Head games: The mental aspect of weight-loss

On August 1, 2016 I started another cut/diet down to 125. I was supposed to start that in June, and then July, and now on August 10, 2016 I am finally really starting.

Being in the right place mentally is an incredibly huge part of the journey. Mind over body, right? Your head space sets the tone for will-power, discipline, and motivation on your journey. Unfortunately, this space is difficult to unravel and understand. I am assuming that I am not the only person to have struggled with the mental aspect of weight loss, nor is the struggle finished.  I feel like I need to talk, err write, out my thoughts to help me get going on this final cut. If this helps you too, awesome! If you have been where I am, share your story! If you just want to take this time to read and reflect on your own journey, that is amazing too.

I have been struggling to get into a state-of-mind all summer that will allow me to reach my goals. 

Why have I been avoiding, or even sabotaging, my efforts? I know what needs to be done, yet I consistently don’t do it. I was successful in losing over 50 pounds by working my ass off in the gym 5 days a week, weighing all of my food, and tracking 1,100 calories. I know it will work again, but I just haven’t found it in me to start. Instead, I casually lift and take too many off-days. I eat 1,400- 1,500 calories made of way too many carbohydrates. I just haven’t had the same level of discipline.

All of this isn’t to say that I have just thrown all my progress away. I am maintained 131-133 pounds all summer and LOVE it. I know that I will never go back. I will never ever allow myself to go over 135 lbs even. I have changed my life and embraced this lifestyle. I love fitness. I love tracking. I love going to bed at the end of the day knowing that I made decisions that maintain a lean and healthy body. So why don’t I take it to the next step?

I think my motivation problem is two-fold. Firstly, I have made progress and I know I look good, relatively speaking. Secondly, there is always someone who will look better. Let’s break these down a little further.

I am really happy right now with my body.

At the end of the day, I do enjoy how I fit into clothes, how I feel, how far I can run, how heavy I can lift, how I am right now. I like it a lot. Why go through all the work to change when I am happy? I receive feedback from friends, family, you reading (thank you so much for those who are reading and then reach out… all of you are the reason why Preston and I spend our free time working on this). They are so kind and genuinely applaud my efforts. I appreciate and believe it when someone tells me that I look great and congratulations. The support is crucial in the process; however, now I feel that I use this feedback as an excuse to stop working. It is a tough place, wanting to improve yet being content. At the end of the day nothing changes unless you do.

Someone will always look better

This is a cop-out and I know it. Just because I know it is illogical and irrelevant, doesn’t stop this from becoming a mental roadblock. I have been following fitness Instagram accounts and every day am blown-away by the bodies that I see. There is simply no way I could ever be that lean… could I? Do I even want to? Should I even try? I think that I am too “cute” to pull off the fitness vixen look. I am too short to compete with tall, beautiful fitness models. I am far too stocky to ever be in the same vain with these Instagram celebrities. So why try? What if I just fail anyway?

Never let these negative thoughts and excuses into your head space.

Negative thoughts only contribute to poor body image and will paralyze you from reaching your goals. As I read over the thoughts I typed out, I realize how ludicrous they are. Of course I am not a vixen, I am a 5′ 4″ adorkable nerd. But this time I see it as a positive thing. This time I own my identity and love it rather than seeing my body as a fault. I don’t look like them, but this short, cute girl has the most amazing man and an incredible life.

Yeah, I am happy right now. But guess what, I will be even happier when I accomplish a goal I have always had for myself. I don’t have to stay at 125, I can go back up to 127-130 if I feel like it is too much work to live that lean. I do need to try first though.

Yeah, someone will always look better. But fitness [and life], isn’t about being better than other people. True body positivity and body acceptance is about doing the best you can do for your own body. I want to have the best version of me as possible. I don’t want to look like anyone else, I just want to look like me— but a little leaner.

I am finally ready to meet this goal. Yes, it will be tough and inconvenient. Yes, I will need to give up my daily 400 calories of oatmeal for a while. Yes, I will have to say no to a few parties and drinks. Yes, I will have to go a little hungry and sweat a little more at the gym. But instead of dread I now feel excited. It is a challenge and I am ready to take it on.

When you feel like you are in a bad head space to meet your goals, try these steps to get in the right direction. 

  • Write down your goal. What is it that you really want to do? Be specific.
  • Write down what is stopping you from reaching that. Just make a list of every doubt as it enters your brain.
    • Take your doubt list and break down why this is a doubt. Why does this roadblock stand in your way?
    • Did something happen today that put you in this mood or place?
  • Make a new list with all the reasons why your doubts and roadblocks won’t stop you. Let yourself see how small, silly, or unimportant that roadblock really is. Visualize overcoming it.
  • Write down how you will feel once you accomplish your goal. Also, write down how you will feel once you get over the challenges that you identified.

You may need to do this process multiple times on your journey. Whenever you feel like you can’t do it, refer to your list of feelings. Imagine your triumph, pride, joy, and happiness when you achieve your goal. Let these positive feelings overcome any negativity that has crept into your life.

You can do this. I believe in you.

I can do this. I believe in myself.

We can do this together. Let’s believe in each other.

Xoxo,

Hayley

 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. thedirtydiet says:

    Some decent advice here. For me you always need to stay positive. Celebrate each and every success and never give yourself a hard time about slipping; accept it and move on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! And I 100% agree that when you slip (we are human and won’t meet every goal or get to the gym EVERY day) you just have to accept it, learn from it, and pick yourself up. I think that applies to more than just health but any challenge in life. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

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