Think thin? Anna, I’ve NEVER been thin. And it’s already making me feel hungry! Wait, wait…hear me out! I don’t want you to be thin. I just want you to think thin. It’s my catch phrase reminder that helped me meet my fitness and body goals. And the first step is changing your mindset.
First Thing’s First – Write Yourself a Love Letter
That’s right! You are so lovable, but how often do you acknowledge that? You have a husband or wife (or tree…it’s a thing…look it up!) that wants to spend the rest of their life with you. You probably have a support system around you, even if it’s just one other friend or family member, that love you and will be part of your special day. You may have a child that makes you the center of their world. You may have an animal that jumps all over you when you get home. You probably tell and show the people in your life how much you care about them. It’s about time you show yourself some tender loving care.
Before you do anything, I suggest you set the mood. Change into something that makes you feel absolutely beautiful and confident. Play some music or a speech that makes you feel strong. Then look at your fine self in a mirror and say “I am beautiful and worthy, and I deserve this”. I’m sorry, but I know you can do it better than that. Louder woman!
I AM BEAUTFUL AND WORTHY, AND I DESERVE THIS!
That was great! Yes you are and yes you do. Now, you are ready to write yourself a love letter. And if you don’t like writing, use your phone or camera and make a video of yourself. The point is that you want to be able to revisit this document at any time. Now, pour your heart out to yourself. Think of all the amazing things your support system would say about you. List something about your looks or skills or talents you have. That cute space between your teeth. That spelling bee you won in 7th grade. How quickly you learned coding. The fact that you had the highest GPA in your class when you graduated as a biochemical engineer. List it all, big and small. Anytime you start thinking about yourself in a negative way, read (or watch) this letter.
Set Meaningful Goals
One of the most profound things I noticed as a bridal coach was that my brides had very ambitious, very vapid goals.
I want to be a size 6 by my wedding day.
I have to lose 40 pounds before I walk down that aisle.
I want my cheekbones and décolletage to stick out.
I got my ring sized down as motivation.
Now, these are great goals, but this is not how you think thin. These are meaningless goals on their own. Ok, so you lose that 40 pounds, and then what? Too many times I have seen brides meet their health and fitness goals, and 6 months later they are more out of shape than when they started. Don’t just think about your wedding. Envision the woman you want to be for the rest of your life. Start with that image, and work out what you need to do to get there and stay there. Start a list of why you want to lose weight without mentioning your wedding.
While quantitative tracking is important throughout this journey, don’t make that the focal point. I don’t suggest tracking weight loss metrics more than once every 2 weeks. My most successful brides start with a goal that will improve their quality of life.
I don’t want to be out of breath climbing the stairs anymore.
I want to walk my dog with breaking in to a sweat.
I want to feel confident again and not think people are staring at me eating at restaurants.
I want to feel great naked with the lights on!
This is how you think thin. Make goals that make sense and are meaningful to you.
Why Willpower is a Losing Game
We’ve all heard it before. If we only had more willpower, we would be in the body we want. Whoever thought of this concept should get their head examined. I have never met anyone who has lost weight with willpower and kept it off permanently.
I like to think of this concept in terms of a casino. You and your willpower are players. Your bad habits are the house. Sure, you may have a few minor wins. But as you keep playing, you see that the deck is not stacked in your favor. Ultimately, the house always wins. Always.
Setting yourself up for success is a much better approach. In 3 simple steps, here is a basic plan I would suggest to anyone starting out:
- Make your lifestyle changes gradually. Starting a juice detox cleanse and getting a personal trainer at the same time is too dramatic of a change, too quickly. Start with your diet. Clean out your fridge and cupboards and get rid of anything that you know is bad for your health and tempting. Incorporate fitness a few weeks later.
- Plan your meals. Weekly or semi-weekly meal preparation is one of the most successful methods I have ever seen. Cook all or most of your meals once or twice a week, package and label them, and put them in the fridge. When it’s meal time, all you have to do is look for the right label and eat. No thinking required. There are many websites and apps that can help you calculate the nutritional information. If you can afford it, there are also meal prep companies that cook and deliver everything to your door without you lifting a finger.
- Find support. Sharing this experience with like-minded people who can support you makes all the difference in how successful you will be. Find a fitness buddy to share wins with, vent to, and who you are accountable to. If you can’t think of someone, join a group. There are a multitude of amazingly support fitness groups online.
Change Your Reward System
It is important to celebrate and reward yourself when you achieve goals – even small goals that will lead you to your bigger goal. That said, food can no longer be a reward to you. I’m sorry, but this is a bad habit that will have to be replaced.
I get it. Pastries are my favorite food in the world. There’s just something about that butter, flour, and sugar trifecta that just makes life worth living. Research confirms that high calorie and high sugar foods rapidly increase dopamine – your brain’s feel-good hormone. By continuously rewarding yourself with food, you create a positive reinforcement loop. This is what makes addictions so hard to break. The key is to stop associating celebration with food.
Very rarely can habits be stopped, they have to be replaced. Take this as a fun opportunity to find non-food related things that make you happy and use those to reward yourself. So ask yourself this question: What makes me feel happy inside? Is it buying that bracelet you’ve been eyeing forever at the mall? Perhaps a spa day? Indulging yourself in a good book for a few hours? Visiting that museum exhibit you are interested in? Find it! And do it when you accomplish your goal.
You Are Worth the Change
It can be quite an adjustment to think thin. Most life changes are difficult, but it is worth it when you finally establish a healthy mental and physical pattern. Consider this:
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” –Socrates
And there is no time like the present. Don’t procrastinate on putting yourself first. You can make these changes. You can learn to love yourself again. You can set yourself up for success. You can reward yourself differently.
And never forget that you are beautiful, you are worthy, and you deserve this.