for a day or so before I feel completely deprived, lust after some kind of snacky sugary thing that doesn’t fall into the category of “clean eating,” and blow it. And once I’m off the wagon, I just stay off and sulk around in the sugary snacky gravel until I get the mental fortitude to re-commit. That stinks.

A better bet — and what I’ve always told my training clients — is to realize that you didn’t put on flab and fat overnight and that it isn’t going to come off faster than it went on. (Well, maybe a little faster if you gained over years and years…) Generally speaking, the way people lose weight and keep it off is to realize that all or nothing will not work. (Usually because we end up right back at nothing pretty darned fast.) Instead, you have to make a mental shift in the way you think about fitness and food. You have to decide that you are going to build a healthier life for yourself, and that takes baby steps.

How do you do that? Here are a few ideas:

1. Add in exercise. If you already do a bit, do some more. Make a change that involves adding just a little. If you already walk three days a week, add a day. If you go for 10 minutes every day, try 20. Make a very small change, but a change for the better.

2. Vow to read labels and focus on foods that offer some nutritional benefit. When choosing between something snacky and tasty that offers no fiber, protein or healthy fat and something that does offer one of these items, go with the latter. Take it choice by choice and try to make good choices.

3. Don’t tell yourself that there is something you can’t have. If there is ice cream in my house, I will eat it. Plain and simple. But I haven’t banned ice cream. Instead, if I really want it, I can have it, but I have to go get it. And that extra effort might give me more time to make a better choice. And if not? Then I can have some ice cream! Not banning it makes me think about it less and enjoy it more when I get it.

4. Think about the way you feel over the way you look. Sure, we all want to fit into THOSE jeans (we all have a pair — the ones that you wore at some critical happy point in your life, the ones that represent the time you looked your best, felt your best.) But what is really important? Being able to enjoy your life. Feeling healthy and energetic. For me, it’s about being a person that my boys will be proud of. Being a mom that can run around with them and roll on the ground and KEEP UP with them. I wouldn’t mind it if some day I achieved the “hot mom” status, too, but that isn’t what this is about. At all.

So, get your head in the game! And if you’re with me on this little journey, feel free to tell me how it’s going!

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2 thoughts on “The Five Pronged Approach — Step 4: Making it Mental

  1. That is TOTALLY ME! And why I always fail. I am the all or nothing girl….the I’ll start tomorrow girl. Once I eat something crappy I blow the rest of the day girl. ugh. The last few weeks I’ve been doing the whole keep pressing and don’t think I have to start over the next day; I just try and eat better the next meal and its totalliy working. :o) Great advice and I agree whole heartedly. All about the baby steps; changing small things and being consistent with them! Thanks!! ~EE

  2. Ha! I am currently sitting at my computer munching on dry cereal – a habit I picked up while I was pregnant – trying to find some secret weight loss secret that will make my love handles disappear! This is exactly what I needed to hear, thank you!

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