“Losing weight starts in the head” – you may have heard this statement before. But what does that actually mean? Often people try to lose weight with a fast diet and then the realization that this result is not particularly sustainable often comes quickly. For this reason, it is important to always include the mental aspect in the process. Mental training can not only support the process of losing weight, but also be a real asset at the same time! Health coach Sabrina Wolf explains how it works.
Why do you want to lose weight? As an absolute basis, you have to determine for yourself what your motivation behind the wish is. The stronger your “why” is behind it, the sooner you will achieve your goal. You are also more motivated when you do something for yourself. If the reason for your wish comes from the outside, for example the recognition of others is your motivation, then that can certainly be a strong motivation, but it will be even stronger if you do it for yourself!
Formulate goals clearly
To achieve a goal, you have to formulate it correctly – that is the most important foundation. For the right formulation you can always think of the SMART formula: The goal must be specific, measurable, accepted, realistic and timely. If your goal is to lose weight, then you should define it as specifically as possible according to the formula. Set a specific weight so that the goal can be measured. In this example, it is accepted that you see the prospect of success – you have to accept the goal for yourself personally. This also ties in with the fact that your goal must be realistic if you set unrealistic goals, such as If, for example, you lose 20 kg in a week, there is a high probability that you will not reach your goal either, which on the one hand makes you fail and on the other hand it lowers your motivation. As the last part of the formula, you set a specific date for your goal – by when do you want to have reached the goal?
When you have formulated your big goal, you divide your goal into many smaller goals, the so-called sub-goals. This prevents your goal from feeling huge and unreachable. With the help of several, small goals, you subdivide a large goal and these are no longer that difficult to achieve – these different goals then appear achievable to you in this way. You have many small successes on your way that motivate and support you to really stick with it until the big goal is reached.
Visualize your goal
A particularly reinforcing effect is the visualization. Our imaginations are extremely strong. Imagine a lemon that you bite into – is everything now contracting? You probably already notice a change. You use exactly this power with your weight loss goal. On the one hand, you can do it by closing your eyes and imagining in as much detail as possible – preferably with all 5 senses – how you feel and look when you have reached your goal and thus your desired weight.
Another possibility of visualization is to paint your future self and don’t worry, you don’t have to be a good artist and don’t show the result of your drawing skills to anyone. Do it just for you, a lot will happen in your subconscious. Just give it a try!
Gratitude for your success
Another very powerful exercise is the gratitude practice. Generally speaking, gratitude helps you focus on the positive things in your life. You can also use this in the area of losing weight. As already mentioned: try to break your big goal into many small goals. Every time you have achieved a partial goal, be thankful that you have achieved that goal. Write this down: “I’m thankful for …”
Of course, you can also do the gratitude practice every day and thus focus on the things that bring positive energy into your life on a daily basis. Of course, you can write it down on days when you reach your partial goal in the area of losing weight.
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Recognize and resolve patterns
Often we have incorporated certain patterns or routines into our everyday life that we are no longer really aware of. When changing your diet, it is important to question these patterns and, if necessary, to resolve them. A pattern can be, for example, that you always nibble something sweet after dinner – here mindfulness can help you to recognize whether you really want that piece of chocolate or whether it doesn’t have to be every day (or, for example, . maybe a rib is enough instead of 4). Such patterns can be many different. One of them can also be that you eat because of feelings rather than hunger: the so-called emotional eating.
If you recognize emotional eating as a pattern in yourself, then you can work on it consciously. Emotional eating is characterized by the fact that it is not the feeling of hunger that is the reason for the increase in food, but an emotional reason, such as a feeling, a person or a place. This compensates for a certain feeling or a situation with the food and the body does not ask for food itself because it really needs it. When you have recognized the pattern of emotional eating, you have already taken the first step towards overcoming emotional eating! Before you eat anything, ask yourself why you want to eat something. In this way you can find out which emotional triggers apply to you personally. In the next step, you have to find an alternative for the respective trigger and so you change your habits. By repeating the alternatives over and over, they become a habit and you gradually train yourself off of the emotional eating.
An important point in mental training is: be patient! Habits don’t change overnight and sometimes it takes some time until you are “untrained”! Working with patterns and beliefs, in particular, is fundamentally important, but at the same time takes a long time. This is completely understandable, because some patterns or beliefs have already developed in our childhood – you don’t change that from one day to the next!
Mental training exercises can help you to achieve your goals more easily and in this particular example: to lose weight more easily. If you include mental training in your weight loss process, it can even be that your life changes even more positively beyond losing weight!