(Read Part 3 Here)
Unfortunately, no matter how much you have prepared yourself for the journey ahead, negative thoughts are still going to creep in and can knock down the defensive walls you have managed to build in readiness for such attacks.
The following are some tips to use while you are in the moment and are faced with either having that chocolate bar or not!
Weapon #15: Your All-Knowing, All-Seeing Journal
The most important weapon of all is your journal which should be packed with lots of thoughts, memories, exercises and encouraging words.
But you must use it; keep adding to it and filling it with everything that will help you along the way – and when the going gets tough, immerse yourself in its pages of pure positivity.
Distract your mind,
plant new programs,
and remember the reasons why you started
your weight loss journey in the first place.
Weapon #16: Be Ignorant
When negativity strikes you have an option. You can either listen to it, dwell on it and finally act on it, or you can simply ignore it. Ignore the voice.
You know the voice in your head that says ‘go on have the muffin…it doesn’t matter…just think of the taste, it will be lovely…and think of what you’ll feel like when you’re eating it…that enjoyment…that break from the world…’
Everything the voice says is true.
Except for one little thing.
It Does Matter.
If you haven’t allowed it, if it takes the control away from you and leads to negative consequences, then it does matter.
Logically – you know it matters, and any other time – you know it matters.
But in the moment, your judgement gets fuzzy, you’re arguing against it but every time you argue, the voice gets louder until you start to agree…and then it’s too late.
But what if you just ignored it. Ignored that voice in your head. Don’t argue with it. Don’t try and stop it from saying what it wants to say.
Just ignore it and do not give it any attention.
According to Kathryn Hansen who wrote Brain Over Binge, it is possible to retrain your brain to ignore the part of it that leads you to negative thoughts until you barely hear it anymore.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to finally quieten the voice and take back that control?
Weapon #17: Media Maker
Turn to distractions of the media kind!
Favourite movies, soundtracks, video clips and music are fantastic for turning negativity away and losing yourself in a different world.
And what a great stress reliever too.
In movies we can get wrapped up in somebody else’s life, mentally experiencing what they are feeling and massaging our brains with feel-good endorphins that the story-telling is creating for us.
But it doesn’t have to be a full blockbuster – a simple YouTube clip can give you the boost you need when you’re having a tough time.
I always like this one from the Rocky movie:
Create a section in your journal for a collection of films, YouTube videos, music songs and anything else that inspires you, brings some happiness and that feel good feeling.
Keep the list growing, include the links to them so whenever you need a ‘positive hit’, head over to your journal and click the link!
Weapon #18: Tap It Out!
If you have been learning EFT as highlighted in the previous section then you will already know how to tap out negative thoughts when they arise.
This method is highly effective, can be used anywhere and with no special equipment needed.
The techniques allow for ‘on the spot’ relief when you need it.
Weapon #19: Treat or Not to Treat
One of the reasons we go overboard when we have a treat, is because we have been thinking about allowing ourselves that treat so much, that it gets overwhelming, and we feel we need to binge on all that we have been missing out on.
Unfortunately, this makes it so much harder to return to better eating afterwards.
Instead of ‘treating’ ourselves to food, let’s do something different, for example:
Friday night binges…why does the end of the week – a time to enjoy a break from the 9-5 grind – be a reason for us to eat?
Shouldn’t it be a time to do things we wouldn’t normally do on a week night?
- Get dressed up and hit the town…
- visit a friend we haven’t seen in ages…
- see a show…
- go late night shopping and indulge…
- join that club/class we’ve always wanted to…
- or just have a long, hot bath with a gripping book…
- or maybe spend quality time with friends or family at a lovely restaurant – but regard the treat as the activity and not the meal.
Stop using food as a reward – you are just sending yourself the wrong message, and your subconscious mind the wrong program.
Weapon #20: Loosen The Reins
If you think you need a break from your diet, perhaps it’s time to make a change.
Maybe re-evaluate your expectations by relaxing the reins a little and releasing some of the pressure.
How about aiming to lose 1lb (0.45kg) a month instead?
A voice I hear screaming at me: ‘I’m sorry what…?!’
Seriously, what is the worst thing about losing one pound a month?
The same voice: ‘…because it will take FOREVER!’
Okay, so where are you now?
If you have been dieting for a long time, think back to when you first started – are you finally at the weight you want to be?
If not, then why not?
- Is it because you couldn’t sustain the strictness of a diet for the length of time needed to lose all of it, so you gave up and piled more weight on?
- Did you lose all of the weight but had no ‘forever’ plan in place that you could live by, so the weight started to creep back on again?
- Or do you just keep falling off the wagon, yo-yo’ing but slowly adding more pounds to the scales?
Now think of it this way…if you had only lost one pound or 0.45kg per month, from the date you first ever started dieting, how much would you have lost up to now?
If it was me, I would have lost my body weight multiple times over!
Makes you think though, doesn’t it? And losing 1lb, or even 2lb a month is much easier than trying to lose 2-3lb a week and feeling restricted and so miserable that you end up giving up.
I will tell you a story from a slimming group I attended many years ago about a member who, on average, lost half a pound a week (0.23kg). It was an ongoing, lighthearted joke within the group. But she kept going, and although she was disheartened at times, she knew that enjoying life mattered more. Eventually she got to ‘goal’ and was obviously delighted but had some words of wisdom to share. She said at times she felt envious of others who had lost weight so quickly but soon realised they were miserable; they started to give up and when the weight returned they either ended up back where they started or left the group to try something else.
She said if they had only slowed down, aimed to lose ‘little and often’ while still enjoying life, they might have been sharing their success too.
I was one of those she was talking about and I left shortly after to try something else…
Instead of being in a constant cycle of starving and bingeing – and actually being on a diet forever – enjoy life, accept the time it will take and reach your goal in a way that is much easier to maintain long-term.
Weapon #21: Cancel The Argument
We tend to spend more time arguing with ourselves about whether or not to eat than we do actually eating!
Wouldn’t it be nice to end an argument before it even starts?
You have been on holiday for a wonderful week of eating what you love and not caring about fat, carbs or calories! You have ‘pigged out’ but thoroughly enjoyed every bite.
Now it’s Monday.
The holiday is over and the thought of a measly bowl of dry cereal is all you have to look forward to which sends your ‘feeling good’ endorphins crashing to the floor.
You know there is still a packet of chocolate cookies in the cupboard…
- Just one cookie wouldn’t hurt.
- You only need one more time of enjoyment. One more hit.
- But then the packet will be opened and you know one isn’t going to be enough.
- Maybe they can be ‘brunch’ and you can have salad for the rest of the day.
- Or you can do that intense aerobic workout – purchased on DVD months ago and only been viewed once (to check how painful it was and wished you had the instructor’s body…)
- Or maybe one more day of enjoying food won’t matter too much, and you promise to eat in moderation.
And the argument goes on.
But let’s be real here. You won’t starve yourself for the rest of the day, you won’t even look for the workout DVD (that wasn’t ever seen again after you realised your body will never end up like the instructor’s) and eating in moderation – no chance…it’s the last day so you will eat everything you won’t be allowed to eat tomorrow!
It goes on. The next day there will be a different temptation but your fight won’t be as strong and the argument will be shorter. Then it’s Wednesday and the week will already be ruined…! You promise yourself that next Monday will be different and you will be 100% ‘on it’.
The battle is over. The battle has been won…just not by you.
And that ‘Monday’ never actually comes around again…for a long time.
Cancelling The Argument
You know there is still a packet of chocolate cookies in the cupboard…
First of all let’s not deny ourselves anything. We first reassure ourselves (important) that we can still have the cookies – if we do a few things beforehand.
- Open your journal. Read EVERYTHING.
- Remember all the reasons why you want to lose weight: health, self-confidence, to look great for the opposite sex, to wear exactly what you want.
- Imagine yourself when you are at your ideal weight, close your eyes and take in everything: the place where you are, the scenery around you, the people you are with and exactly how wonderful you look.
- Imagine how you will feel when you look this way.
- Read your response cards.
- Tap it out.
- Watch the following video from Mel Robbins:
How do you feel about the cookies now? Is the need to have them subsided any? And is that argument worth having anymore?
Hopefully, your answers will reflect that the intensity you once had for the argument has now lessened and those cookies just don’t have the same appeal.
You can now carry on with the rest of your day, knowing you have finally won the argument.
That feeling you’re now feeling is just the best. Own it. There’s plenty more where that came from.
Weapon #22: Be Excited: Motivation to Lose Weight
And lastly…allow yourself to be excited.
You don’t have to rely anymore on temperamental willpower that may or may not show up when you need it and very rarely sticks around.
You now have actions that you can take to help you be in control. Use them, perfect them and make them a part of your everyday life – instead of just hoping that ‘this time’ will be different.
Be excited for the journey because the achievements you will experience along the way will outshine the battle.
You can do this.
The slimmer person that you have always wanted to be is now not only possible but is well within your sights.
AND YOU ARE TOTALLY ALLOWED TO BELIEVE THAT.
A lot has been covered in these articles and I hope they have been of some benefit to you, even if it has just made you aware of techniques that you hadn’t heard of before.
Experiment by using a combination of these methods and get to know what suits you, and practice them until they are second nature.
And if you get it wrong today don’t wait for a new day…
The journey to tomorrow is filled with
EVERY MINUTE is a brand new chance to get it right.
One more point I will make and the most important one – do something. It is no good skimming this article, thinking maybe one or two points could be a good idea and then leave. If you do nothing else sign up to asana.com, create your first task in a new project and ‘right-click’ and copy the following link into it:
Then at least you have a start and an action.
Not one thing will win the battle but a truck load of ammunition will certainly do some great damage.
We need to keep fighting the negative thoughts that take up so much of our time and attention, and start living the one and only life we have been given…
…With Positive Thinking And A
Strong Focus On What We Truly Want.
Want to know what all this has been about? Head back to Part 1.
I would just like to declare that I am not a health professional and I don’t have all the answers…in fact these articles could be all gibberish and just mutterings from a desperate dieter! I am a firm believer though in the power of positive thinking, especially when we have to make changes we don’t really want to make. These articles are based on research I have done, as well as my own experiences; if they can be of any use to you on your journey, then they have been worth writing, and if not, well at least I finally got them off my chest…