If you have tried diet after diet after diet with little success, remember this: “A well-worn path doesn’t mean that you are on the right track.”
If you struggle with weight and rarely see positive changes reflected on the bathroom scales, it is important to recognise that the continual diet cycle can do more harm than good—mentally, physically, and spiritually.
The diet cycle typically flows like this:
We start an extreme diet.
We feel restricted and deprived.
The cravings commence and we give into temptation.
We are consumed with guilt.
We rinse and repeat this process day in and day out and, for many, year in and year out.
You can absolutely break this dreaded diet cycle and say goodbye to dieting forever by shifting your focus from losing weight to gaining good health.
The following 10 tips will help you to shift your focus:
1. Change the way you set goals
Have you been setting scale-dependent goals? And they’re just not budging? First of all, I hate using the scales. I have never lost weight on the scales the way they predict. I did switch to taking measurements with the tape measure and taking progress pics, which did help a lot when I was losing centimetres a week. But eventually that slows down too. By shifting our mindset away from numbers and instead focus on health- related outcomes, this helps us to reset our thinking.
I encourage my clients to use the SMART Method of goal setting, which is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Instead of saying “I’m going to the gym this week”, we get clearer on it and say, “I will go to the gym for 30 minutes after work on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and do a mixture of cardio and resistance”. Then it’s easy to schedule in our phone/calendar/diary and get it done!
The other important thing to note is that it needs to be action-based, and positive. Because we all know that as soon as you say, “I will not have any chocolate or lollies this week”, all you want is sugar. So, a reframe on this would be “I will have healthier alternatives on hand for when I feel like eating processed sugar”. You can also start with “I will have 3 processed-sugar-free days this week” and work up to 6 or whatever is realistic for you.
2. Stop criticising yourself
Instead of focusing on all that is wrong with you, focus on all that is right with you. Instead of criticising your shape and your waistline, start focusing on all your positive qualities. Find ways to nourish and support your body and acknowledge that every curve, every scar, and every part of you is uniquely you and makes up your amazing story.
3. Remember that one size does not fit all
We are all wired differently, so what suits one person may not suit the next person, especially when it comes to diet and exercise. Find what suits you personally and focus on making those changes.
4. Listen to your body
Your body is constantly communicating with you. Are you paying attention?
When you really listen to the signs and symptoms your body is giving you, whether it be hunger, pain, or fatigue, you are actually developing an understanding of what it needs and when it needs it. Instead of focusing on losing, focus on listening.
5. Embrace healthy eating as a lifestyle
Let’s face it, diets may work in the short term and we may lose a few kilos in the process, but often, when we stop the diet we gain back the weight we have lost and then some. When you accept that healthy eating should be a lifestyle 7 days a week and not a short-term way to achieve weight loss, you will see results. Focus on realistic, permanent changes that will last a lifetime.
6. Celebrate your success
As you make changes and start to feel healthier and more energised, really focus on all the awesome steps forward you have taken. When you focus on the positive changes you have made and the goals achieved, this is a surefire way to stay motivated. It will fuel you to make even more healthy changes.
7. Shop the perimeter of the supermarket
Instead of heading up and down the supermarket aisles and focusing on low-fat, pre-packaged diet foods to lose weight, change direction. Make the commitment to mainly shop the perimeter of the supermarket. This is where you will find all the fresh produce, meat, and perishables. If I go down the aisles it’s usually to get seasonings and spices, rice, oats, and Ryvita’s/snack crispbread.
8. Respect your body
Extreme dieting can do more harm than good, so understand that your body must go the distance. Really focus on all that your body does for you and then fuel it accordingly. It keeps score, and your body will always win.
9. Remember: Mind + Body + Spirit
The mind, body, and spirit work as a system of energy, so it is vital to manage all aspects of your wellness. From healthy food and exercise to managing stress levels to factoring in activities daily that uplift your spirit, focus on your system as a whole. It takes a lot more than just eating a salad to achieve good health. Make sure you keep your soul happy too, whether that’s reading, dancing, holidaying, painting etc.
10. Love your body
The more we learn to love our bodies, the more motivated we will be to exercise and eat well. Focus on what you love about your body and not what bugs you.
It is not actually our bodies that need to change, but our mindsets and choices. Focus on achieving good health, good energy, wellness, happiness, more joy, more peace, and more love instead of losing more kilos. Remember, your size and weight do not measure your worth as a person, your beauty, your unique qualities, or your contributions to the world. Focus on being the healthiest version of you to move forward.
You can simultaneously love your body and try to change it.
Contact me if you would love to start working on yourself. I'm your girl, your cheerleader, your support.