Stop that mean-girl voice in your head!

If you can si­lence neg­a­tive thoughts, you’re half­way to win­ning.

Weight Watchers Magazine (Australia) - - Contents -

50,000 The es­ti­mated num­ber of thoughts the av­er­age adult has ev­ery day.

Can’t lose weight, can’t keep it off, can’t keep up your ex­er­cise rou­tine. Just can’t. When it comes to weight loss, that mean-girl voice in your head puts up a whole lot of men­tal road­blocks.

Ac­cord­ing to the US Na­tional Science Foun­da­tion, the av­er­age adult has about 50,000 thoughts a day and it’s es­ti­mated that half of th­ese are neg­a­tive. That’s an aw­ful lot of op­por­tu­nity to self-sab­o­tage any ef­forts you’ve made to com­mit to a health­ier life­style. In or­der to win the weight-loss war, your mean girl needs to be shushed – per­ma­nently. Here’s how…

I’LL NEVER DO IT, SO WHY TRY?

One thing’s for cer­tain, if you don’t try you’ll def­i­nitely never do it, so be­fore you give up with­out start­ing (some­thing which, no doubt, we’ve all done at one time or an­other), read what emo­tional eat­ing ex­pert Magic Bar­clay has to say on the sub­ject. Bar­clay, who has lost 76kg and is the au­thor of Stop Be­ing Fat: Love Your­self Skinny, says, “Weight loss is within your reach. All you have to do is ex­tend your grasp.” She uses the acro­nym MAGIC to help peo­ple over­come neg­a­tive thoughts. Mo­ti­va­tion: What is your mo­ti­va­tion? De­cide and then map out ex­actly what you are and what you are not pre­pared to do while you lose weight. Ad­just­ments: What ad­just­ments do you need to make to achieve suc­cess? Think small steps that are achiev­able. Goals: What are your goals? Make sure they are spe­cific, mea­sur­able, achiev­able, re­al­is­tic and time-based. In­trin­sic in­spi­ra­tion: Your weight loss needs to be about you, for you and by you. Con­fi­dence: This breeds suc­cess. Know what you want, why you want it and how you're go­ing to get it.

I’LL NEVER KEEP THE WEIGHT OFF

If you can’t be kind to your­self, who can? Trash-talking will hin­der any chance you

have of suc­ceed­ing. As health psy­chol­o­gist Kelly Mc­go­ni­gal, from Stan­ford Univer­sity in the US, says, “If you fo­cus on self­crit­i­cism, you’ll be like a laser on it.”

In­stead of fo­cus­ing on the neg­a­tive, work out what you want to fix and how you’re go­ing to get there – and stay there. Like any­thing that’s worth do­ing, it will take plan­ning, com­mit­ment and ded­i­ca­tion. But you’ve got this. You’ve just got to be­lieve it.

I WAS BORN TO BE THE FAT GIRL

No, you were born to be you. Af­ter all, ev­ery­one else is already taken. Learn to love ev­ery last bit of you – the bits you like and, yes, the bits you shy away from look­ing at in the mir­ror. Above all, ditch the naysay­ers.

Par­tic­i­pants in a new study at North Carolina State Univer­sity in the US had all ex­pe­ri­enced peo­ple who be­lit­tled or un­der­mined their weight-loss ef­forts. By de­vel­op­ing strate­gies to com­bat this neg­a­tiv­ity, the par­tic­pants lost an av­er­age of 34.8kg. The study high­lights the im­por­tance of sup­port­ive re­la­tion­ships in weight-loss jour­neys. So sur­round your­self with your own cheer squad who will love, sup­port and help you reach your goal.

WHY SHOULD THIS TIME WORK?

If you’ve strug­gled with weight loss for years, it can be hard to imag­ine a time – and a life – when you have reached your goal. Re­mind your­self of what your fu­ture could look like by cre­at­ing some vis­ual in­spi­ra­tion. Start by get­ting a pin­board and cov­er­ing it with im­ages of your healthy vi­sion and quotes that will pick you up on even the dark­est day.

Here’s why it will work. While re­search­ing the power of vi­su­al­i­sa­tion, Aus­tralian psy­chol­o­gist Alan Richard­son asked a group of bas­ket­ball play­ers to vi­su­alise shoot­ing hoops with­out prac­tis­ing them. Af­ter 20 days, their skills had im­proved al­most as much as an­other group of play­ers who phys­i­cally prac­tised ev­ery day (there was only a one per cent dif­fer­ence be­tween them). Vi­su­al­i­sa­tion cre­ates an im­pulse in the brain that tells our neu­rons to ‘per­form’ what we vi­su­alised. This cre­ates a new neu­ral path­way that pre­pares our body to act in a way that’s con­sis­tent to what we imag­ined. See­ing re­ally is be­liev­ing.

NOTH­ING IN MY LIFE GOES RIGHT

Turn this neg­a­tive thought process around by keep­ing a jour­nal of your thoughts and feel­ings. Writ­ing them down in­stantly gives them less power over you.

Think­ing pos­i­tively takes prac­tise and time. Ac­cord­ing to Univer­sity Col­lege Lon­don, UK, psy­chol­o­gist Phillippa Lally, it takes 66 days for a habit to be­come un­fail­ingly au­to­matic, so start cel­e­brat­ing the small tri­umphs, not the lit­tle losses in your day. You had pizza when it wasn’t part of your meal plan? But maybe you stopped at two slices. That’s a win, my friend.

66 DAYS is how long it takes for a habit to be­come au­to­matic, so start cel­e­brat­ing the small tri­umphs, not the lit­tle losses in your day.

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