Sometimes the biggest obstacle in the way of achieving your weight-loss is in your head. Here’s how to tackle the ways your mind might set you up for failure and how to get you back on track.
1. You say: "I hate my body."
Solution: Stop negative self-talk.
Thinking that your body is fat, that you aren’t fit enough or that you’ll never be able to fit into a certain size isn’t just negative – it’s discouraging. Thinking and talking to yourself in a negative way doesn’t help you create strategies to achieving your goals. But how do you recognize negative self-talk? According to the mental health website psychcentral.com, you should ask yourself if your thoughts are realistic and factual, how you could spin them more positively and if the situation is as bad or as severe as you think it is. Talking to a supportive friend can help you see the light.
2. You say: "I need to lose a ton of weight fast."
Solution: Set a realistic goal.
They say, “Always aim for the moon, even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.” But that’s not always the case with fitness and weight loss. Achievable goals (say five pounds, or working out three days a week) work better than lofty ones (such as 50 pounds or training for a marathon in four weeks). Why? We are all results-oriented. And if a goal is too big or takes to long to reach, it can be discouraging. Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D, tells womenshealthmag.com says the beginning of a weight-loss program can have the most drastic drop in pounds (up to five pounds a week), but eventually it slows down to about a half pound to two pounds per week. That’s normal and healthy. Be patient and give yourself a realistic amount of time to lose the weight.
3. You say: "I hate exercise."
Solution: Find ways to enjoy getting fit.
There are a few important motivators to working out, such as physique and health. But the problem is, the goals are vague and sometimes unreachable, Michelle Segar, PhD, a motivation psychologist at the University of Michigan and associate director of the Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center for Women and Girls, tells elle.com. "The problem is that this negative message frames exercise as something we should force our bodies to do, whether we like it or not, to meet an impossible standard. It's fitness as the modern corset. […] Health is too vague and long term. You aren't worrying about having a heart attack at 60 when you make the decision to sleep through your morning run today."
The key is to find physical activity you enjoy, not something you dread or punish yourself with. Remember what you liked doing as a kid? Was it a certain sport, group activity or solitary things like running? Try taking a workout personality quiz, like this one from webmd.com.
4. You say: "I don't know how to start."
Solution: Ask for help.
You don’t need to do this alone. In addition to group fitness classes, running groups and even getting a friend to partner up with you, a fitness trainer can provide the motivation and support you need to stay on track. According to certified trainers interviewed by cnn.com, you shouldn’t just hire anyone – find someone with a personality that will work well with yours. Ask them to describe their patience level, how they communicate during a session, how they define professionalism, what their education and training is, and what their personality is like. Need help finding a trainer? Try ideafit.com, acefitness.org and nsca.com to find a trainer in your area.
5. You say: "I worked out, so I deserve a treat."
Solution: Stop rewarding yourself with food.
The problem with rewarding yourself with food is that the foods that we find worthy aren’t exactly weight-loss friendly, reports boingboing.net. That means processed, junk foods. Stick with a pat on the back, a new nail polish color or a favorite show or movie.
6. You say: "I just don't feel like working out."
Solution: Recognize your triggers.
But why? You need to figure out what makes you feel frumpy and tired. According to a nytimes.com article, it could be your friends. While your workout pal might be motivating and a good influence on you, others might do the opposite. “Friends appeared to “infect” each other with obesity, unhappiness and smoking. Staying healthy isn’t just a matter of your genes and your diet, it seems. Good health is also a product, in part, of your sheer proximity to other healthy people.”
The same is true for social media as well. While vacay pictures from friends or red carpet rants might seem harmless, it can have an effect on our self-esteems. According to Dove research published in Glamour Magazine: Four out of every five negative beauty tweets from women were about themselves; women are 50 percent more likely to say something negative (rather than positive) about themselves on social media; and women wrote more than 5 million negative tweets in 2014. Sometimes you just have to take a social media break. And it’s okay – it’s more than okay. It’s good for you.
7. You say: "I’m just too busy with work and family."
Solution: Make time to deal with your stress through exercise.
Stress is a terrible reason not to exercise. Not only do you miss your workout, but the physical effects of stress can also have an effect on weight. Webmd.com reports that stress hormones, over the long run, can actually increase appetite and thus cause weight gain. You already know the ways to deal with stress, and that’s to exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep. Add exercise to your schedule and you'll find ways to get everything done and stress less about it.
8. You say: "I’m not seeing results."
Solution: Increase the intensity.
Being active will help you maintain your weight, but if you have some to lose, you’ll have to up your intensity levels. Moderate activity does have healthy benefits, such as cardio and toning. But to supercharge a weight loss program it has to be at a higher intensity. How do you know if it’s intense enough? You can do two things, suggests the University of Rochester Medical Center: a talk test and check your heart rate. For the talk test, try having a conversation when you exercise. Light: you can sing. Moderate: talk but not sing. Vigorous: only able to say a few words. Calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. Wear a heart rate monitor during exercise. And if your heart rate is less than 50 percent of your max, it’s considered light. If it's 50 to 70, then that’s moderate intensity, and if it’s 70 to 85 then it’s high intensity.