Hey everyone, Derek here again. This is the 5th and final post in our fat loss series and it may be the most important one. Below is our post: Master Your Mindset: 4 Mental Shifts that are Critical to Long-Term Fat Loss Success.
Mindset may just be the most critical aspect to successful fat loss. Heck, it may be the most critical aspect to success at anything. The problem is, we're often terrible at controlling it.
If you can’t control what goes on between your ears you’re bound to get discouraged by failures, put down by criticism and fall apart in the face of difficult circumstances.
For every factor that contributes to health and fitness, a good mindset is critical. Trying to stick to proper food choices? I hope you have a good mindset!. Want to make progress at the gym or stick to a healthy sleep schedule? Again, you’d better check your mindset.
Here are our top 4 mental shifts that can help create the mindset required for success.
1. Become A Student of Stoicism
Stoicism is an ancient philosophy that revolves around changing our perception of events in our life. It boils down to ‘control what you can control (emotions and reactions) and waste no energy on things you can’t control’.
Stoicism also teaches that we should embrace all failures and hardships for the opportunities they provide. Many people see failures and hardships as discouraging, however the stoic sees them as opportunities. If we can remove emotional reactions in times of crisis and maintain our composure, it is possible to rise above the crisis and come out victorious. Often it is hardship that shapes some of the greatest accomplishments.
The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday is a book I think everyone should own. I’ve personally listened to the audio version twice in the past 3 months and it has been essential to keeping a proper view of things. It is full of constant reminders to keep your mindset on track and avoid slipping into self-indulgent worrying and overanalyzing. This podcast with Tim Ferriss or this podcast with Lewis Howes are also great interviews with Ryan Holiday.
2. Change How You Talk About Yourself
Dwelling on past mistakes is often one of the biggest mindset issues that must be corrected. In order to progress we must learn from our mistakes, but we also need to be careful not to focus on the negatives too much. As we said in our 4 Keys to Achieving and Maintaining Fat Loss blog post, the long-term trend is far more important than the occasional slip-up.
Rather than defining ourselves by the decisions we have made in the past, we need to focus on who we want to be in the future. Instead of saying “I’m just the type of person who can’t resist a good slice of cake”, say “I am the type of person who sticks to their goals” Or “I’m not the type of person who lets cravings control me, I’m stronger than that.”
As strange as it may sound, our self-talk has incredible power to affect our actions, either positively or negatively. We become what we tell ourselves we are going to be. Just make sure it's realistic. Take time each morning and whenever temptation hits to repeat an affirmation related to your top goal and use it to help dismiss any negative self-talk.
Sure it seems a bit weird at first, but once you get past that an see yourself for your positive characteristics instead of the negative ones, it really does have power to change how you react to situations as they come up.
3. Lose The ‘Food scarcity’ Mindset
Yes, there are starving kids in Africa, but how exactly is adding a layer of fat to your body by overeating going to help those kids? In order to succeed with fat loss it is critical to recognize the cost of fitness as something valuable. We live in a society that has an abundance of calories, NOT a shortage. Unless you are underweight, there is absolutely no benefit to clearing your plate instead of throwing out or saving the extra food.
People pay thousands of dollars for personal training and gym memberships to lose fat, yet when it comes to throwing out half of a $5 plate of food because you are no longer hungry, all of a sudden we become thrifty.
Instead of eating food you don’t need, think of throwing out that food as an investment in your fitness. If you really want to be thrifty save it for later, but do not fool yourself into thinking you are saving yourself money by packing on body fat that you’re going to pay someone to help you lose later on.
4. Embrace a ‘Why Wouldn’t I?’ Mindset
This mindset is great when it comes to justifying choices in the face of peer pressure to give in and do what everyone else is doing. When you are armed with tools that make it (relatively) easy to stick to a caloric deficit, eat healthy and get into amazing shape, the easiest answer to peer pressure is often ‘Why Wouldn’t I?’
If someone questions your choice to workout daily, the simple answer is “Why Wouldn’t I?” If asked why you are choosing a lower calorie, or more nutrient dense option, again ask, “Why wouldn’t I?” Is it really worth giving up all of the long-term enjoyment and benefits you receive simply for a passing flavour enjoyment? We all have to draw a line in the sand somewhere when it comes to restricting our intake, so why not stop at one brownie instead of three?
Are those extra two brownies really going to provide enough extra enjoyment to justify the cost to your health and fitness goals? 6 months from now, are you really going to wish you could go back and eat those two extra brownies?
When you stop focusing on the immediate present and are start focusing on the long term effects of eating healthy and working out the question changes from their “Why would you?”, to your “Why wouldn’t you?”
As with all of our action based blog posts, be sure to pick only one or two actions to work on at a time. Focus on those and come back to the rest when you have successfully incorporated the first two.
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Derek & Rachel
Live For Today Fitness
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