I hear all the time how the key to weight loss is getting your mindset right. “You have to really want it” or “You have to focus and commit to it no matter what comes your way”. Well, I think yes and no. Let me explain.
I have struggled with my weight for my entire adult life. I always “really wanted” to lose weight. At least I did when I started out with a new plan to try again. I really wanted to accomplish it. I really tried to commit. And in the beginning I felt strong. I always thought “maybe this will be the time that I really do it”. I even tried to convince myself that I knew I would succeed. I really really really wanted to be that person. But I couldn't seem to make it happen, and I wondered what was wrong with me.
A typical weight loss attempt for me would consist of finding a new plan that had some success stories and promised results. I would get all excited and start out with high hopes. I would usually make it 1-2 weeks, (once I made it a whole 21 days) and then crash and burn. Then I would eat everything I felt I had been missing on the diet, followed by a period of anxious eating triggered by the thought that I would inevitably have to try again. I ate a lot in anticipation of the next period of deprivation and restrictive control. In fact, this cycle is what contributed to my weight gain over the years. Of course, being pregnant a lot was challenging as well. And small kids. And then big kids. And then bills, and appointments, and jobs and no jobs, and moving, and...life stuff. Life stuff we all have. And when you gain a significant amount of weight, you develop pain and fatigue issues on top of the stress.
So was the answer to changing all this just my mindset? Did I just need to suck it up and “just do it”? Was I just not mentally strong enough and committed enough? No matter how I psyched myself up, I eventually found myself in the same place. Tired. Stressed. In pain. Kids are asking for food. There was no time. I had no energy. Sooner or later (usually not that much later) I found myself in the same position. In the moment, I was just too wiped out to care. I just wanted to make it through...and maybe I could start again tomorrow. So I quit.
One day I realized that try as I might to change it, this was actually a pretty predictable pattern. So what could I realistically do about it? What If I created a menu that was made up of easy to find common foods that my whole family already liked? I began to devise a plan based on this idea. I would include some light desserts and treats, but tweak all the recipes to make them just a little bit healthier in a way no one would notice, and created the easiest “week night” quick easy versions of them all so I could actually do it in a pinch. (Which by the way, seemed like every night!) Then I calculated out the calories for each meal and snack, and created a mix and match structure. That way I could make endless combinations, stay within a calorie range that would facilitate weight loss for me, and feed the whole family foods we all enjoyed without doing anything different for me.
And it worked! I had created something actually DOABLE for my life! I found out that even if I was tired, cranky, and my mindset was flushed down the toilet at 4:30 in the afternoon...I could get dinner on the table in a flash. AND keep the family reasonably satisfied. AND keep myself reasonably satisfied while staying in the calorie range I was aiming for. I actually started to lose weight because I COULD KEEP GOING!
WOW! And then as the weight started coming off, a strange thing happened. I began to feel better. Better physically, better emotionally. My confidence increased. My self control increased. I became more willing to stay committed. MY MINDSET IMPROVED!
I think having a proper mindset is very important in achieving weight loss and the improved health that goes with it. I just think that sometimes the goals for change that we try to set for ourselves are too lofty. Too perfect. Too far away. Its like the difference between saving 150.00 per month and saving 20.00 per month. The larger goal requires more sacrifice, and for some situations maybe pretty drastic sacrifice. Surely it would take a stronger commitment and mindset to be successful with the more difficult drastic change. Why not start with a smaller more doable goal? The truth is that if you accomplish that, you gain confidence, experience, and wisdom to either know you can save more or know that it would be too difficult. The important thing is that you start saving something, which is better than saving nothing. It's the progress that will eventually get you to the goal.
So that is how a specific meal plan improved my success mindset. I finally understood HOW to do it, and that improved my will and commitment to follow through.
No matter how long you have struggled with your weight, I want you to know you can change. I was stuck for way too many years, but I was able to move the dial by creating a plan that was doable. Find your doable.
If you would like to hang out with other people that are looking to find their “doable”, then come on over and join my Facebook group called “DietBrainstorm”. We are filling it up with supportive like-minded people that want to find their “doable” and encourage each other along the way.
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.
Enter your name and email here to access the Free Weight Loss Calculator.