When it comes to being healthier and losing weight, moving your body and eating well are only two thirds of the equation. Depending upon your approach, a good diet and exercise will help you to lose weight and improve your health within a few weeks or a few months but to really kick-start a healthier you and achieve results in the shortest possible time, you need to get your head right too!
Attitude is everything!
A positive state of mind is helpful when you are wanting to lose weight and improve your health, yet how often do you find yourself focusing on the negative aspects of what you want to achieve? The mind doesn’t process negatives so if you’re saying “I must lose weight, I must lose weight” your mind is focusing on the “weight” part, a negative, rather than focusing on how good you’ll feel when you’re eating well and moving each day.
If you’re constantly thinking “I have high blood pressure. I must exercise or I might have a heart attack” you’re focusing on the negative rather than “If I eat well and move, my blood pressure and my health will be good and I
will feel good.”
Most of the self-help books available today allude to some form of positive thinking, that is, focusing on what you “do” want, rather than what you don’t. The key is to find positive aspects to focus on, especially in the early stages of your new “Health” regime. When you look at yourself in the mirror, you need to see your good attributes and focus on them. Yes everyone has good attributes. Each time you focus on and tell yourself all the things that are “wrong” with you, “I’m too fat, my arms are too big, my hips are too big, my chest is too small …” you’re focusing your mind on the negative aspects of yourself and you’ll get more of what you don’t want rather than what you do want.
Next time you look in the mirror, find 5 positive things that you can focus on and appreciate about yourself and as your health improves, your skin looks better, your eyes look brighter, your clothes fit better and you have more energy, you can add to your list.
Have Realistic Expectations
Another key ingredient to more sustainable results is having realistic expectations on your health or weight loss journey. If it’s taken you 5 years to gain that extra 10, 20 or 30 kilos it’s doubtful you’re going to lose it in a healthy and sustainable way in just 4 weeks. Sure some people can, and probably have done just that but many find that as soon as they reach their target, they slip back into bad habits and regain all, if not more kilos than they lost.
The secret is to choose to make your healthy regime a lifestyle change – a change to how and what you eat and how much you move for the longer term. If poor eating choices and a lack of movement has steadily increased over a number of years resulting in now poor health, it’s unlikely that 4 weeks of healthy choices and physical activity will remove any and all traces of poor health and set you up with a healthy eating and movement regime that is sustainable in the longer term.
It is well documented that many health issues resulting from poor diet and a lack of exercise can see an improvement after 4 short weeks of healthy eating and movement but why stop at “improved” when you can have an abundance of health and energy by adopting a longer term strategy?
So you’ve decided to make changes, you’re choosing to focus on the positives and what you do want so how will you know if it’s working?
How do you measure your results?
If your goal is weight loss and your first thought was, “Jump on the scales”, let me share an interesting fact with you. Did you know that your body weight can vary by 2 to 3 kilos during any given day dependent upon how much water you drank yesterday, or today, how much sleep you had last night and even what your hormones are up to? Do you really want to set yourself up for an opportunity to beat yourself up by weighing yourself every day? Or worse still, more than once a day? A great way to measure your progress with weight loss, or more specifically, fat loss, is
by how well your clothes fit. If you find that you’re feeling more comfortable in your clothes, chances are your heading towards your goal.
Another common form of measurement is …. taking measurements.
Before you start on your new regime, grab a tape measure and measure the following key body areas which are commonly recorded when conducting an initial assessment for many weight loss programs.
Note: the areas indicated below may seem a bit unusual initially but the measurements are taken at these points to provide consistency when you re-measure later
• Chest: Tape measure goes around the chest area and under the armpits – measure at the height of the armpits – arms at your sides
• Waist: Measure with the tape sitting at navel level • Hips: Measure the widest part of the hip area and buttocks
• Arms: Take measurement from half way down the upper arm and run the tape around the arm – measure each side
• Thighs: Arms straight down at sides, run the tape around the thigh and take measurement at the point just under the middle finger – measure each side
• Calves: Measure the widest part of each calf. So now you have your starting point – adopt your new regime and re-measure every month or 6 weeks to see your progress.
If your new health regime is focusing on improving a medical issue then regular checks with your chosen health professional are a great way to keep track of your progress.
But the best, and by far the most enjoyable way to measure your progress is to listen to the compliments you’ll receive from others when you look better, have more energy, feel better and are smiling more because you know you are moving towards your goals in a healthy and sustainable way.
So choose what you DO want. Better health, more energy, more flexibility, and focus on making better food choices and being more active. And at the end of each day, or first thing in the morning, rather than hop on the scales and beat yourself up if the numbers aren’t where you want them to be, congratulate yourself for the good things you’ve done, the healthy food you’ve eaten and the physical activity you’ve done and let the kilos worry about themselves.