How do I lose weight? Let me count the ways:
Days since my last "cheat" meal. Hours spent in the gym. Minutes spent on the treadmill. Grams of macros consumed. Inches melted away. Calories burned. Pounds lost...Without question, there are dozens of ways to track your weight loss. But while the scale and other numerical metrics can be helpful for keeping you on track, is it healthy or even effective to rely on these types of parameters only?
For the sake of your emotional, mental, and even physical health, we argue no. Here are 3 things we want you to keep in mind on your weight loss journey:
3 Tips for Your Weight Loss Journey
1) Focus on behavior, not outcome.
It's healthier and more effective to focus on factors in your direct control (i.e., your thoughts and actions now) rather than factors not in your direct control (e.g., future pounds lost—or not lost for that matter).
Resist the temptation to check the scale all the time. Instead, check whether you're getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, getting sweaty, lifting weights, learning to cook, etc. By focusing your energy on what you're doing, you're setting the stage for success...and will probably enjoy yourself a lot more, too!
2) Be kinder.
It's nobody's responsibility to support you, motivate, and keep you accountable for your weight loss (except maybe if you've hired a trainer). Of course, it's wonderful and joyful to have people like this in your life, and these loved ones should be rigorously thanked and celebrated along the way.
But ultimately, the number one person you should be getting that support, motivation, and accountability from is you. And to do that for yourself, you have to be kind.
Be good to yourself. If you "mess up," simply own it, acknowledge it, and move on. Feel gratitude for your body as it is right now, as well as the body it's becoming. Compliment yourself (either in your head, in your mirror, or in your journal). And when you hear negative chatter and put downs coming into your head, use it as a cue to remind yourself to stop and replace it with a self-affirming thought instead:
"I hear you, Negative Soundtrack, but I'm doing my best, and I'm proud of myself."
"I tried something new today."
3) Use multiple measures of personal success.
Wise questions to ask yourself before you start any weight loss journey:
- "What does losing weight mean to me?"
- "Why do I want to lose weight?"
- "What are 50-100 benefits of losing weight?"
Asking introspective questions like these helps you expand your perspective, identify other ways to track your progress, and ultimately prevent you from becoming overly obsessed about the scale. Some metrics to try out on your own:
- The amount of energy and focus you have while at work and with your family
- The quality of your sleep
- The overall improvement in your mood and self-confidence
- The adoption of new healthy life habits, skills, relationships, and perspectives
- The reversal or prevention of chronic illnesses, aches, and pains
- The added years to your life
In the end, your true mission is to learn to see that see your overall health is the reward. Pounds lost can of course be celebrated, but remember that wellness gained can be celebrated, too.
Got any other special tips of your own that help you maintain a healthy mindset while working on a healthier body? Let us know about it in the comments, and be sure to share this article with anyone in your life who's looking to lose some pounds of their own.