Mind Your Weight!
- 6 Months ago
Anyone who has tried to lose weight will probably know that shedding those extra pounds is not easy, but it's certainly not impossible. When it comes to weight loss, many of us focus on the body such as the foods that can help you burn fat, foods that are low in calories and meal timings. Although this is true, the vital first step to lasting changes is often missed. Yes, you have read that right! Conditioning your mind is the key to your weight loss goal.
Margaret Moore, CEO of Wellcoaches has said that to drop weight and to keep it off, one needs to improve his or her ability to manage cravings, deal with distractions, manage stress and creatively problem solve.
According to Margaret Moore, one has to strategize to slenderize.
Tame the frenzy: You're caught up at work and you've missed your workout. Now you're hoping that you will make it to the gym tomorrow or maybe not, because of the workload? Such negative thoughts such as guilt that you missed your workout, anger and frustration for not being more efficient in your time management can impair brain function and blur your thinking. Many of us often end up in negative self talks during weight loss such as "Why haven't I lost more weight?" "I'm going to remain fat" "I shouldn't have had that extra piece of cake". This is a vicious cycle and one often ends up ditching his or her diet just so that he or she doesn't have to listen to the inner mean voice bad- mouthing the body.
One way of avoiding negative self talks or "inner frenzy" is to start moving. Whenever you feel the negative emotions are closing in, head out for a walk, turn on your favourite music and dance. By keeping yourself busy, you can prevent yourself from pondering over perceived failures. Amplify the positive emotions and try to control the negative emotions.
Sustain Attention: The ability to focus on a task in hand is an invaluable weight loss tool. This skill plays an important role in mindful eating. Countless studies have proven that mindful eating decreases the amount of food a person eats and increases satiety post meal. No matter whatever you're doing, completely immerse yourself in the task, be it buying groceries at the store or making a shopping list. Don't let the chocolate aisle cause you to wander away from your list. You need to choose to be completely focussed and fully present on seeing your goal to completion without letting other factors get in the way.
Apply the Brakes: There may have been times when you open your fridge to pick up a bowl of fresh fruits and you come out with a piece of cake instead, and you know you've missed a chance to put a break on an impulse and your waistline pays the price! Impulsivity leads you to make choices that come from emotional need rather than a decision the "thinking brain" reasoned out," says Moore. Whenever you find yourself in such a situation, even if you have already had a few bites, get your "thinking brain" back in place by asking yourself about the other options you may have. By applying the brakes on impulsivity, you can slow down the decision process and weigh all of the options, and put a goal at the centre of the discussion between the emotional brain and the thinking brain.
Mold Information: Yesterday, you had a cup of tea and a muffin for breakfast. By 11:00 AM you start to feel lethargic and hungry. This morning, you had a little more time; hence you made yourself an egg sandwich with some fresh veggies. At 11:00 AM you felt attentive and could probably wait until lunch to eat again. Which type of breakfast will you choose tomorrow? Here, you're reflecting on the discovery you just made and pulling out information from your working memory, that breakfast 1 was bad & breakfast 2 was good. We are often very busy to do a gut check or even connect how our bodies feel with what we ate an hour earlier. The lack of this thought process, leads us to commit the same mistake and eat the wrong things. The key to mastering this strategy is to remember how you feel after you've eaten a meal or have completed a workout and apply the findings later. To be able to collect the data points from your working memory, Moore suggests keeping a food or feel journal.
Shift Sets: Many people may pride themselves at being good multitaskers. It is possible to quickly move from one task to another, it is not through multi-tasking, it's through a deliberate process called set shifting. "Set shifting is the notion that when you shift your focus, you shift all of it to the next thing," says Moore. The next time you hit the pause button on your workout DVD to help your child to solve a math problem, remember to get back to your workout whole heartedly. You need to be able to focus on your workout the same way as you did before you were disturbed by the math problem. Only this will ensure maximum benefits from your workout. When you shift tasks and reorient your focus, it's important to return to the previous activity with renewed motivation and insights about how to improve your performance.
Connect the dots: Although these strategies can be broken into different categories, it's always best to focus on each one individually when you're starting out, says Moore. By taming the frenzy of your negative emotions, your attention focussed, your impulses controlled, your working memory ready for the picking, your ability to get things done in a shorter timeframe majored, you will see how your brain will be ready to take on the weight loss challenge.
So, get ready to flex your strongest weight loss muscle - your brain for a healthier and slimmer body!