Slimming with a love mentality
We all have an image of how we think we ought to look. Whether that's based on what we see in the magazines and films or simply a longing for how we used to look when we were younger. When how we look doesn't fit that image we can be very down on ourselves. While that disappointment is understandable, it can be a very real problem if we let it develop into a punishment mentality.
Have you ever had a weekend away where you've done nothing but eat or drink for days on end then you get back to your routine and you deprive yourself of anything sweet, force salads on yourself because you've 'been bad' and then given yourself a more gruelling workout to 'undo the damage'?
Sound like you?
Then please STOP.
When people first speak to me about why they want to lose weight I am usually presented with a list of things people hate about themselves:
- "I can't stand my bingo wings"
- "I've got two chins"
- "I hate my stomach"
- "This spare tyre has got to go"
This initial frustration with yourself is understandable and when used as the catalyst for making that decision to change it can be useful but beyond that, it doesn't serve much purpose.
If you make a healthy decision because you don't like what you see in the mirror, being healthy feels like a punishment. Imagine you go for lunch with friends and they order a burger. You are 'being good' so you order the salad. All of a sudden you develop negative self-talk and you beat yourself up.
- "I'd love the burger but I can't have it because I'm too overweight"
- "I've got myself into this mess so now I have to go through this to put things right-it's my own fault"
- "It's ok for him/her they can eat anything. Not me though, it would go straight to my hips. It's so unfair"
We've all been there at some time or other but if we let it continue we develop a destructive cycle:
- Make a healthy decision
- Beat yourself up with negative self-talk
- Feel rubbish about yourself because of the self-talk
- Fall off the wagon because you feel rubbish about yourself
- Feel frustrated that you're useless at solving the problem
- So you need to punish yourself with a new healthy decision
- Continue cycle until you get so fed up you quit
There's a better way
Adopt a love mentality. It’s great to want to improve our bodies by eating right and being active. When we do it for the right reasons, we are happier and achieve our goals more easily. The effects will also last longer. Here's what happens:
Your self-talk changes.
Instead of telling yourself that you are depriving yourself of the things that you want but can't have you start to realise that each healthy choice is giving your body things that are good for it. "I'm eating this because I have to" becomes "I'm having this because it's doing me good" or "I'm having this because it's right for me".
You feel good.
Each healthy choice you make is another act of self-love and self-care rather than a punishment or self-loathing. Each decision is an act of kindness.
You keep going
Because every decision you make is taking you a step closer to what you want, you keep going. When you are at that lunch and your friend has the burger you see it as something that would take you away from what you want and see your choice as something which is another step closer to your goal. This gives you the motivation to keep going.
When you make choices out of self-love there's no need for guilt. Having a meal out or having a few drinks happens because it's fun, not because you're 'being bad'. If you're not being bad then you don't need to punish yourself with food and exercise
When you use a punishment mentality you'll keep going as long as you can stand it. When you get to the point where you no longer hate your muffin tops or your clothes fit again, you don’t feel the need to 'punish yourself' with making healthy choices. However, there's much more to making healthy choices than your size and shape. Eating well and being active have many other physical and mental health benefits. When you do these things as an act of self-love you'll keep going because you want the benefits as part of your everyday life. This is the key to maintaining your weight once you've reached your goal.
So don't wait until you've got the body you want to have a love mentality. Your body is awesome-it's an amazing thing. Be kind to it. Act out of self-love now and what's on the outside will follow.
What are your thoughts? What self-talk do you use? How is it working for you?
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