In this blog post series, I have been addressing the “inner game” of a successful weight loss strategy. Last time I shared with you a few tweaks that you can make to shift your mindset to achieve lasting results.
True change, the kind that you won’t resent and the kind that will last, starts from within. When I note the word “should” cropping up in someone’s weight loss talk, my radar for that fifty pound boulder starts blinking. “I know I should exercise,” “I should be eating more green vegetables,” “I should stop drinking mocha lattes.” “Shoulds” are words of instruction or rules that come from the outside. “Should” is what someone told us to do. A should rarely reflects our own true wisdom, or a belief that we have truly integrated and taken on board. When we really believe that what we are talking about is in our best interest, and will make us happier (by getting us closer to where we want to go), “shoulds” become “wants.” With the exception of the most hardcore disciplined among us, the people who exercise regularly are the ones who have found some joy or purpose that causes them to want to get regular physical activity even if it is simply knowing they will feel better when it’s done.
USE CURIOSITY TO DEVELOP A PLAN THAT HAS MORE “WANTS”
If your current weight loss plan is filled with “shoulds,” use curiosity to examine the places where your plan isn’t working well. Ask yourself how you might tweak it to include more “wants.” It’s often not as hard as you might think. Physical activity planning is a place where this often crops up. “I should be exercising.” When I hear this, I always ask my clients what they want to do with their bodies? When do they enjoy being inside their bodies? What kind of physical activity do they enjoy? Is there a way that those activities could be their “exercise?” You wouldn’t believe how many people pick an activity they hate for exercise, because they think they “should” and then get mad at themselves because they don’t do it. The same strategy is useful with food choices.
Make sure that you are taking your tastes, your schedule, and your style of eating into consideration when you plan your meals. Make sure you are developing a plan that you will want to follow in the future and that works for you. If you find you really must insist on a “should” and there are times when we all need to, then strive to pick the most palatable version of the “should” that you can. Pick the foods, or the activities, or the lifestyle changes that you dislike the least.
To be successful with weight loss, the weight of self-blame and judgment needs to come off first. You don’t need to diet them away, but you do need to learn to set them down. You’ll be amazed how much easier it is to attack the rest of the weight when you aren’t dragging all that unhelpful baggage around.
Take good care,