Thoughts That Sabotage Your New Year’s Weight-Loss Goals

Those of us familiar with deadlines at work, understand the importance of setting goals to achieve objectives. The same applies to weight loss and arguably in January we all tend to jump onto the New Years Resolution bandwagon and set ourselves the task of losing weight and improving our nutrition habits. Both of which are really important first steps in the journey to getting healthier. However, it’s really important to note that setting the goal is the easy part, sticking to it is more challenging.

I often think we can be our own worst enemy, as such it’s really important to understand with weight-loss hurdles, it’s natural to have moments of doubt. That’s when we allow ourselves to adopt potentially negative thoughts. Always try to remember, the way you think about a big goal can make a HUGE difference.

In an article written by Jenny Marchal she talks about how we sabotage ourselves and “as humans, we naturally tend to lean towards a negative outlook... We are prone to believing that we have limitations... Our tendency to think that we’ll ‘believe it when we see it’ suggests that our mindsets are focused on our goals not really being attainable until they’ve been achieved.” Let that sink in for a moment. 

While there is plenty of evidence to suggest we can use other peoples negative thoughts about us as fuel and motivation (i.e., someone saying “I don’t think you can do that” and proving them wrong), our personal self doubt and negative thoughts are not so easy to turn to our advantage. Thinking negatively of ourselves, reinforces our own belief system, subsequently our minds process and accept it as our truth. How many times have you heard people say I’m not good at this and just simply not even try?

So what are the most common negative thoughts that can get in the way of our weight-loss goals and how can we reframe the narrative to support our quest to achieve those goals?


I’m “NEVER" going to hit my target!

Avoid using negative language, instead, try speaking to yourself in the third person, Ethan Kross landed on this ground breaking idea. In a nutshell, he was talking to himself in the third person, then started to notice it in others, including people like LeBron James. The following quote captures it best.

“In a series of groundbreaking experiments, Kross has found that how people conduct their inner monologues has an enormous effect on their success in life. Talk to yourself with the pronoun I, for instance, and you’re likely to fluster and perform poorly in stressful circumstances. Address yourself by your name and your chances of excelling in a host of tasks, from speech making to self-advocacy, suddenly soar.”


Stop Eating Chocolate! Or Whatever your decadent indulgence is!

When you restrict specific food or an entire food group, you open the door I refer to as the 'all or nothing' room. The guilt cycle you create sabotages your chances of choosing healthy foods the next time around. I talked about it recently in my article on stress eating, the principle being that you feel so bad about eating poorly, that you choose less nutritious foods to make you feel better, feeding the cycle. Try instead, to focus on being good most of the time and savouring the opportunity infrequently to indulge, so you don’t feel constantly deprived.


Why don’t I look as good as that person?

I’ve read that comparison is the thief of joy. Any comparison is always unfair, the harsh truth is that even elite body builders go through periods of being out of shape. Some are famed for being unrecognisable during the down season, putting on in excess of 15kg. When you compare, you introduce doubt and negativity on how effective any exercise or nutrition regime impacts your own body. Try to remember everyone is built differently and consequently react differently to training.


The all or nothing room!

The all-or-nothing room I mentioned (commonly referred to as black-and-white thinking) can be your worst enemy. Change is important, it means we are moving forward, progressing, adapting. But cutting out your favourite foods all at once for example is possibly one of the hardest things to do. In the same way not all aspects of your personal journey will be black and white. When you view them in that way research shows that it can lead to things like, yo-yo dieting. 

Rome wasn’t built in a day, so why would you think you can lose 20kg in a month? Look I'm being flippant, but instead, focus on slow and steady goals. In my humble opinion that will keep you on your path to long-term weight loss. Of course also consider eating more whole foods, hitting your recommended daily amount of water and exercising for at least 20 minutes a day (more when that becomes too easy). 5 tips to help weight loss


Today’s a write off, why bother?

This kind of comment harks back to black and white thinking, the pursuit of perfection. Truth is we can’t be 100% perfect with our diet, exercise plan and everything else in life 100% of the time. There will be times when you fall off the proverbial wagon, but just because you couldn’t resist temptation once and indulge in a treat doesn’t mean you’re not making progress overall. Keep going, its a marathon, not a sprint.


This is all too much, why even bother?

Weight loss isn’t easy, but break it down into its component parts and the equation is simple, expend more calories than you consume. The hardest part of any journey is taking the first step. Overcoming that initial hurdle paves the way for personal opportunity and learning. Tracking how many calories you eat and finding time to fit exercise into a busy schedule is tough, but thankfully there are lots of apps and technology out there to help ease the burden.


If you take anything away from today's article then let it be this. Take the first step on your personal journey and don't be disappointed if you stall along the way. It happens! We are all human. Embrace the journey and don't feel alone, there are lots of groups and people who will happily support you. 

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