Have you been asking the question “Why can’t I lose weight?”. Maybe you have even been asking “Why can’t I lose weight no matter what I do?” To lose weight successfully you need to have a weight loss mindset. This might sound simple, but all too often I have seen clients who have been sabotaging their own weight loss efforts for years.

Simply

by the way

they think.

Your thoughts lead to your actions, which create your behaviors, which create your lifestyle.

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Take a thought such as

I’m fat and I can’t lose weight.

This thought leads to actions such as making poor food and exercise choices. Soon enough these poor choices become regular behaviors. The result is an inactive and unhealthy lifestyle.

Let’s take a different thought.

I am fit, healthy and strong

or

I take actions everyday to get stronger, fitter and healthier

These thoughts will lead to actions that will help the person lead a fit and healthy lifestyle.

What are beliefs?

weight loss mindsetYour thoughts tend to be based on your beliefs. Your beliefs are a result of how you interpret everything you have seen, read, heard and experienced in your life to date. They can be either limiting or empowering.

Beliefs can be formed from a single comment, or gradually ingrained over time as a result of hearing them over and over again. For example, if the kids at school always teased you and called you ‘fat’ it can be easy to carry this belief forward with you for years to come.

Or maybe your mom let a comment about your weight slip once or twice, and you replayed that comment over and over in your head, so much so that it became ingrained in your beliefs.

Does this resonate with you? Are your beliefs stopping you from having a positive weight loss mindset?

If you believe that you are not strong enough, skinny enough, (insert word) enough then you will be sabotaging yourself before you even get started.

That’s why we’re going to take a look at how you may have created your own beliefs about your body, your weight, or your ability to lose weight. Being aware of where they’ve come from is the first step towards changing them. A positive weight loss mindset starts by addressing your beliefs. Empowering beliefs and weight loss success go hand in hand.

I also want you to listen to a couple of other experts in the field of weight loss, mind-set and behavior change (scroll down if you want to go straight to their videos).

First, let’s start with a story.

A tale of 3 boyfriends

This is a true story and it’s my own story. I’m not naming any names and I would like to say in advance that I’m friends with or on amicable terms with my ex boyfriends. I’ve had a few ex boyfriends, so hopefully they won’t be too easily identified. Note that they are in no particular order, just in case there are people of the past reading this.

Ex boyfriends, thank you for helping me to create a story that will help other women realize where their beliefs may have come from. May they grow strong and confident and love their bodies.

By the way, if you prefer, you can watch a pretty similar video version of the boyfriend tale. See my recent FB live video, or scroll down further for the text version.

Let us begin.

To pre-clarify, I don’t think I’m fat and I’ve never really had major confidence issues with my body. Sure there are bits and bobs that I’ve wanted to change and still wouldn’t mind changing. However I’ve never obsessed about it or turned to unhealthy behaviors to slim down.

Even though I’m not overweight I COULD have decided that I was fat and that I needed to go on diets, or change my body in some way. An example of the reasons why can be seen by the quotes of my boyfriends past:

Meet boyfriend 1

Boyfriend 1 (when referring to the fat handle that he use to grab on the top inside of my thigh – and not in a nice way!):

That’s the flooby bit

This was his ‘playful’ word for the flabby bit on the inside of my thighs that he liked to grab and draw attention to. I could have chosen to develop insecurities about my thighs from his comments and actions.

I chose not to.

When he cheated on me I could have told myself that I the flooby bit had something to do with it. I could have decided that I wasn’t good enough for some other reason.

I chose not to. Instead I decided to understand that it was probably more about his problems than mine.

What did boyfriend 2 say?

weight loss mindsetBoyfriend 2. Used to say things such as:

You’ve got a good physique naturally so I don’t understand why you don’t try harder. You could have the best body if you put in more effort. It’s so frustrating for me to see that.

 

I could have chosen to follow an excessive exercise and food regime to live up to his standard of what he deemed as the perfect body.

I chose not to.

Sadly, this boyfriend had many obsessions about his own body, so comments like these were his way of expressing his own frustrations.

Hopefully you are starting to see how beliefs are the basis for our thoughts and how they can create unhealthy actions and behaviors. This can be part of the reason why some skinny girls believe that they are fat. I have seen it in a ballet dancer who turned to anorexia because her dance teacher used to tell her she didn’t have the legs for it. Similarly, a client who was repeatedly told so by her mother believed that she was the ‘fat sister’.

Boyfriend 3 (when referring to the small size of my breasts the first time I showed them to him):

They’re about the same size as mine!

I must admit, this one affected me a little more than the others. It became easy for me to think my breasts were too small and that I wish I had bigger ones. That was a single comment that stuck with me and created a belief that my boobs were a bit too small.

I didn’t keep that belief for too long

Soon enough I realised that my thoughts weren’t serving me, so I chose to believe something else. Instead I told myself things such as:

My boobs are the perfect size for me

and

I like that my boobs are smallish because it makes running and sporting activities much easier

This last boyfriend comment wouldn’t have led me towards diets and deprivation, but it could have led to other obsessive thoughts about my body.

Are your weight loss beliefs holding you back?

What are your beliefs about your body and your weight? Start writing them down. You need to identify what they are, and then start working out where they might have come from. Unfortunately many of them were probably formed in your younger years so they may have been ingrained in your psyche for a long while.

The good news is that once you identify them, you have the power to change them – more on this soon. Don’t let your beliefs hold you back from creating a positive weight loss mindset.

Let’s listen to the first of our experts. Karen Degen from Set Free with EFT highlights some important take home points for developing a weight loss mindset. You can scroll down to read about them if you prefer.

Karen’s tips for a successful weight loss mindset

One of Karen’s tips for creating a weight loss mindset is around the use of the word ‘diet’. As she explained, the word ‘diet’ has feelings of restriction and ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts’. When we feel restricted we want to rebel. Karen suggests that all thoughts around ‘can’t have’ and ‘not allowed’ should be banned. Instead reframe with empowering language such as

I can have that food; I’m just choosing not to right now

As Karen points out, the words ‘right now’ are quite powerful. They mean that I can still have that food again another time. Another example is:

I can choose to sit on the couch but I’m just not doing that right now

By simply reframing your thoughts you can start developing a weight loss mindset that will set you up for success.

Who do you want to become?

weight loss mindsetKaren had another great weight loss mindset tip in the video. She said that when you are tempted not to eat well or exercise well, think of the person that will make you become. This can be a useful technique to help you eat well and exercise well to create the outcome you want.

To finish, Karen explained that we set ourselves up for failure by the way we think about ourselves. Think kind thoughts about yourself. You are not stupid and you are not useless. Think empowering thoughts about yourself. Say “I am good enough” and “I can do it”. Accept yourself as you are, faults and all. This makes it more easy to develop a weight loss mindset and create the change you want.

Let’s now listen to our second expert Pascale the Rainmaker talking about her take on developing a successful weight loss mindset.

Pascale starts by explaining the reason she started doing what she does. She said there seemed to be a common audio tape that played for her clients. It sounded something like this:

I’m not strong enough

I’m not skinny enough

I’ve grown up this way

I’m too fat

I eat this way because of my family upbringing

I’m genetically predisposed to…

I’m big boned

Many clients believe they will never be fit and healthy. They say things like

I won’t be that because…

Pascale has similar suggestions to Karen. She explains that it’s so important to reframe those pathways. The thought is the seed, which will grow into the fruit. A positive seed will grow into a positive fruit.

Pascale’s suggestions for creating a weight loss mindset

  • Use positive weight loss affirmations such as “I love myself” and “my legs are fit and strong”
  • Track your progress in a journal to remind yourself of what you HAVE achieved
  • Write down successes and gratitudes
  • Identify language that holds you back and work on reframing it. Examples of language that will hold you back includes:

‘should’ go to the gym

‘need’ to go to the gym

‘I tried’ to go to the gym

The word ‘need’ creates a guilt trip. The word ‘tried’ softens the blow of not going to the gym.

As did Karen, Pascale suggests using the word ‘choose’ as a power word. e.g. “I’m choosing to do…” or “I;m choosing not to do…”

Summary points for creating a weight loss mindset

weight loss mindsetStart by understanding how to change beliefs that are holding you back. Remember that your beliefs have likely been ingrained into your psyche from a very young age. Therefore it will take some conscious and consistent efforts to change them. Here are a few ways you can start developing a positive weight loss mindset:

  • What are you saying to yourself that is unkind? Start being kind to yourself. Say things like “I am worthy” and “I am taking steps to lead the fittest, healthiest lifestyle I can”. “I can do this”
  • Instead of using words like ‘try’, ‘should’ and ‘need’, take a more powerful stance. Say “I’m choosing to” and “I’m choosing not to”. Remember Karen’s tip about saying “I can have that/do that. I’m just choosing not to RIGHT NOW”. This means you can have it again another time
  • Remove negative deprivation type words such as “can’t have” and “diet”. Positive thinking and weight loss go hand in hand. Remember that your thoughts turn into your words and actions. Use the words ‘choosing to’ and ‘choosing not to’
  • Positive thinking weight loss affirmations and journal writing are both great ways to develop a more positive weight loss mindset. You might want to listen to affirmations or meditations in a podcast format if that is easier for you
  • If you’re serious about figuring out how to change your beliefs, read empowering and inspiring personal development books and audios
  • Consider getting help from a professional such as a health and wellness coach like me or an EFT practitioner like Karen.

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For more advice about achieving successful long term weight loss, check out my weight loss blog category.

How do you use positive thinking for weight loss? How have you worked on creating a positive weight loss mindset? What parts are you struggling with? I’d love to hear about it, so please leave a comment in the box below.


Also published on Medium.

4 Comments

  • Elise Cohen Ho

    Elly, this is such a strong and powerful post. I am definitely going to share it with several of my clients. Thank you.

    • Elly McGuinness

      Thank you Elise and I hope it will be valuable for them. I’m going to add another video into it soon, from the facebook live I did on the weekend – just an audio version of the boyfriend tale!

  • Tanya Qaderi

    What happens when a person diagnosed an anxiety due to weight gain?

    • Elly McGuinness

      Hi Tanya. Every person’s situation is unique. I would recommend working 1:1 with one or more professionals. For example, as a health and fitness coach I specialize in healthy, sustainable weight loss. I can provide a personalized plan to gradually reach weight loss goals, if that is something the person wants to achieve. Within that plan the person should start to feel more positive too. If the anxiety is a more pressing issue then I’d recommend working with a psychologist or an EFT practitioner to help break down anxiety patterns. More than one professional can be worked with at the same time. Please let me know if there is anything I can help with.

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