Monday, November 21, 2011

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF WEIGHT LOSS: Ways to successful weight loss

I was on my floor stretching this morning and something just hit me.
Something I have thought about before but never thought of sharing with others on the blog until this moment.
I think the best way to refer to it is to call it "the psychology of weight loss". I know it might sound a little weird but I am confident that things would be clearer as I expand.
So some quick questions here:
Today is November 21, 2011, the holidays are around the corner literally and for many people it’s synonym for food & more calories. So here are my questions:
How many of you are concerned about gaining weight during the holidays?
How many of you back in December 2010 or January 2011 or some times after decided that you were going to lose weight this year?
How many of you reached their goals? How many of you exceeded their goals? How many of you failed short or even got worst (gained more weight)?

How do you feel about your success, setback or "failure"?
Please take a minute to answer this question as it might benefit you and others reading this.
Last December I had a simple goal to fit back in my jeans. I hurt my ankle many months ago and had started gaining weight because I could no longer run. Once I got fed up with the weight gain and remembering that I was capable to losing weight and overcoming my setbacks, I went back to exercising and running. I was making progress and on December 31st I finally tried my pair of jeans and could not believe that I was finally back in them.

 I could zip them once again! Small victory that felt so so good!  Yeah!!!  Can any of you relate?

 I wanted to lose more weight till I found out in May of this year that I was pregnant. At first I got scared that I would be “fat “once again but to my surprise I have maintained a healthy shape, many people say that I am "just belly” and it just hit me that something is very different now. The difference is not in my weight as much as it is in my mind.

This pregnancy is very different from any of my prior pregnancies, especially my first one where I gained so much weight that I looked like a mutant! Ouch!!! It's mean to say that, even to myself,but here’s what’s going on…
When we are mean to ourselves, calling ourselves and our body names, legitimately or not, because of our weight, we are actually bullying ourselves. Have you considered yourself a bully before? This attitude believe it or not makes it impossible to successfully lose weight.
Oh you might be so mean to yourself that you will work hard and manage to lose a few pounds but guess what? The pounds will come right back and furiously.  

With every pregnancy after my first one,  I have gained less and less extra weight and that's because of a few things I learned not so much about weight but about our mind (and believes) and it's effect on weight!
I know for a fact that looking at our own bodies with disgust, shame, anger and resentment does nothing to promote successful and lasting weight loss.
I know that because when I went from a size 0-2 as a newly wed to a size 12-14 as a new mother. I HATED the body I was in. I was in so much shock.  It changed me so much. People can say that it’s just weight and that weight doesn’t affect our happiness, well I don’t believe that, at least not in my case.
It affected the way I dressed, the way I acted and the way  I interacted with people. I cut myself off from social activities I once enjoyed just because I didn't feel confident to be around people and this lack of confidence even showed on every photograph I took around that time. I did not even like taking pictures anymore.  I went from being a social butterfly to a shy introvert person, just because of my weight, “the psychology of it”.
I was on a yoyo of weight loss and weight gain, does this sound familiar to any of you?

So when did I successfully lose the weight and kept it off?
When I stopped demeaning myself and my body, I started seeing some changes.

We can see some changes...
When we FORGIVE ourselves for the wrong choices we made, for the laziness, the excuses we created, the bitterness we held toward ourselves and others who made us feel uncomfortable. When we let go of the anger toward our bodies, others and ourselves and get to the point and say:
“Okay, I screwed up, I am not what I look like right now, I am BETTER and here are some facts about me that prove that I am a great person”. Then we do a mental check of all the things about us that others admire and of our strengths). When we tell ourselves: “You know you CAN do it” ‘You deserve that”.
Then you make a promise to yourself to never again call your body or yourself names.
You make a pledge to yourself to dress nicely NOW for your size until you can wear what you dream to wear. Sisters, you got to look good regardless of your size. Some skinny chicks look sickly because they can’t dress their weight right and have no style. Some Plus size sisters look amazing because they know how to dress their body with taste. So it’s not a just weight thing, it’s also a mental (psychological/ confidence) thing.

Shop for a cute outfit that will look right on you (on sale preferably) in a size smaller than what you currently wear! Hang it on your closet door and use it as a motivation.

My motivation at one time was this dress that my mother found on clearance while shopping at JCPenney!

Dress nice when you work out, don’t look sloppy because you might hate the reflection in the mirror. That's to me is psychological trick I use every day, not just for working out.   
I remember how I went shopping at Wal-mart 9 years ago for nice sportswears that I would wear AT HOME while working on the treadmill and doing Taebo.  It was mental (psychological)! But I felt motivated when I had (affordable) nice workout clothes on! My husband too would be on the look out to for nice affordable clothes that I could wear while working out at home! He would motivate me and support me, but he could not make me do the workout.  I had to be the one doing it. 

You know people can support us and it's good for our minds ( psychological boost) but we still have to be the ones getting dressed and putting forth the efforts. No one can sweat for us!!!
After each workout I will keep a journal of my time, describe how I feel and leave myself an encouraging note like:   "You go girl”, “You can do it”, “yeah 3 miles today!”
You got to encourage yourself and LEARN to be your biggest cheerleader.

Declutter your environment, bedroom, office space, desk, closet, kitchen etc. Remove the things that are no longer useful, the things you don't like anymore and that carry " negative energy".  You will be surprised how getting rid of " extra weight" in your living space can affect your body as well.

Make your bedroom (and your bathroom) a true haven and refuge. Good sleep is  important to achieve weight loss or to maintain a healthy weight. Many studies  link the quality of sleep and amount of sleep to weight gain/weight management. I think that we sleep better when our bedroom is more inviting so I will not just tell you sleep more, I will tell you sleep "in beauty".  It might sounds too diva like but I do believe in " beauty sleep"!!! Won't you sleep better if your room is clean, organized and fresh?

My tropical gateway, full of things and colors I love yet a peaceful sanctuary...

I would add that your bathroom too should be a refuge. Seriously, to me the bathroom is a very important space in a house, you are in there first thing in the morning, last thing at the end of the day and sometimes during the night.

I love to keep my bathroom always clean, neat and clutter free and my bath and shower time has to feel rejuvinating to me. SPA like! I Got to feel good and pamper my body, show it some love. Again it's psychological but I think it all play a huge role on our weight management!

What do you think? Don't you think that a clean and serene bathroom would affect how you feel and be a treat to your mind, soul and body?

Stop doing things you hate that you truly can do without. We get so busy doing things we don't like ( a lot of time for others) when some of those things don't have to be done. Learning to say "no" is a gift. Less is more. If you don't like taking your children to a bunch of birthday parties, or attend all the functions your church have etc...just cut back and prioritize. Doing a lot of things we don't even love create stress on our bodies and affect our weight.

Find ways to enjoy doing the things that truly should be done. I have to tell you that something as simple as ironing clothes which I used to hate has become a pleasant activity for me. I listen to audio books of my favorite authors while I iron some piles of clothes when I feel ready and willing to do so. Play your favorite music when you do housekeeping, listen to an audio book, call a a good friend while you are folding clothes etc.  Find creative ways to make boring, mundane activities more pleasant.

Do more of the things that you love and bring you pleasure (reading, walking, swimming, drawing, talking to a special friend, gardening...) as you make more efforts to feel good and be happy,your mind and body feel better and it's really easy to lose weight when you feel better about yourself.

Try some new things. A new dish, a new recipe, a new sport, a new activity, learning a new language etc. Finding some new interests, developping some new skills, finding out that you are good at something you might not have considered before are all powerful ways to boost your confidence, improve the quality of your life and eventually transform your body.

Change your routine a little(it goes with trying some new things) because boredom or feeling stuck might actually affect your mind and your body.

Make eating time a pleasant moment. This one is very important to meI get teased a lot for eating only in nice plates, drinking only in nice glasses or having a nice setting when I eat.I think my relationship with food is important for my mood and for my body.

When I enjoy what I eat, what I eat in and how I eat it's so easy to feel FULL and there's no need to overeat.
No TV, good music if I don't wante it too quiet, fresh flowers if possible, food that's well flavored, or with good presentation, even if it came from a can of soup ( I am huge on presentation)

 are all small yet important details that have granted me a successful relationship with food and some successful weight loss results.

This is (picture below) how I love and prefer to start my day . Can't do it everyday but got to find creative ways to start the day on a happy note!

Small things ( the picture below) like this small umbrella and lime on my drink make it more pleasant to drink this blend made of watermelon, coconut juice and flaxseed!
As you start treating yourself with Love and respect and make some subtle changes, you will reap the rewards and the excitement will help you go further. 

Make life feels good and your body will look for more ways to feel good and lead you to make the changes that will improve your health and your weight.

Keep a journal. Writing is so therapeutic. I could not live without a journal. Vent in it if you must but make sure to spend more time writing in it the things you are grateful for, the things your love and the things you love about yourself! Cheer yourself up a lot in your journal and write down your goals and how you will achieve them.  
Something to think about: Have you noticed that a good personal trainer would not call you fat and lazy when they train you? They will tell you, actually they will yell: “ Come ON”, “ You can do it” “ Give me ten more” "Push yourself”, "It’s in you”, " don't you dare stopping now".  They will yell and you might fuss, curse them under your breath or break out in tears, but they push you hard while building you up  not by tearing you down with mean words.
With all that, you also have to ask yourself why and how you did gain the weight and kept it for so long. You got to go to the root of the problem. Do you know that some people who might have been abused verbally or physically or who might have been raped when they were “ skinny”, gain weight and keep it on as a way to protect themselves from harm? No matter how much they try to lose that weight they never reach their ultimate goal because their mind (psychological reason) is “protecting them”.  They have the subconscious belief that they are safe as long as they are unattractive.
There are different reasons why we gain weight and keep it. Stress, gluttony and lack of self-control(that's the truth for many), traumatic event,  pregnancies, laziness, etc…
Sometimes the answer is obvious and sometimes it’s more subtle (like a childhood trauma).  Find the true answer that’s hiding within. Deal with it and

  • Forgive yourself and others
  • Stop bullying yourself it only makes things worst
  •  Embrace your strengths
  •  Set your goals, start small
  • Stay consistent and persistent
  • Plan the work and work the plan
  • Reward yourself often (not with big food indulgences, but with a new outfit or pair of running shoes or a relaxing bath products etc…)
  • Say nice things to yourself and about yourself because it’s what you believe about yourself that has a more profound impact on you!
  • Get some cheerleaders (spouse, friends) and people to hold you accountable but
  • Learn to cheer yourself and motivate yourself.
I never would have learned those lessons wearing a size XS, 0 or 2. I learned them when my body and my identity changed and I had to find myself over again. It’s been over 10 years since I have worn size 0-2 clothes and I might never wear them again but I can confidently tell you that never again will I wear a size 14 because I have finally understood "the psychology of weight loss". 

( Just finding out that I am over 2 months preggo)
I have embraced and respected my size 4-6-8 (depending on the clothes) prior to my pregnancy and after the pregnancy I am up for the challenges ahead as there are some fitness goals that I want to reach with my running and swimming in particular.
Soooo….Happy holidays, enjoy your food, no gluttony and no deprivation either (balance). Don’t wait till December 31st to make some New Year resolutions. 

 Make some New You resolutions! Make them now, starts now and please be good and kind to yourself!!!
Go for it! I know YOU CAN DO IT!!!

Please remember me in the course of next year as I would love to hear of your progresses and share with me your results here on the blog or in my inbox If you are new on the site you are also welcome to Follow and subscibe to this blog, it's always a pleasure to have some beautiful souls around here!

Thank you for reading, thank you for not giving up on "you".
Please tell me what you are thinking right now. What’s on your mind?