About two weeks ago, I wrote an article called: A Journey Into Weight Loss and Health, and I would like us to explore another aspect of that same topic. In that previous article, we touched on the struggles to maintain weight or to lose weight, and many of you could relate to that issue. Our limiting believes around weight are strong, and the denial about our problem to acknowledge that the problem lies in the food we eat even stronger. But even though when we moved past that, we developed better beliefs, or we understand how false our limiting beliefs were, and we accepted that the food we eat is the issue, we still have plenty of struggles waiting ahead of us on our quest to health.
The scale. Our ally and our foe.
For the last few days, I have been weighing around ~89.5 kilos. Which is amazing! While I am on a meal plan with a calory deficit, so I lose weight, I recently had a plateau at ~90 kilos. The plateau happened because I misused the guidelines of that meal plan. After the needed tweaks, my weight goes down again, which is likely a good sign. My focus is losing body fat, not necessarily weight but according to my scale, both are going down, so it seems to be a win so far. That is only before you look at the side effects of our foe the scale.
Our mind. Our ally and our foe.
The fact that the scale showed a weight loss, it triggered one of my most dreadful foes when it comes to losing weight. Somehow, there is a threshold that my mind believes to be the weight I should have. So when going below that, I found myself with low self-discipline around sticking to the meal plan. I am going out of my meal plan a lot more easily. After all, maybe I can get away with losing weight and eat more than I should? Or eating the food I should not eat? It seems not, but my mind like to try to convince me that I can (and it succeeded many times!).
This is how it may look when we are caught in that game with our mind. We might eat a chocolate bar at 10 am on top of our regular snack, you know, to avoid feeling hungry later. Forgetting we did had something extra today, and as we are thirsty, we are ordering a large latte at Costa around 12 am instead of a medium. Finally, when it is time for dinner, we add houmous to it. And then we repeat the next day or next week; we did it once, so it becomes okay. Over time, we slowly slip from our initial meal plan, making these little slips the new normal. Before we know it, we have stopped losing weight, or we are already on our way up, and it took only a few weeks!
The threshold I mentioned earlier is called self-image. My self-image is the shape of my body at 92 kilos, and my limiting belief is that no matter how hard I try, I will always go up to that weight. Guess what is happening when I am below 92 kilos? I jeopardise all efforts with little extras as described above. Sounds familiar to you? The answer is likely yes, most of us do that. If we wouldn’t, we wouldn’t have that many issues with being overweight and overall obesity.
Thank you mind… I guess.
One of the significant challenges to overcome is changing that self-image. If we succeed and let’s say in my case I manage to reset my self-image to a leaner body, then my mind is my ally. I won’t order that large latte instead of a medium anymore, I’ll measure the proportion of the meal plan correctly, and everything will mostly fall in line. Most of us, we do not change that self-image, we aren’t even aware it is a thing. That struggle creates the yo-yo diet. We follow the last cool diet, we lose weight, we gain it back and maybe a few more kilos on top of that, and we repeat. Some of us became pros at yo-yo dieting! All of that, because we use the wrong tools and are not changing our self-image.
In the previous article, one of my main points is that we do not need to diet. We need to change the way we eat, for good. Again, losing weight is the easy part. Not putting it back for the next 5, 20 or 60 years, is the real challenge. So to be successful in changing that way of eating, and keep the weight, we must change our self-image.
Here are my learnings so far about and also how to change our self-image:
- Self-image is like gravity; it will always pull us back. Self-image is based on the beliefs about who we are
- A limiting self-image must be challenged; we need to go beyond our comfort zone and stretch ourselves, with consistency
- To change your self-imagine, create new habits and routines! Use the Magic Rule of 21 (Step Five in that article)
- We must associate pain with our “old” self-image, and pleasure to the self-image we want (“new” self-image)
Before I leave you for that article, I will explain a bit more what I mean with some of the above points.
Challenging your self-image can be done in many ways and often, it goes with new habits. When it comes to weight, healthy, exercising or eating, here are a few examples.
- If your self-image is that you do not exercise, then push yourself, find a gym-buddy, or go to classes so you can challenge that by exercising. Over time, you will have the self-image of someone who is working out regularly
- With food, if you believe you cannot stop eating, follow a meal plan and stick to eat the right food; make sure it is healthy food you like. If your food is organised and structured (meal plan, precooking), you will create more control
- With weight here is a personal one, I was sure that I cannot lose weight. I challenged that by allowing myself to consider that I am not different, I can lose weight too. I proved to myself that I could with following a diet. While I do not suggest that today, it allowed me to see I could lose weight.
For pain and pleasure, it is a very interesting topic and I will likely write more about it later. But the truth of the matter is that even if what we do is painful to us, it is either less painful than changing and more likely, we managed to create pleasure for ourselves. For example in my case, staying overweight was causing pleasure as I can just stay home and do the things I love, instead of going to the gym. I had more pleasure being fat than trying to stay be lean. Over time, I changed that. Going to the gym was a pleasure because I would go with a friend or go to the sauna afterwards. For many months, one of my biggest motivation was because I would stretch after I worked out, and that was high in pleasure. Losing weight and shaping my body was also a source of pleasure. I had pain and had to self-discipline myself, but I had more pleasure. My food while leaner was still providing pleasure as I made sure to have food I like in my diet. I worked on my habits with food and exercises until they are both more pleasurable than painful, so then it is easier to stick to them!
Thank you for your time and for reading this post.
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