When it comes to losing weight, there is one thing that is making it harder than everything else, and it is probably not what you think. Your mind and emotions are your own worst enemy, and they are more powerful than you likely imagine. From convincing you that you deserve a whole bag of cookies to throwing a fit when someone else eats what you want, your thoughts are capable of wild leaps of (il)logic and (un)reason that it is no wonder you struggle to lose weight and keep it off.
Learning to ditch these destructive thoughts will help you have a more positive outlook and greater success at finally losing the weight. Here are five thoughts that could be sabotaging your weight loss efforts and what to do about them.
#1. “I’ll start my diet tomorrow.”
This type of all-or-nothing thinking is typical self-sabotaging behavior. You can’t possibly make healthy choices right now; you need to start clean, wait until the slate is clear, right? Right?!? This type of thinking is simply a delay tactic, meant to allow you to make yet another unhealthy choice that satisfies a deep emotional need that has nothing to do with food.
Instead of waiting until tomorrow or Monday or the start of next month, start right now. Decide that you are worth it, and that this meal is the opportunity you must make choices that give your body what it needs without feeding the emotional void. Life is all about millions of little decisions, not one big one. And now is your chance to make one healthy choice.
#2. “This is harder for me than other people.”
Comparing your health and needs to other people is an easy cop-out. Yes, it is easier for some people to lose weight. But guess what? It is also harder for a lot of other people, too. You have no idea what is happening in other people’s lives, what they are doing that is helping them to be successful, and whether they are battling other things you know nothing about.
This type of sabotage is an excuse not to do the hard work needed to be successful. Instead of focusing on other people, worry about yourself. Replace negative thoughts with positive actions. “I am determined.” “I value my health and wellness.” You control yourself and your actions, and it doesn’t matter what someone else’s journey is like.
#3. “It’s not good to deprive yourself.”
This idea that deprivation is somehow a bad thing has pervaded our mindsets today. As a culture, we have someone convinced ourselves that having everything we want when we want it is somehow the best option. But guess what? Your emotions want a whole lot of things that your body does not need, so you have to change your mind about what it means to deprive yourself. You are not depriving yourself of health or nutrition when you make smarter choices.
You are not depriving yourself of a more enjoyable life when you are able to lose weight and engage in the things that make you happy. You are not depriving yourself of what you NEED, only of what your mind says you WANT.
#4. “I deserve this because I worked out today.”
This self-sabotaging thought is rewarding a healthy choice with an unhealthy one. Your reward is not the act of eating healthy, it is the benefits to your well-being and weight that come from those choices, and you will never get there if you “deserve” a piece of cake every time you go to the gym. Changing your rewards to other things you want and need will help you stay on track.
#5. “A few bites won’t hurt.”
When was the last time you actually took one or two bites and walked away? Once you start eating that treat, you’ve already “cheated,” so you might as well go all the way, right? And once you cheated, you feel guilty and will likely reach for more treats to soothe yourself.
It is a vicious cycle. So, be honest with yourself. Before you reach for the first bite, think about where this road has led you in the past. If you want to indulge, then do it and enjoy it, then make healthier choices at your next meal. But if you can’t forgive yourself for “cheating,” then don’t even put that fork in your mouth.