I have tried all kinds of exercise and fitness programs; running, walking, spin class, aerobics, body sculpting, yoga, Pilates, Insanity, 21 Day Fix, numerous Jillian Michael's fitness videos, Bob Harper videos, many other videos, so many classes at fitness clubs, and not to mention playing on sports teams!
I have also tried so many diets; weight watchers, counting calories, Atkins, 21 Day Fix eating plan, 17-Day Diet, I have even tried diet pills before, and put myself on more "diets" than I can begin to count.
I was one of those people that said it's just not fair, how can I work so hard and not be skinny, when other people barely have to try and they look amazing?!?! I labeled myself the victim for so many years of my life.
I tell my students all the time they can choose the attitude they have about a situation, and I finally listened to my own message. I decided I was going to leave work at work. For me that meant no more lesson planning at home, no more paperwork at home, no more grading at home and at least for a while, no more even talking about work at home. Work was a very negative thing for me and I needed to keep it away from my family.
That is how I started changing my mindset, first, by just leaving work at work, but then I built on that and started to focus on changing my outlook and attitude about work. I aimed to stop sweating the small stuff and to allow myself to get upset for a moment, but then let those feelings go. The situation wasn't going to change because of my feelings on it, but my mood and happiness was. So by learning to allow myself to be upset, but then let that go and move on I started to feel happier. My job is still the same, but I come home a happier person now. This is not perfect, I still work on this daily, but now I focus on the positive rather than the negative.
So.....what exactly does this have to do with weight loss? When I took a step-back to self-reflect I also realized that I had a very negative mindset about so many other areas of my life as well, especially my health. So I started to apply positive thinking to my life when it concerned my health.
I was so hard on myself when it came to my weight loss efforts and I had an All-or-Nothing mindset about it. When I started a weight loss effort I had to give 100% to it, no cheating, no skipping a day. I had to be perfect otherwise I would fail right! WRONG! I failed before I even started because of my All-or-Nothing mindset. When I screwed up I would punish myself and try to make up for it the next day by doing a double workout, or restricting my calories even more. And I went through this cycle time and time again over the last 10+ years of my life.
After I experienced the success of changing my mindset about my job, I decided to apply it to my health as well, what could it hurt right. Even if it doesn't work and I don't lose weight, well I wasn't losing weight anyway.
The impact this made on my life was so much more than weight loss. Yes, this helped me lose weight, it was slow, but I have also maintained. But I learned so much more than I thought I could. I learned how much better I feel about everything when I kept a positive mindset about it. I was happier, I was nicer, I was a better wife and a better friend. It was easy not to sweat the small stuff (which was a huge problem for me before). Following a fitness and healthy nutrition plan become basically effortless. I started to look forward to my workouts when I used to dread them, because they made me feel good. I got excited to see what new recipes I could make that were based around vegetables! I didn't want the processed foods because they made me feel bad, so I tried to stay away from food that gave me negative feelings, and eat more of the food that made me feel good. I learned that the more positivity I put into my life, the more I craved it from anywhere I could get it.
Yes I still fluctuate in my weight from time to time, but when I gain, and look back to figure out why, and it is almost always because of my mindset. When I started to get back into that negative, poor me, life isn't fair mindset, I gain weight. The negative feelings could be about anything, not necessarily about my health, but the negativity was at the root. The negativity really affects my eating because I have such deeply ingrained habits of turning to food to soothe my emotions (I will talk about that in another blog post). But what brings me back is remembering to work for a positive mindset. My attitude is my reality, it is what I make it, and I am striving to always make it positive.