Hello again my friends! We are headed to part 2 of this series of Human Psychology: Success on Your Weight Loss Journey!
So, if you haven’t read part 1 go back to that post… there’s some great stuff in there with peer reviewed studies. We’re going to continue to talk about mindset work today and how it plays such an important role in your weight loss endeavors and really everything else in life from relationships to finances and basically everything you do. Again, I’ll mention that the content of these two episodes stem from the work of Simon Reynolds and his book Why People Fail so I highly suggest that you read it if you want to get so much more content than I get fit into these episodes. And if you truly put the work into his the concepts he outlines, you’re going to thrive and grow in mental resilience which is crucial if you want to succeed in anything you do.
So, again read that last post or listen to episode 40 (Bridges2Barbells Radio) part 1 first, if you haven’t already, and let me know in the comments what you get out of it or how it’s helped you.
Let's dive in...
Are You Asking the Right Questions?
We have to ask the right questions because the questions we ask ourselves guides our actions.
Your questions and the answers to those questions create your future whether you realize it or not. So, if you are habitually asking yourself, “why can’t I lose weight?” or “why can’t I just get it right?”, you are essentially dooming your own future.
Successful people in any area are asking themselves quality questions that move them forward, not keep them stuck. And one of the most vital questions you can ask yourself no matter who you are or what you’re trying to accomplish is “what do I value?”
Have you ever questioned where your values line up in order? Do you value your health more than your career or vice versa? Do you value wealth over personal development? I’m going to give you 8 topics and I want you to think about your top 4 values out of all of them.
Do you have your top 4??
Now I want to ask you, do your actions and habits revolve around improving those 4 things? If you chose family, spirituality, health, and personal development like I did, are you devoting your time and effort to those things? Are you living your life according to your values? Are you intentional about improving those areas of your life, setting aside time, ruminating on those things and how you can better them?
Most of us say that we value something but don’t live like we do. And so, if you are aware of what you SAY you value but aren’t living according to that statement, it’s time to make some changes right? It’s time to create actions, habits, and thoughts, that promote those things we value.
So, that’s a super important question that you need to ask before you ask anything else! This podcast is about mindset, fitness, and nutrition… so, if you say you value health because you want to prolong your life, feel good about your body, and live a healthier life, are you putting in the time and the effort.
Most people just want to lose weight without making any changes. That’s crazy right?! Change in any are requires change in behaviors. If you are trying to lose weight, are you taking the time to meal prep, setting aside time for exercise, seeking to learn what foods your body thrives on? If you’re not, then it’s not very valuable to you in the first place.
So, before you go asking “why can’t I lose weight”, evaluate how much time, effort, and investment you’re putting into it. If it’s minimal, then you’re going to get minimal results. That’s applicable to any goal in life. So, don’t expect weight loss that is sustainable and healthy to be any different.
So that’s your first task. Truly find out what your values are and if you are living like those things are the most valuable to you. Do they match up?
The Next Question that holds people back from achieving is “what if I fail?”
It's a fair question… but have you ever dug into the real answers to that and are you looking at it from a growth mindset versus your old fixed mindset?
The fear of failure holds so many people back from going for what they desire, including a healthier lifestyle. So, yea go ahead and dig into this question… what if I fail my diet, what if I fail to stick to the plan? What happens then? Would you feel embarrassed, ashamed, angry? Those feelings come from a fixed mindset, a victim mindset, someone who stays stuck.
I know you’ve heard of the old analogy that if you are driving and get a flat tire along the way, you wouldn’t get out and just slash your other 3 tires. You’d be upset, maybe say some choice words, fix the flat, and go on about your drive. Things go wrong in life all the time. We get a little heated about it, but ultimately, we fix it and move on. But when it comes to dieting, a lot of people just say screw it and slash their other 3 tires and then sit on the road and feel sorry for themselves.
So, first of all, when things go wrong and when you fail, stop stop
Does beating yourself up make any positive changes? Absolutely not! We’ve got to stop this personal berating of ourselves when we fail. We’re human… guess what? That means you’re going to fail!!! If it was your friend that failed, you’d talk them up, give them a hand, and push them forward right… If you’re a good friend. Why can’t we do the same for ourselves. Why do we hold impossible standards for ourselves but not others? Doesn’t make sense, right? So, treat yourself like you would your friend. Brush yourself off, change that flat tire, and move ahead.
Realize that failures are part of your learning process.
You’re going to fail in your diet, you’re going to fail your partner at some point, you’re likely going to fail your boss, … it’s how we learn to be better! Dieting is no different. So why do we give up so quickly when we fail? When you do make a mistake, when you get a flat tire on your way to losing weight, what can you learn from it? How did you get there? What can you do different next time? If I see a sharp object or a huge pothole in the road ahead of me, how do I avoid it so I don’t get a flat tire?
Listen, it took me years of diets to get where I am today. Lots and lots of failures. It seemed to not matter what strategy I took to lose weight; I couldn’t get away from my bad habits… until I took on a different type of mindset. I had to believe that my success is inevitable. I could improve my habits one day at a time. No rush. Just small daily actions. I started walking more to get my energy up. I started incorporating more veggies while I was still eating my regular meals. It was little actions that made the difference, and I wasn’t so concerned about being perfectly adherent to a diet.
So, a great question to ask yourself is “what small actions can I take today to help me reach my weight loss goal?” Just pick one that you can make a habit. Once you’ve built that habit, then you can add another one.
Is it taking a walk every or every other day? Is it having a glass of water with every meal? Maybe having one salad a day? Maybe striving to sleep 7-8 hours a night? You’re looking for small ways to improve your habits, becoming growth oriented instead of consistently sabotaging yourself because you can’t do it all perfectly every day. That’s a growth mindset. Looking for the positive changes. Looking for different ways of doing things. You’ve probably tried everything by now, right? Tried the restrictive diets and failed. Tried a crazy workout program that you couldn’t stick to and believe you failed?
The problem is you’re trying to do everything all at once as perfectly as you can. That doesn’t work. So ask yourself “how else can I achieve my goal?” If you can’t get it all done perfectly are you just saying screw it and giving up everything? Or can you take one thing… one small action and be consistent with it?
I urge you to take that mindset today. The old you would overeat or eat the wrong thing and say well I failed the diet… might as well go all out and make it worth it. The new you, the you with the growth mindset would say, I’m going to enjoy this meal or this treat and carry on with what I’ve set out to do. No biggie. Humans aren’t perfect. They can’t be 100% in any area. 90% consistency is more realistic. So, with that in mind, what are you going to change today? What action are you going to take today, knowing that you won’t be perfect but you are striving to make it a habit?
Start asking yourself questions that empower you, not derail you from your progress!
Self-Image: You Get What You Expect
So, I also want to talk about how we view ourselves from the inside out. I don’t care if you lose so much weight that the wind carries you away, if you’re identity is marred and your self-image is poor, you’re not going to be happy with yourself. That self-image that you have directs so much in your life from the way you think and the way you behave to accomplish.
We only get what we think we deserve. So, if your goal is to lose weight so you can exude confidence and gain some respect from others… it’s not going to happen because you didn’t feel like you deserved to gain it in the first place.
Simon gives an example in his book about lottery winners and how it’s common for those who win to stoop back down to the financial troubles they were in before they won the lottery. It’s because they see themselves at that financial level… it’s what they’re familiar with and expectant of. So even when they win, they usually squander their earnings because they don’t believe they’re worthy to have that lifestyle. There are a lot of success stories of people who overcame and changed their lifestyle but there are also many that don’t. The difference is their mindset and their self-image.
Think about the women who constantly get plastic surgery. It starts with one small change but they still view themselves as unattractive, so the surgeries continue and usually get more complex.
So, what you see yourself as is what will be. What you achieve is determined by what you believe about yourself.
How you view yourself has been shaped by society, your past experiences, the words people have spoken to you, and they can come from events that you distorted in your mind. But what we need to realize is that our thoughts aren’t necessarily the truth. I talked about this last week… changing your habitual thoughts. We can absolutely change them. Simon writes that people tend to have 60-70K thoughts per day and that 70% of them are the same as yesterday, and the day before. That’s thought pattern. And if your 70% is distorted and disempowering, guess what’s going to happen?You’re going to believe those thoughts. You’re going to act out on those thoughts. The mind is what holds so many people from achieving what they say they desire.
This should actually be comforting… because now you realize that you probably aren’t the person you think you are.
Your distorted self-image isn’t real.
You are likely very capable of losing weight, you are 100% capable of being successful, you are a unique individual with many talents and gifts that have nothing to do with your weight. And if you have experienced failure in your past, if you have been lazy or quick to give up… that’s ok because it doesn’t have to be true now. How many success stories have you seen and heard? Those people that succeeded stop letting their past define who they are now. People change. People change for the better…some for the worse…but it shows you that change is possible.. and it starts in the mind.
So what can we do to start changing our poor self-image?
I’m going to give you some practical tips to start using today, but as a Christian I have to add this in… everything in this world is temporary, unstable, and ever-changing. And if we base our identity on anything of this world… our wealth, our status, our job, our intellect, OR OUR BODY and the way it looks, our worth is subject to change right along with those things.
So, even on this health and fitness episode, I want to invite you to seek an encounter with God. If you’re listening in right now, you can’t be offended because my podcast is literally labeled faith and fitness-based. So, I invite you to place your identity in the fact that the creator of the universe and the lover of your soul wants to have a love encounter with you and wants you to know that you are, if you accept what Jesus did on the cross, forgiven, valued, loved beyond what you can comprehend, treasured, unique, gifted, invaluable, priceless, chosen to be his. You belong to him. That’s stability and that never changes. If you’re worth is in the One who remains the same yesterday, today, and forevermore, your identity is solid and safe.
It took me years to realize that. I kept placing my value and worth on how I looked or how much money I had, and how well I did in academics. And when I failed in any of those areas, even briefly, my self-image plummeted.
So first and foremost, my highest recommendation is getting to know God deeply and knowing Jesus as your literal savior because he died so you would be worthy and accepted.
Now, what you can do throughout the day as a habitual practice is work on thinking about who you WANT to be. What you think about habitually is who you become and what you believe. So, we need to replace those maladaptive thought processes with better thoughts. So, who do you want to be? What do you want to feel like, look like, act like, speak like?
Boost your self-image by ruminating on that person and believe that you either are or becoming that person.
I had this crazy idea that I wanted to counsel people and better their lives through my own hurts and experiences. I could have stayed stuck in the old mindset that I deserved to go through what I did because I did some bad things. I could have stayed stuck by saying … you know, I don’t normally stick to what I say I’m going to do so enrolling in school to get a degree is not for me. But I changed my view of myself. I realized that I didn’t have to stay the same. That’s silly. We’re constantly changing and evolving anyways.. so which direction to you want to evolve towards. I enrolled in school, graduated with a Bachelor’s degree.. and I’m 4 classes away from getting my masters degree. I start my internship where I WILL be counseling people. I envisioned it, I was patient, enduring, and motivated because I imagined and thought about the person I wanted to be one day.
So what does that person look like for you and what are you going to do about it?
As you’re thinking about this person you want to be, start acting the part. It doesn’t matter who says what about the changes you are making.. if they’re positive and you’re getting made fun of or shamed for it, those people might not have a place in your new life… but you’ve got to start practicing being that person.
When I enrolled in school, I wasn’t a counselor. I’m still not. But I practice every day who I want to be. I listen intently to others not thinking about everything I’ll need to say next (I used to). When people are telling me their stories and their problems I let silence play a role in our conversation to allow them freedom to think and speak. These are counselor techniques that I can use in listening to others. I developed my compassion and empathy beyond what I had. I started thinking differently about people who struggle. I’ve had to go through a lot of changes. But it’s who I wanted to be so I set my mind to act like that person.
Another example is my shyness. I’m naturally an introvert with shy tendencies. I never considered myself brave and I would shy away from any attention to myself. I was terrified to speak or sing in front of people. You know what I’m doing now? Singing in front of a church congregation. Praying out loud over the congregation. Ten years ago, I would have thought hell would have to freeze over first. But I didn’t want to be that scared person. I wanted to be brave and inspirational to others. I had to start acting like that person… and I had to practice it. It was scary, absolutely. But I wanted growth more than I wanted comfort!
Is that you today? Do you want growth more than comfort?
If it’s hard to imagine yourself doing things that you desire, start emulating the people who are already doing it. Study their actions, study their words, and their habits. How do they carry themselves. What words do they use when they talk about themselves. Surround yourself with these people and learn from them. Then allow your mind to have freedom with the possibility that you can be that person you wish to be.
Guys, the mind is so so powerful, but we neglect it like it’s not. And really, it’s simple techniques that can change it, but I think we just doubt that the mind is as powerful as people say it is. I’m telling you, from my own experiences and my own mindset work, that it is way more powerful that you’re probably giving it credit for.
If you can get your mind in a state of clarity, stop letting your old habitual thoughts run your life, and start envisioning, practicing, ruminating on that future self you wish to be, I promise you things will change. You can’t stay the same when you change the neuronal pathways in your brain. But to change them, we have to consistently, daily think on that person we envision. The habits and the actions that the future self does. How does that person dress? Act? Speak? What time do they wake up? How much time do they dedicate to self care, exercise, and healthy eating. Envision it, practice it, and start living it.
Recap of today’s episode:
Are you asking yourself important and empowering questions instead of disempowering ones?
Empowering questions like what are my values? What can I do to show that I do value my health, my mind, my family, etc.?
What small habitual actions can I start doing today?
Am I constantly looking for ways to grow instead of give up?
What does my self-image currently look like? What do I place my identity in?
What does my future self look like, act like, think like, and say?
These are the questions that are going to empower you and alter your current way of thinking. If you can ask yourself these things daily, you’re going to make phenomenal improvement. I did it. You can do it. I’m not different from you in this arena. Every person’s mind is shaped and formed through life events, hurtful words from others, and self-destructive thoughts. But the people who come out on top and are successful work on changing those habitual negative thoughts to more empowering ones.
I urge you to keep a journal or maybe a document on your phone to answer these questions on a regular basis. Write down what your values are. Write down what you are doing or are going to do to prove those are valued by you. Write down what doesn’t work for you and what you’re going to try next. Write down what the future you is going to be. Make it detailed… because the more you can envision this person, the more your brain is going to help you become that person.
This is worth the time and effort you put into it. If you truly want to change, if you truly want to succeed in whatever you’ve set your mind to, you have to work on that mind first.
You have to shape it and rid it of the old ways of thinking. What we practice and envision is who we become.
So, guys that is it for today. I hope you’ll take time to do what I’ve mentioned in this episode and that you’re dedicated to work on yourself and the way you think because you want a better more empowering lifestyle for yourself. And when you better yourself and your thoughts, your relationships, your work ethic, your ability to perform will all naturally improve.
So, get to it. Go write down all the qualities of that amazing future self you’re envisioning right now.
Thank you all for being here. I hope you have an amazing rest of the week. I’ll talk to you soon!