So, you’ve mastered the art of getting into a positive frame of mind – now what?
How do you keep that positive energy at its peak and not faltering at the slightest downturn?
And what about those times when you just don’t want to be positive and you can’t seem to get out of it?
Fortunately there are some techniques and best practices that are important to know well in advance which can help when the going gets tough and the negativity starts to rear its ugly head.
Your journal is your number one tool to keep your positivity flowing which is why it’s so important early on to start using it and recording thoughts, goals, fears, strengths, achievements and everyday feelings etc.
Here are a few other suggestions to help when challenges begin to hit your positivity.
Smaller Mini Goals
We all know that having ridiculous goals is a surefire way to fail and have your motivation kicked to the floor.
But what do we set as realistic goals?
When we start a diet or healthy diet plan, the main aim is to lose weight and unfortunately, we want to lose as much of that weight as quickly as possible, convincing ourselves we will be 100% ’on it’.
We tell ourselves that we will stick to exactly what we are allowed to eat, exercise religiously and the weight will just drop off.
But life isn’t as smooth-sailing as that and if we don’t prepare for the weeks when we lose nothing or even gain weight, our goals will get further and further away and so will our motivation to continue.
Unfortunately, we cannot prepare ahead of time when those weeks will be, and what will cause them so we need to offset them by amending our expectations and set smaller, more realistic goals.
The main, ultimate aim doesn’t have to change (unless it’s too unrealistic for your frame which is a whole different subject) but the time it will take you to get there has to match your capabilities – your realistic capabilities and not just your hopeful ones.
Eating right – and that doesn’t mean everything healthy; it means eating right for you.
Some people can happily cut out all the calorie-high snacks and sauces, puddings and burgers but most cannot – me included. It can be achieved for a while but the strain of resisting just gets too much and we give in to those ‘forbidden’ foods and ruin everything we have taken the time and mental energy to build up.
So maybe that ‘forbidden’ list of foods should be lifted or at least reduced and allowed in smaller quantities…
…but if there are some foods that you just know are too much of a temptation for you then ‘mentally’ put it back in the box, chain it with a padlock and throw away the key!
Seriously though, finding a way that works for you is important and so is knowing how far to push your own boundaries before too much temptation wins over, or the weight loss plateaus for too long.
The Little Things
Little changes in your everyday life can lead to big changes in your weight and there are plenty of small adjustments we can make that doesn’t impact on our lifestyle and enjoyment of our favourite foods.
Ditch the Plates: Following on from your forbidden foods and reduced portion sizes, pack your normal dinner plates away and invest in some smaller ones. Make sure your old ones are way out of reach and hard to get at so as to stop yourself from reverting back to larger plates and larger portions.
It won’t take long to train your stomach into accepting these reduced portions and your mind will eventually accept it too.
Cereal’s a Mug: If your favourite cereal is a crunchy, sugary hit and it’s all you fancy one morning then have it in a mug! If your cereal bowls are a little too deep or you always make a ‘cereal mountain’ then a recommended portion will look pitiful…you will feel deprived and eventually succumb to high calorie snacks later. But that smaller portion will probably fill your mug, giving the impression you are having an ample serving – plus it’s easier to hold and have on the go!
Stay Away from the Supersize: When you have to have your favourite chocolate or chips, candy or popcorn, and you would normally reach for the family pack (because it’s such a bargain), then stop yourself! For your health it’s not a bargain…for your weight it is definitely not a bargain, and for your motivation, it’s a failure and an excuse to give it all up. Train yourself to ignore the supersize and enjoy the treat you have allowed.
Cookie Monster: Love cookies but can’t stop at one? Transfer them to a container and break them in half. This way when you reach for a cookie or two, you might only end up eating one.
Controlled Packaging: Manufacturer portion sizes are just that – the manufacturer’s portion size! For example we never question that a standard bread roll is the right size for us, and depending on the size of the roll, one might not be enough yet two can be too much. But how about cutting them in half and storing them airtight? If they are served smaller, you can be the judge of your portion size and reduce the risk of overeating.
Experiment with Favourites: Can’t give up your favourite meals to cardboard-tasting diet ones? Then find out how you can swap out some of the ingredients for healthier versions – sometimes your favourite dish can be halved in its calories without jeopardizing too much on taste.
Experiment with richer seasonings and flavourings of your favourite meals so smaller portions seem worth it when they are full of flavours that will leave you feeling satisfied.
Another great tool for helping with your weight loss is to find healthy recipes that you love and get good at making them.
If you’re not a great cook enthusiast and tackling a week’s worth of healthy recipes feels like a daunting task, then instead of becoming overwhelmed, just get savvy with one.
Buy in all of the ingredients and practice making it, try and have it once a week and get to the point where you don’t need to look at the list of ingredients or glance over at the instructions, you can just make it without thinking.
Once you have mastered that recipe, move on to another one that you would like to try.
Doing it this way, you can start to develop a catalog of lovely meals that are not only healthy but are easy to put together and you will enjoy.
The Absence of Mourning
If you passed on the extra side of tortillas or refused the cheesecake at work, will you mourn it? Will your day be ruined because you didn’t have it? No of course not, chances are once that moment has passed you will probably never think about them again.
In other words have you ever thought:
‘Damn! I really wish I had that take-out pizza last night…’
‘I’m so missing the chips I nearly had instead of the handful of grapes…!’
The desire to have those foods was in the moment, it may have felt like it lasted forever but it was over shortly after you decided not to have them.
But what about if you would have given in and had that pizza or bag of chips – would you be regretting it now? Would it damage some of your determination to be good today? Most probably!
And chances are you may feel like you’ve failed at your diet, and your motivation and positivity will take a hit. Even if you manage to recover this time, next time might not be so easy.
Food is a momentary pleasure
whereas regret can last so much longer
Add that statement to your journal.
The temptation for whatever food it is that you craved for in that moment will soon go away and you will certainly and definitely NEVER miss it.
Alternative Therapies – Meditation
It is not enough to focus just on what you eat and any exercise you incorporate into your plan, you have to deal with your inner self; a boost for your positive energy.
Dina Kaplan from Forbes wrote an article on meditation and weight loss and featured Sarah Anne Stewart. Although Sarah is a recovering anorexia sufferer she has since helped many others to use meditation as a way to tackle their unhealthy relationship with food.
…successful clients who lose weight and keep it off are the ones who do the inner work.” Sarah Anne Stewart.
And meditation is the tool for performing that inner work.
When you are in meditation, it helps you to get to the root of why you do certain things like wanting to sabotage your diet or not being able to stop giving in to temptation…and why you think about food all of the time!
Knowing what these reasons are makes it easier to
“…create a unique and personalized approach so that you are keeping the weight off as well as finding peace with food and your body” – Stewart.
Dina’s article states that you can start off with just being mindful of everything around you, what you do and what you eat. You can become aware of the unhealthy habits that you have and the triggers that cause you to make these unhealthy habits.
Another article, this time in Healthline, has a set of instructions to practice for 10 minutes per day to get you started on meditation. They can be found at:
Alternative Therapies – Yoga
The regular practice of yoga can help with centralizing your inner self and promoting calm and positivity.
In fact most positivity gurus swear by it.
When the body and mind work in a synchronized fashion, the outcome is bound to be positive.
Yoga is much more than just physical stretching…
…it requires your brain as well as your body – Positive Psychology
Positive Psychology explains the relationship between yoga and positive psychology:
Practicing yoga can help people cultivate mindfulness, develop greater awareness, and improve their ability to focus on what is at hand – Positive Psychology
Yoga retunes your mind to positive thoughts and in an article over at Positive Provocations, Chetana of Stylecraze.com talks about the 5 Essential Yoga Principles for Positive Thinking.
And finally, the most important tool to have in preparation is your journal.
Writing everything down at the beginning of your weight loss journey and cataloging as you go along is so powerful not only for weight loss but in staying positive in general.
You need to list your why’s – what’s so important for you to lose weight? What benefits are there?
Make it about you, yes we all know that shedding a few pounds can help with diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure etc but if you don’t suffer from any of them, it doesn’t have the same impact for you.
Whereas if you struggle to climb the stairs or would love to feel comfortable in a pair of jeans then those are your why’s.
…when you are experiencing positive emotions like joy, contentment, and love, you will see more possibilities in your life. – James Clear
Preparing for the Future
So what about 6…8…12 months into your journey?
Maybe you have lost the weight you wanted and enjoying this new you, grateful to yourself for sticking it out so long, or maybe you’re only part of the way but still feel like you’ve been at it forever!
Whatever your progress, you need to prepare and have a ‘forever’ plan in place so you don’t lose momentum and the weight starts to creep back on.
The Forever Plan
Many of the rules of healthy eating will be embedded in you which have aided you in successfully losing weight;
- your habits will have changed
- you will have created new habits
- your food choices will have dramatically improved.
But many dieters burn out…they succeed in their weight loss but they don’t have a forever plan in place that sets them up for the rest of their life…
And they slowly slip back into their old habits.
I mean come on we’ve resisted our favourite foods for long enough…!
So, it’s a good idea to put a forever plan together so you know exactly what to do and how to live your life once you have lost the weight you first set out to.
This plan will be unique to you and will be a follow-on from the journey that you have been on. For example if you have been on a Keto diet, maybe you want to continue with low carbs and only adding in some lower carb foods to help maintain your weight.
Properly research the way you are going to eat moving forward based on your type of healthy eating but keep it realistic for you; saying you will never eat carbs again maybe a little far-fetched when you struggle to limit them now.
You also need to prepare your motivation and positivity; add in a section in your journal that covers you for the future.
Remembering what life was like before you achieved your weight loss is a great thing to have in your journal for the future you to catalog the following:
- What were your strongest why’s and leave a space to detail what it feels like once they have been improved or illiminated.
- What were your goals? And what was it like before you achieved them.
- What do you have now that you didn’t have before?
- How do you feel now?
- Catalogue the struggles; those hard times in your journey that you never want to face again.
- Remember how you hated yourself and felt like you would be like this forever? How big did that mountain seem at the time?
When you see this written down and a detailed reminder of what you went through may cause you to think twice about slipping back into your old ways.
Do you really want to go through all of that struggle again? Do you want to go back to that mindset where you hated yourself and felt like you will be like this forever?
Remember how big that mountain seemed at that time and remind yourself that you are now over that mountain and living happily on the other side – is that slice of chocolate cake really worth it now?
Document everything as you go along, the good and the bad and what worked for you. We are all different and handle (or don’t handle) things in our own way; that first month might have been plain sailing for you and you found it hard towards the end, whereas somebody else struggled to get through that first month but found it easier to get to goal.
Think Like a Slim Person
Along your journey you want to start studying slim people and document your findings in your journal.
It is so easy to ‘assume’ they can eat what they want and never put weight on but that is so far from the truth.
I always thought my friend was lucky, she could eat exactly what she wanted but was always so slim! It was only years later that I realised how little she actually ate and that she very rarely finished her food – I was always too busy finishing mine to notice!
Another way to look at it is to pretend you have been given the perfect body now, with the condition that you treat it just like a normal, slim person would.
Do you know what that actually entails?
- Do naturally slim people ‘point’ what they eat?
- Do they cram their plates with low calorie foods?
- Do they obsess about what they are going to eat that day?
- And do they eat when they are not hungry?
They are your instructions for your new body and the person you will have become.
Create your manual and keep yourself topped up
with the right service plan.
You can’t part-exchange your mind or your body
so look after them and treat them like
they are the only things keeping you alive!
Wherever you are in your journey, take the time to plan for the future. Make that life as enjoyable as you can while still maintaining your weight – your new you will thank you for it.