How to transform your mindset to reach your weight loss goal

Ever feel overwhelmed with responsibilities? Maybe you’re juggling caregiving duties, a demanding career, and perhaps even navigating the challenges of building a business. It seems like any number of things take priority while your weight loss goal takes a back seat. Or, it doesn’t get a seat at all!

Achieving long-term success in life requires prioritizing healthy habits. It’s non-negotiable. But that can be challenging to address when dealing with life’s demands. 

I remember an interview from several years ago with Olympic Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton. His words really stuck with me. He emphasized the need to embrace change as a new way of life, where one identifies herself as “this is who I am now.”

Let that sink in for a minute.

That new identity requires a wholesale mindset shift, doesn’t it? Just like many of my clients who have reversed the belief that to be healthy is hard, altering our perspective is the crucial initial step toward embodying a genuinely healthy lifestyle—one that fosters energy and resilience for your best possible life.

Consider your day-to-day internal dialogue. Is it positive or negative, filled with possibilities or excuses? Does it instill hope and confidence? Or breed feelings of defeat and shame? How you see yourself shapes this conversation, influencing your behavior and, consequently, your current reality.

weight loss goal
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

The stories we tell ourselves are often deeply ingrained, crafted over years or even decades. It’s not uncommon to be surrounded by others echoing similar stories—the “this is just the way it is” or “I can’t do anything about it” narratives. Envision the possibility of flipping the script and creating a fresh, new story.

While healthy habits themselves are important, your mindset is what determines whether or not you follow through consistently. It either propels you forward or hinders your progress. The key is to take charge of your mindset. Make it a partner as you navigate the challenge of incorporating health and your weight loss goal into your busy schedule. 

Want to take the first small step? Start by recognizing the power of your self-perception and internal dialogue. Notice them. Then, challenge the ingrained excuses, and dare to envision a new story that empowers and motivates you. 

By reshaping your mindset, you pave the way for a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle—one that aligns with your goals and allows you to feel in control no matter what life throws at you. (Watch out for my next post that helps you do this 👏.)

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It was one of those workouts. I wanted to stop but had noticed lately that more and more of my workouts ended at 20-minutes. I needed to push through, not make excuses.
It was one of those workouts. I wanted to stop, but lately my workouts had become shorter. I needed to push through, and stop making excuses.
Do you ever get out of your healthy routine, justifying it with the better-than-nothing argument?

I’m all about squeezing in what you can in the time you have. That’s different. If I was honest, I’d been slacking.

What’s the difference between letting yourself off the hook when you need it and making excuses when you don’t feel like doing something? It’s blurry sometimes, right?

Three possible answers come to mind:
Self-compassion: maybe you realize you’ve been pushing too hard or your body is simply saying “enough” right now. Or maybe it’s one of those days where you don’t make the healthiest of choices and you forgive yourself and move on. You’re human, it’s okay. Tomorrow is a new day.
Honesty: you admit that you’ve taken your eyes of the prize and you’re no longer focused on the bigger picture. It’s possible that your motivation was external and you need to build an internal bias towards healthy habits. Or, you realize you don’t want it as much as you thought you did.
You’re in a rut: I mean, how many walks around the same neighborhood can you take, right? Your routine is stale, your food choices have become dull. You still really want to achieve your goals but you’re bored out of your mind.

Given our culture of pushing to succeed without regard to personal needs, being kind to ourselves feels like we’ve gone soft. But there’s a great deal of study on the benefits of self-compassion. One way to think about it is to ask yourself, “how would I treat my best friend in this circumstance?” Go and do likewise for yourself.

Honesty is a tricky one. It’s easy to blame external circumstance (one’s schedule, family dynamics, the weather…). For me, my strategy of fitting in what I could turned into shorter workouts as a habit rather than a necessity. Once I recognized it, I was back to it. That was easy. But if circumstances have changed, internal or external, that’s a deeper dive. Get support.

The easiest one of these to accept, and correct, is the rut. Get creative with your exercise and food choices. Track your results and compete with yourself. Using something like the Polar M430 gives you tons of data and even comes in orange! (Okay, I may be the only one excited by that.) Or maybe you just need a week of active rest, completely out of your norm but still moving a lot.

So when you find yourself slacking, ask yourself a few questions. Once you identify what’s really going on you can determine how to move forward.

It feels good to have answers (and a plan!), rather than make excuses.

I don’t want to change what I eat!

A friend shared with me that she’s experiencing some health issues and as we were discussing options she said, “I’m afraid I’ll have to change the way I eat and I don’t want to do that.” Now, I know she’s not truly afraid (she’s a rock star in my book) but she expresses something I hear a lot.
Food is a touchy subject, with rules (and some hype) that evolve over time, leaving smart people feeling like healthy eating is too complicated and, for certain, boring. And the rules don’t leave room for individuality. There are some basics tenets of balanced eating that benefit us all. But then we each have a unique physiology that in some cases requires a personalized approach.

A friend shared that she’s experiencing some health issues and confessed, “I’m afraid I’ll have to change the way I eat and I don’t want to do that.”
Photo by Guillaume Bolduc on Unsplash

A common problem I see is that people don’t apply the basic tenets consistently enough to see and feel the benefits. This is where I coach clients to take small steps, consistently over time, that lead to some pretty startling results. For example, last summer a client’s doctor told him he needed to take statins for his cholesterol. My client said he wanted to change his numbers with lifestyle…nine months, and 30lb later, his doctor told him his blood work looks exactly as he would have expected it to with medication! My client says he feels better than he has in 15 years.
But it can also be that someone has applied the basic tenets consistently over time, but still doesn’t feel good. I recommend a professional approach at that point. You may need testing to see what your particular physiology, biology, structure, etc. needs to be well.
Another problem is anticipating the change to be harder (scarier?) than it is. I told my friend that any change I’ve ever made to improve my health, including my way of eating, never turned out to be as difficult as I imagined, and ultimately became an easy habit. The key is in the mindset.
Legendary coach, Lou Holtz said “Winners embrace hard work. They love the discipline of it, the trade-off they’re making to win. Losers, on the other hand, see it as punishment. And that’s the difference.” Notice what he says about those who fail… they see the work needed to succeed as punishment.
Maybe you’ve been consistent and you need to work with a professional, like a naturopathic doctor who can do a thorough assessment and is educated in nutrition and lifestyle factors. Once you have information, you can make that trade-off decision. I’m with Lou though…learn to love the lifestyle and you’ll never feel deprived of a thing.
If you’re more like my client, needing structure, accountability, and options for reaching your health and weight loss goals, let’s talk!
What’s the next small step you can take that will make the biggest impact on your health and well-being? Do it now.

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