Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Mindset is Key

I'm working on a healthy weight-loss program to help shed some pounds I've put on in part through stressing over caregiving, etc. Call me crazy for doing this during the holidays, but things are going well, and my enthusiasm is high. Even better, I recently came across a book that I feel will help keep me energized and committed over the long haul. I believe it's also going to assist me in maintaining my weight loss - because I'm changing my MINDSET toward weight management!

This book is so transformational I believe it can significantly assist anyone who wants to get to a healthier place get there. In case you are interested, it's The Shift: 7 Powerful Mindset Changes for Lasting Weight Loss, by Gary Foster, Ph.D. I just listened to it over the past few days on audiobook while doing housework, etc. It's so good I've now ordered the hardcopy as I want to reread it, underline my favorite parts, and keep reading it for inspiration.

Foster is the chief science officer of Weight Watchers, but the book isn't really as much about the WW program as it is about cultivating a mindset that can help empower each of us to manage our weight in a healthy way. It doesn't matter which healthy weight-loss program you are on or want to go on, strengthening and fortifying your mental game will only help you become more successful!

I found Foster's clinical experience working with overweight and obese patients, the scientific research he pulled from, and his empathy for those who struggle with weight issues to add impact to his powerful insights on what mental attitudes and strategies do and do not foster healthier choices and better weight management. Much of what he said resonated with me, and I'm excited to have started using the new mental tools he advocates.

Foster offers seven mindset changes to employ. One is learning how to cultivate self-compassion and become more realistic in how we see ourselves. The biggest problem many of us have is getting down on ourselves and letting that self-talk derail us from making healthier choices either temporarily or even longer. When our self-talk is negative it makes us feel bad and feeling bad tends to kill our motivation and resolve, fosters self-defeating behaviors, and tends to spur overeating, Foster explains.

Do any of the following self-negating statements sound familiar?

If I was a stronger person, I wouldn't be so overweight.
I'm heavy, so what's the use of trying to look good.
I messed up by eating too much at the party, so I might as well give up on the whole thing.
I just don't seem to have the willpower to make healthy choices.
What's the use of losing weight, I'll just gain it back. I always do.

Foster shares specific techniques for counteracting those thoughts by questioning the reality of them and cultivating more body-positive thoughts such as

I can choose to use strategies that will better serve my weight management.
I do weigh more than I would like, but when I fix myself up and dress well I feel better about myself.
I've chosen to eat healthy most days this week. The party was only one day.
I can take steps to make it easier to make healthy choices.
I can maintain my weight loss by cultivating an ongoing healthy lifestyle and addressing setbacks.

After listening to the book I feel better about myself and more equipped to cultivate the self-talk and the mental strategies that will help me to become even more effective in weight loss and maintenance. Best of luck to you on your weight journey!