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If you're struggling to lose weight, then the story I am going to share will probably sound very familiar. But over the last month, I've make incredible changes. Did I lose a ton of weight? Nope. I worked on my mindset! I know, it sounds super woo-woo and if you've been following this blog for a while then you know I like straight, honest talk and proven methods and strategies. All of the diets and workout plans I've tried for years haven't worked for me. I knew I was missing something so I started a program from NeuroGym called Winning the Game of Weight Loss, which is helping me think about weight loss differently. It's not diets and work out plans … NeuroGym is all about mindset! The NeuroGym program starts with a Weight Loss Quiz and then goes into the Winning the Game of Weight Loss Webinar before starting the program. Keep reading to see how to get into the webinar and to learn 5 ways to change your weight loss mindset.
Over the last ten years I've gained 100 pounds. I knew there had to be more to the story than a lack of discipline or making poor choices or eating too much and exercising too little. Every time I bring up losing weight, people rush in with their ideas and tips and well-meaning but not welcome advice to “work out more” or “try this new diet” or “well, you have to try harder”. Having been overweight most of my life, don't they think I've tried those things?! It's not like I woke up one day and said, “Hey, I want to get fat!”. I'd love to know if you have had some of the same struggles with friends and family trying to “help” you (please tell me in the comments!).
We are smart people here … there's got to be some reason why weight loss programs just don't stick for some of us! We're trying hard, we're working out, we're not getting results … or when we do get results, the weight doesn't stay off for long. And then there's the “feeling fat” issue. Even when I was in the Army, fit and able to over 70 pushups in 2 minutes, I still felt “fat”. What gives?!
Mindset is the differentiating factor.
Being overweight is not “your fault”
While I was watching the Winning the Game of Weight Loss Webinar through NeuroGym, one of the most refreshing things I heard was that being overweight is not your fault. I had like a hallelujah moment there! I'm over here eating 2 vegan meals a day, cutting out sugar and dairy, trying to hit these 10,000 steps when my feet and knees are killing me, and I step on the scale and it says I gained 2 pounds? Talk about feeling like nothing is working!
The Winning the Game of Weight Loss Webinar explained a lot of the misinformation and culture around weight loss that has led to our biggest challenge in losing weight: our mindset. Over this last year, I've been reading lots of business success books and listening to podcasts and a lot of the mindset information I heard from the Winning the Game of Weight Loss Webinar complimented what I've been hearing from uber-successful business experts. Our mind is really our most powerful tool for everything in our lives!
Business experts tell you that you need to believe you deserve success and that you are capable of great things in order to then gain that success and achieve those great things. When it comes to weight loss, we need to believe that we are fit and healthy and that we deserve the best life. You cannot succeed at weight loss and achieving health if in your mind you believe you are a failure. Your mind does what you tell it to do … if you beat yourself up and tell yourself you are fat and a failure because that nutso potato diet didn't work, then your mind will keep you on that path to failure and potato diets. Maybe it will be a banana diet next but you get my point, right?
There are also changes in our culture and environment that are making weight loss really challenging. We are expected to be super busy all the time. Whether you work long days or you're a stay at home parent shuffling kids all over for soccer practice and ballet, our days are super full! Our society is set up so that fast, low quality, processed food is easy and cheap to get. Add to that the advertising and branding that makes you WANT those foods even more, and it's extra challenging to not only make good choices for yourself but to also make good choices for your family. If the kids are crying for a burger and fries, it's really hard to go home and make yourself a salad. Organic food, fresh food, and homemade food takes time. You've got to shop for groceries, wash and prep them, and then make the food for your meal.
Not only is the food deck stacked against us but our work and social structure is working against us. We sit in our cars on the way to work and school. We spend all day at work and school sitting. We get home and sit to watch TV. As we move less and less, our bodies need fewer calories to power our bodies. So now we're cutting calories WAYYYY back to lose weight. Sure, you can go to the gym … but a large portion of the day is still spent sitting.
This was super evident to me after Basic Training in the Army. In Basic, you're moving constantly. The “resting” position is called the “front leaning rest”; it's basically the “up” position of a push-up. Right after Basic, lots of soldiers tend to gain weight. Why? Because their next assignment is usually in a classroom setting where they learn their specialized job. And where they are sitting all day. No matter how much you work out or how fit you are, if you are spending most of the day sitting, you'll burn a lot less calories.
Add to this society's general perception that overweight people are gross, bad, and somehow lacking the self-respect and discipline to just stop eating so much. As an overweight person, you feel it when people treat you differently. When I fly, I am always stressed out about whoever sits next to me on the plane — will they be bothered that my thigh or arm are touching them? Can we all just agree that even if you're skinny, plane seats are TINY? But we've all seen the news stories chastising overweight people for spilling over their seats … I've even seen people I know post about it on Facebook and make jokes about overweight passengers. How can you make positive moves in your life when your society tells you awful things about yourself?
Add all of these things up and it's no wonder it is so hard to lose weight. It's easy to understand the self-loathing and defeatist thoughts an overweight person can have. Given all of this, we still have power over our minds. And our minds are more powerful than all of these factors combined.
The first step to changing you mindset about weight loss is to know that being overweight is not your fault.
Talk to yourself like the person you want to be
Negative self talk is a powerful adversary. We've all eaten that donut and then chastised ourselves for not having willpower or for derailing our latest healthy eating efforts. In our own mind, we need to talk to ourselves differently about how we see ourselves.
The first step is to stop blaming yourself for being overweight or berating yourself for “cheating” or eating the “wrong things”. Our language is powerful and as we beat ourselves down in our heads and punish ourselves, we are reinforcing the idea that we are not strong enough, worthy enough, or disciplined enough to lose weight.
It takes a while to train your brain to start thinking differently. A few years ago I started using a music program that studies brainwaves to play music that will help you either focus, relax, or meditate. At first it seemed silly (I am sooooo not woo-woo). But as I started using it, I realized I got more work done. I could concentrate better because I didn't have the background noise of music with vocals, which can be an issue with focus and productivity according to an article I read recently in TIME Magazine. When I notice my productivity slipping, I put on this special brainwave music and retrain my brain to focus.
We can do the same thing with our self talk. We need to train our brains to talk to ourselves like the people we want to be. I want to be strong, confident, fit, and healthy. I talk to myself as if I already am strong, confident, fit, and healthy. As this healthy, active person, I can resist eating a donut. But if I want the donut, I'm not a bad person. I am confident in myself that I don't need the donut to feel good about myself.
If this is really hard to do, start with thinking about what your fit, active friends might do. If you don't have these people in your life, look to a famous person you can emulate. There is a cast member on a reality show I watch who is always making the most amazing smoothies, working out, and taking great care of herself. I started by imaging what would she do in a situation. She is more powerful than a donut. And I can be too.
Make everyday meals special
We all joke about healthy food tasting like sawdust or being bland and boring but it is only that way if you make it that way. Think about what makes a meal really special… the garnish on the side, the way the vegetables were cut, or how everything is plated on pretty dishes.
Why not add a pretty sprig of basil to your bowl of zoodles? You can make the everyday meals in your home extra special and appetizing by adding garnishes, making them look pretty on a nice dish or bowl, and by just creating beautiful food that you'll want to eat.
As a blogger, I take lots of photos of food so I have thought a lot about what makes food “pretty” and appetizing. I'm also a foodie so I love eating out at amazing, interesting restaurants. One thing I've really noticed through these experiences is that the presentation makes a HUGE difference in how you experience your food.
People are always saying how hard it is to drink plain water but we all know we should be drinking water every day. Why not make your water feel extra special? Everybody loves a cute and pretty drink so make drinking water a similar experience.
Here are some ways to dress up your water:
- Add sliced citrus fruit
- Add other fresh fruits in the glass or as a garnish
- Use a cute straw or cup for your water
- Fresh herbs like mint and basil can make water taste amazing!
When I've been eating a lot of fast food, my tastes change so that when I do try to transition to eating fresh, healthier foods, those foods don't taste all that great the first few days. Have you ever experienced that? It seems around the third day of making better choices, salad stops tasting like dirt and start tasting amazing! If you're gonna be making food at home, treat yourself to special experience. Buy a special, extra pretty plate to have your salad on. Get a cute glass for your water. Who says you can't have pretty food at home?
My kids' friends call our house “fancy living” but let's be honest: don't we all wish we had “fancy living” everyday!?
Look at “working out” differently: Working out is self care
In our culture, we look at working out and staying in shape as a chore. Being brought up in a family that did not work out at a gym or go running or anything like that, I didn't really know how to work out. I was actually pretty strong as a teenager because we were very active; we rode horses and bicycles, we were always doing yard work or gardening, and we were busy all the time. Since we lived in a very rural area, we didn't even have TV service and my parents didn't buy us gaming systems. We literally spent most of our childhood outside doing active things.
Fast forward about 10 years and I got an office job. I was now sitting in a chair for a large portion of every day. I quickly started packing on the pounds and it hasn't really stopped since then. One of the things shared in NeuroGym's teachings that really stuck out to me was an explanation of how our culture of sitting in chairs all day has actually made it almost impossible to lose weight. According to workout expert JJ Virgin on the NeuroGym Winning the Game of Weight Loss Webinar, it's basically not natural for us to sit all day. The “sitting disease” (as they call it) makes us feel more tired, so then we eat more because our bodies feel like they need energy, and then it takes even more effort to pull yourself off the couch and get to the gym. Sound familiar? When I heard this, I was like, “BINGO!”. No one I've ever crossed paths with has spoken this way about how our lifestyle is setting us up for weight loss failure.
The first strategy is to get more active throughout the day. Working at home, I can control how my day looks so I can work in time to get up and move around. But even if you don't work at home, there are things you can do to get more active. And here's the bonus: once you get more active, you'll actually be more productive at work! I experienced this after about the third day of moving around the office more and taking more breaks. I felt brighter and more alert, my back wasn't hurting as much, and I stopped feeling that tired slump around 2pm every day. You know what slump I am talking about! Who knew that sitting all day made you feel more tired?!
The experts at NeuroGym teach that just a little bit of activity can really increase your base metabolic rate. Did you know that we are supposed to be burning around 3000 calories a day?! Yet most diets are 1200 calories or less per day for women … and that's because we have decreased the number of calories our body needs to survive because we sit all day.
How to get more active at work
Working in an office, it can seem difficult to get away from your desk to “work out”. The easiest and most logical way to get active at work is to take a walk. My husband does this every day on this two 20 minute work breaks. But that's only twice a day. To try to stay more active at work during the day, here are some easy, not crazy, methods I've used:
- Stand up and stretch. A friend of the family is a massage therapist. Last year we were all making tamales together and I complained about my neck and shoulder pain. She gave me a quick assessment and then showed me a series of simple stretches to release the tension. She told me to do them every 30 minutes. I thought, “Hey lady, if I stretch every 30 minutes, I'll never get any work done!” So I set a timer on my phone for every 90 minutes, starting at 8am when I get to work and ending at 930pm when I start winding down to go to bed. I stand up and stretch to the ceiling and then do a series of basic stretches.
- Wall push-ups. Every time you go to the restroom, break room, or water cooler, use a few extra minutes in the stall or hallway to do a series of wall push-ups. At home, I do these in the hallway on the way back from my master bath to the office. What I love about wall push-ups is that anyone can do them in any type of clothing, even a dress! I used to be able to do over 200 push-ups in one sitting when I was in the Army. Now I can't even do one regular push-up. But I can do 100 wall push-ups in a day! Last year my daughter Katie demonstrated how to do wall push-ups; I like to do them in sets of 10. I track each set in my planner throughout the day as I try to get to that goal of 100 wall push-ups per day.
- Take the long way. If you need to go to the copier room or run over to a conference room, take the long way around. It will only take another 30 seconds or so to walk around the building rather than make a bee line for the short cut to your next meeting. At home, I take a couple laps around my kitchen island or work table when I get up to go do something away from the office.
Going to the gym
Nobody LOVES going to the gym. But we're all focused on the wrong things when it comes to “going to the gym”. You might start thinking about how it's smelly in there, you have to drive far, what if your clothes aren't cute enough, how that guy didn't shower before getting in the pool, how you're gonna get all sweaty and have to shower so now it's gonna take TWO hours to go to the gym and work out … these are all things that I have told myself that deter me from going to the gym. Have you told yourself similar things?
I've been reading Jen Sincero's business books and the quote above really stuck out to me: “You can have your excuses or you can have success. You can't have both” – Jen Sincero.
It's so true! As long as you are making excuses, you aren't making progress. And when it comes to weight loss, it's even more than that. Because that quote alone makes you think you can just brute force your way through things … that if you work harder, you'll some how lose weight and win at life. But if you apply the philosophies shared by the Winning the Game of Weight Loss experts with Jen's quote as it relates to working out, then you realize that you are delaying your success with your excuses.
Remember how earlier I shared about talking to yourself like you're the person you want to be, that fit, active, and healthy person? I always envision myself as really active … once I get fit. But if I am not active NOW, I will never get fit and I will never be active and fit. Going to the gym is one of the things fit people do. To become the person you want to be, you need to BE that person TODAY. And that means going to the gym.
That fit person you want to be is active. She does all kinds of different activities to be active and fit … going to the gym might be one of them. She loves it. She feels better afterwards. She feels rewarded and fulfilled. Imagine what that will feel like. Go to the gym for those reasons. And so what if that gross guy didn't shower before getting in the pool? You're gonna take a shower after working out anyways, right? You are being active for you and no one else.
Treat yourself like the person you want to be
One of my biggest takeaways from these last few weeks in Winning the Game of Weight Loss is to treat yourself like the person you want to be. That means in your mind, this is how you see yourself. In your eating habits and choices, you act like you are already her. And in your daily routines, you do the things the active, fit version of you does.
But it's more than that. It is all about treating yourself like this person. Make small conscious efforts to treat yourself like you ALREADY ARE the person you envision your perfect self to be. In Winning the Game of Weight Loss, they ask for you to journal about the reasons why you want to lose the weight. For me, there are a lot of reasons … I want to wear cuter clothes, I want to move around more easily, I want to travel comfortably, to name a few of my reasons. To treat myself like the person I want to be, I dress in cute clothes that fit. There are lots of plus size clothes that are cute so if I envision myself wearing cute, casual outfits as a fit person, I am going to treat myself to cute casual outfits now. The second part of that is making the effort to wear those clothes, put on a little bit of make up, and brush my hair. I know that sounds silly but when you are overweight and work at home, sometimes you just want to sit around in sweats all day. But you can't become that person you want to be if you don't act like her now.
Every day I try to do one more little thing to treat myself like the person I want to be. Today for example, I am wearing a pair of cute coral khakis with a new graphic tee I just bought last week instead of my usual knit shorts and t-shirt. I've got my cute new sunglasses on and my favorite earrings. I picked fresh berries in my garden, still warm from the morning sun, and put them atop a bowl of steel cut oats with almond milk, cinnamon, and chia seeds (this goes back to my point about making everyday meals feel special). I've stretched a couple of times and did a few laps around the house and it isn't even 9 am yet. We had to take a car to the mechanic this morning and while I was there, I chatted up another customer and he could not believe I am 39 years old. I feel fitter, healthier, and more alive. I can't wait for these pounds to keep falling off!
Want to learn more about NeuroGym and Winning the Game of Weight Loss?
Take the FREE Weight Loss Quiz at NeuroGym to get started. This short but in-depth quiz will give you insights to your personal weight loss journey and how your mind may be stopping you from losing weight. A video at the end shares your results and invites you to the Winning the Game of Weight Loss free webinar for more information.
- The quiz takes about 5-10 minutes
- It's 10 question quiz
- Your user score determines which video you're sent to watch after the quiz
- The duration of your video will be around 2-3 minutes based on your score
After taking the quiz, you'll be invited to the Winning the Game of Weight Loss Free Webinar. This free recorded webinar offers 3 hours of training from 4 experts: John Assaraf, JJ Virgin, Ari Whitten and Marc David. The focus of the webinar is on how mindset is crucial to the success of any weight loss goal and explains why most people yo-yo and gain back any weight they’ve lost using other programs. I takes about 2 hours to watch the free Webinar, which is always on Thursdays at 5:30 pm EST, 4:30 pm CST, 2:30 pm PST. From there, you'll be invited to join the NeuroGym program.
When you purchase Winning the Game of Weight Loss you get access for life; there are no monthly fees or renewals you have to worry about ever again!
What's your favorite mindset hack?
Tell me in the comments below!