Day 4 is here, and it is time to discuss a huge part of weight loss that is probably the single biggest thing that causes people to succeed or fail on this journey: mindset.
Merriam-Webster defines mindset as “a mental attitude or inclination” and also “a fixed state of mind.” Because mindset is a “fixed state of mind,” we are going to have to focus and work to make adjustments. We are working on our brain’s software, and we will need to slowly but surely reprogram that software over time and with some small, but tangible, successes.
Shades of Mindset Grey Matter
We phrase mindset in so many different terms during this journey: willpower, discipline, and motivation. We all wish we had more discipline and willpower, and we usually use these words when we are resisting eating too many “unhealthy” foods and drinks. We use “motivation” when we talk about working out or going to the gym. It usually is framed that we wish we had more motivation to go work out, but we usually tell ourselves that we are too tired and tomorrow or next Monday is a better day. You know, since our willpower, discipline and motivation will be back from their vacation in the Caribbean by that time.
It’s time to get real: those are just excuses. I know. I am speaking from experience. After all, I have joined and dropped out of at least 14 different diet and weight loss programs over the past 15 years. I have uttered each of these phrases, and in face, Drew Sample and I talked with Scott Hebert about this on a Healthy Lifestyle Podcast back in 2016.
Hitting A Wall Called Reality
Right now, I imagine you are like me: ready to get after it and try to make this new program work. It’s the New Year, and it is a new chance to change our current course and improve ourselves for the better. Things are great, and we are dodging sweets, salty foods, alcohol and other things like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix dodging bullets. We step out of the Matrix each night before bed and say, “I know Kung Fu!”
Unfortunately, what usually happens is that life hits you in the face and keeps coming….FAST. We have stresses at home, at work and with our families and friends. Did you know that the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day and Easter are coming? There are gatherings and events, and of course those happen on those 52 weekends we are going to have this year! These are all opportunities for us to deviate from our 24 Hour Plans and fail completely, and fail we do!
- Statistically speaking, research has shown that 31 days after the first of the year, 64 percent of you have dropped your New Years Resolutions.
- By mid-February, more than 80 percent of you have dropped those New Year’s Resolutions and goals.
You know it’s true! You can see this at the gyms: the crowds that created standing room only and long wait times for equipment has eased up or evaporated completely. So ask yourself:
Why do we fail over and over and over?
Failing to Fly
Michael Bell talked about failure on the Basic Nutrition with Michael Bell Podcast. He said that we ALL rationalize and bargain with our lizard brain, and usually we fall back to our old patterns and habits. We eat and drink whatever we want, and we rationalize it by saying that we will be good tomorrow or do extra cardio.
Over time, Resolutions fail because they were “shoulda’d.” It usually goes something like this:
“I shoulda done better today, but this party is going great! There is so much good food and drinks. Screw it! Pass me the nachos and more beer! I am going to pick it up Monday, and I’ll go for an extra long walk.”
Of course, we don’t, and the waves of guilt was over us.
When we make some choices that might not be on plan or are not the healthiest, we follow some typical patterns:
- We are a little hungry or decide to eat because of stress or boredom.
- We eat something that is completely off plan, and if we are really having a bad day….
- We go ALL IN and eat and drink everything in sight!
- We might lie to ourselves and say it wasn’t that bad, and even if it was, we’ll make it up.
- We try to salvage our failure by significantly restricting the next day, and we fail at that because we are hung over, feel nasty and/or are feeling guilty. Significant restriction usually ends badly because we can’t maintain it and end up eating everything in sight AGAIN.
- We have such guilt about our choices and decisions that we fold completely and decide to quit or at least quit until next week. That usually is the end of the diet effort because we feel like a failure.
Ask me how I know!
Rationalizing, guilt and feelings of failure are all part of our human programming. I imagine we have them as a survival mechanism and to keep us from being psychopathic, but damn they suck. We have to recognize those feelings and thoughts for what they are, and then we need to turn the thoughts around and use them for good. We HAVE to start breaking this downward spiral of rationalization, act, guilt, and complete failure. It is literally killing us. We need to break this cycle and move forward. YES, I AM PREACHING TO THE CHOIR.
Work on Mindset
We need to stop shoulda-ing all over us; we need something better. We need to reprogram our brains to turn that stinkin thinkin around. We also need to do some deep thinking about WHY we are eating. Probably one of the best ways to do that is to sit in a quiet place and do some deep thinking (meditation) and journaling, which is a topic coming on Day 5 (amazing how that just seemed to be right on time)!
Julie and I are not licensed therapists; we are working on our own mindset! We have resources that will help you and your own mindset, and we are encouraging you to dive right in and work on yours.
Corinne Crabtree from Phit-n-Phat
Corinne Crabtree from Phit-n-Phat has been there and done that: she lost 100 pounds and is now helping other women gain control of their lives and improve their health. I appreciate her straightforward approach and her southern sassy self. Corinne is a straight-shooter, and she knows the lies and bullshit we tell ourselves. I appreciate that. Now, as a guy, there are some things she talks about that I just need to….fast forward. Yep, I can’t relate to some of those…issues….
Julie pulled some of Corinne’s podcasts about mindset, and these are listed below. Even though you might be a guy, I recommend listening to Corinne. You’ll get a laugh or two and learn somethings along the way.
- Episode 013: Negative Self-Talk While Losing Weight (Fat Girl Thinking)
- Episode 029: Changing How You Think About Your Past To Lose Weight
- Episode 049: How To Change Your Thoughts So You Can Change Your Life
Kevin Geary from Rebooted Body
At Rebooted Body, Kevin is focused on sustainable weight loss through healthy eating, functional fitness and behavior psychology (perfect for reprogramming your mindset). In full disclosure, I have been one of Kevin’s clients, and he has been on Small Scale Life twice. Kevin has some excellent podcasts, videos and articles related to mindset, and I have listed a couple below:
- Actionable Mindset vs. Resistance Mindset
- Your Personal Alcatraz: Has Your Mindset Become a Prison?
- How to Lose Body Fat (For Good)
Of course, you can listen to Kevin talk to Drew Sample and me about health and fitness on the Small Scale Life Podcast as well. It was an episode from 2016, and I am amazed by how far (and how much better) the podcast has come in a few years.
Time to Renew You; Work on Your Mindset
Remember: this is a process, a long journey. Nothing is solved overnight or because you listened to a podcast or read a blog post. Again, as I preach to the choir:
Stop being so damn hard on yourself!
Play the long game, but play to win. Step by step, no matter how insignificant those steps may seem like, are progress. Before we learned to run, we had to:
- Learn to roll from our back to our belly
- Get on our hands and knees
- Rock back and forth (inevitably crashing on our faces a few times)
- Move forward tentatively (inevitably crashing on our faces a few times)
- Master crawling around the floor
- Learn to stand (inevitably crashing on our faces and rear ends a few times)
- Get strength in our legs (inevitably crashing on our faces and rear ends a few times)
- Take a tentative step forward by holding onto something (inevitably crashing on our faces and rear ends a few times)
- Letting go and stepping forward (inevitably crashing on our faces and rear ends a few times)
- Get stronger and walk faster
Notice anything about this process? There is helluva lot of failure, a lot of crashes, and a lot of tears as you wipe out. This is life. This is a process. Play the long game, but play to win.
Rome was not built overnight. You did not gain weight in one night; you won’t take it off in one night.
Don’t give up on yourself. I am tottering on my hands and knees and ready to crash on my face with you, but you are never alone.
“You will not fall cause we have each other. You will not fall because we are Lifers. You will not fall cause you have love. You will not fall because we have love.”Shinedown with a slight…Small Scale Life modification
You can do this!
Let’s go. One babystep at a time. Good luck, Lifers!