The Single Most Important Factor For Weight Loss
You want a healthy and happy life, yet you sabotage yourself at every turn.
You have hopeful weight loss intentions, but you fizzle out after a week or two.
You tell yourself you want to change your habits, but you never actually take any action.
You desperately want to lose weight, but nothing sticks.
And after each failed attempt, you drown yourself in guilt and shame and self-loathing.
But guess what? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you (it’s true); you’re just trying to lose weight the wrong way. And the wrong way leaves you feeling helpless, out of control, and demoralized.
So what’s the right way? What’s the critical piece that’s missing in most weight loss programs?
You need to get your foot off the brake. Say what!? Stick with me here, this is really important.
You see, we all have a subconscious program: A set of memorized behaviors, emotional reactions, beliefs, and attitudes that run behind the scenes. This program determines how we automatically live on a moment-to-moment basis.
And when you have shadow beliefs and attitudes that don’t support your weight and health desires, your mind and body are working in opposition. It’s like putting your foot on the gas pedal and the break pedal at the same time.
Check out what Oprah has to say about shadow beliefs (I adore Oprah, and I’ve worked with her Best Life team for years!) …
Pretty powerful, right? Here are some examples:
Desire: I want to be thin.
Shadow Belief: My body is broken – weight loss is impossible for me because I have bad genes.
Shadow Belief: I’m not strong enough to lose the weight or make a big change.
So if you want to lose weight with ease and flow (oh, and cookies, definitely cookies – no deprivation required!), your goal is to get your foot off of the brake. Or as Oprah says, “You need to get your actions into alignment with your beliefs.” Once you do, you’ll stop sabotaging yourself.
The very first step is awareness. Start here…
1) Pay Attention to Your Thoughts
Metacognition, in fancy neuroscience speak, is to become aware of one’s cognitive process. Becoming familiar with your subconscious thoughts is the beginning of personal transformation. Doing so allows you to think about what you are thinking about (HA), and when you do that, you can modify your thoughts and behaviors.
So begin asking yourself questions like…
What do I say about weight loss all the time?
What do I think about weight loss all the time?
Is that thought harmful or helpful?
Would I say that to my best friend?
Just because you say something or think something, that doesn’t make it true. And when you pay attention to your thoughts, you can start eliminating the ones that don’t support you. This is vital because your thoughts drive your action. They are your power point.
For just one day, keep a running list of all the thoughts that pop into your head about your weight. Plus all the things that you say out loud about your weight. And at the end of the day take a look at the list.
Do those thoughts support you? (Most likely they do not.) Would you say those things to someone you love? (Most likely you would not.) Can you choose to think something else instead? Something supportive and kind and true? (YES. The answer is always YES.)
“Losing weight is so hard. I’m so sick of this struggle. I will always be fat!”
“OK, I have struggled with my weight for a long time. And I really want to be free from this pain. I’m going to give this my all. I’m willing to change.”
2) Examine Your Beliefs
You’ve learned everything you know through your experiences and from the (often well-meaning) people in your life. People like your parents, relatives, colleagues, teachers and friends, as well as media and society.
Some of your beliefs are useful and supportive, and that’s fantastic. But others keep you from reaching your goals; they’re your shadow or limiting beliefs.
A simple and powerful exercise to start exploring your beliefs is to write at the top of a blank sheet of paper …
What I believe about weight loss is:
I can’t lose weight because:
Then just write down everything that comes into your mind, without judgment. After the initial brain dump, take a few days more to just ponder these ideas, and then jot down anything else that comes to mind. Then sit down and study and absorb what you put on this list.
You might be surprised to discover what you believe. Then you can say to yourself, “Do I want to continue to believe this? Or what would I like to change about this? What would I like to believe instead?”
A belief that is not serving you can always be changed. Always.
Sure, you can build healthy habits while you explore your beliefs (this is a process, and it’ll take time to peel back the layers), but please do start this journey. Start waking up to the things that are keeping you stuck. Start understanding your blocks. And start looking at your shadows.
Get your foot off the brake and start driving toward your healthy destination. You’ll be so thankful if you do. Self awareness is a gift, truly.
In the comments I would love to hear from you. Are you ready to to take your foot off the brake? I’m here to support you!