Concepts behind weight loss are simple in theory, but complicated in practice. Many people know that eating less processed foods, increasing intake of whole foods (particularly vegetables), and swapping soda and other beverages for water will be healthy and lead to natural weight loss for those who have weight to lose. Despite knowing what to do, many people struggle with putting these principles into practice. I know I certainly did! There are MANY factors that contribute to this struggle, but one important aspect that I believe is often overlooked is mindset. I know that my mindset was one of the biggest obstacles I faced in finding my way to healthy and sustainable weight loss. I have lost 80 pounds and completely regained my health! Changing my mindset played a major role in allowing me to successfully lose the weight and keep it off.
1-WHY Do You Want to Lose Weight?
Do you want to lose weight to be healthier, look great, feel great? All of the above? All of these reasons are valid, but I would encourage you to ask yourself why. Why do you want to be healthier or look a certain way? Why are these things important to you? Dig a little deeper to find a more specific, and compelling reason for your weight loss. It was way easier for me to find success with weight loss and MAINTAINING that weight loss when my why became about health, reducing my risk of a cancer recurrence, being strong and healthy to be able to play with my son, and to do my utmost to have a great quality of life as I age.
2-Be Patient and Build on The Wins
Building new habits and routines is not always easy. It can take time and patience to gradually incorporate healthy habits into your day and be consistent with them. I encourage you to start small and make gradual changes over time. What’s one thing you can start today that would be helpful in taking you one step closer to your weight loss goal? Could you eat a green vegetable every day? Drink water in place of soda? Go for a walk every day? Think of one thing you can implement that will be fairly easy to start with and build from there. As you build on these habits, they start to become part of your daily routine. It gets much easier over time!
Healthy and sustainable weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. This isn’t to discourage you, but to be realistic about the time involved in losing weight in a healthy and sustainable way. Trust the process and know that you’re on the right path. Be patient, you’ll get there!
3-Be Kind to Yourself in the Process
Beating yourself up doesn’t do any good. You’ll feel like crap, but being down on yourself won’t actually get you anywhere. Speak to yourself as you would to a friend or a child. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion. If you make a mistake, try to take a step back and evaluate why it happened. Learn from your mistakes and do your best. Nobody is perfect!
4-Persevere – Don’t Give Up
It’s ok to fail – to make mistakes – making mistakes is part of the process for most people. If you make a mistake, try to take a step back and evaluate why it happened. Learn from your mistakes and do your best. I encourage you to look at the ups and downs as part of simply being human. Life happens, and if you can look at your weight loss journey as a progression and not a black/white or win/lose situation, you can move on from the missteps and keep making progress more easily. See the mistakes as data points – new information for learning something new. Don’t give up!
5-Comparison – Track Your Progress & Compare You to You
I have found it extremely helpful to track my progress and compare myself to myself!
I have tracked my progress by:
- taking progress photos
- weighing myself
- measuring myself
- checking in with myself about how I’m feeling
- tracking energy levels
- paying attention to sleep patterns
- being aware of stress levels
- recording running and fitness achievements
Tracking these things and comparing you to you is so empowering and helpful to see the progress you’re making along the way. I think it’s great to draw inspiration from others and be encouraged by others, “If they can do it, I can do it too!”
Don’t compare yourself to others – you have no idea where they have come from on their health and weight loss journey. There are so many factors that go into gaining weight, losing weight, and maintaining weight loss. That person you’re comparing yourself to simply isn’t you – they don’t have your genetics or life experience. They are not your age, height, or weight. They don’t live your life, and you don’t live theirs.
Focus on yourself to measure your progress and success. If you start to gain a bit of weight or something’s not quite right, refer to the previous two points – be kind to yourself and persevere. Learn from your mistakes and continue to move forward.
6-Do What Works For You!
Some people swear by calorie counting, macro tracking, and weighing or measuring their food. This method does work for weight loss, but it never worked for me. I found weighing, measuring, and keeping track of everything to be tedious and stressful. I was miserable, and couldn’t stick with it!
When I first went plant-based, I focused on eating unprocessed or minimally processed foods (minimally processed meaning whole wheat bread and whole grain pasta). Now, I use the plate method to maintain my health and weight loss. I usually fill half of my plate with green vegetables, a quarter of starchy veggies or whole grains, and a quarter legumes or soy products (beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh). I eat fruit with breakfast and for snacks throughout the day.
It can take some time to figure out what method will work best for you. I think eating a whole food plant-based diet (WFPB) is the healthiest way to lose weight and maintain it, but you can certainly lose weight healthily with other methods. If you’re not prepared to adopt a fully plant-based diet, I encourage you to follow Michael Pollan’s advice: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” I’m an educated and mindful eater. I’m knowledgeable about food and nutrition, which leads me to my next point.
Learn About Nutrition
Learning about nutrition will empower you to recognize which foods are optimal for health and weight loss. Read books, do your own research, attend a conference or webinars, listen to podcasts or even hire a coach if you require additional support and guidance.
Learn More About Yourself and Doing What’s Best For You
It’s helpful to tune into your thoughts, ideas, habits, and behaviours to build awareness and learn more about yourself. As you learn more about what you’re doing, what works and what doesn’t work for you, you can adapt your weight loss plan accordingly to best suit your unique needs.
I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful. Leave me a comment below letting me know if you can identify with any of the healthy weight loss mindset strategies listed above. Contact me through the contact page (https://plantfitmeg.com/contact/) to ask questions or inquire about 1:1 coaching.
All the best on your health and weight loss journey!