While pop diet book culture and the weight loss industry peddles a cure-all for excess weight, true transformation lies beneath the surface. At the heart of change are 2 universal truths;
1. You are already awesome.
We live in a society of self-hate. Media and pop culture deliver subtle, yet highly effective messages. The common theme: You aren’t good enough.. You aren’t pretty/muscular/cool enough. Through this emerges a comparative mindset. It has been said that comparison is the thief of joy. I firmly believe this to be true.
The very first step in any health-enhancing journey is to realize the universal truth that you are already good enough. Self-love and self-acceptance are the epicenter of change. Self-love leads to self-awareness which leads to self-discipline which leads to habits which begets results.
In essence, self-discipline and mindset transformation burn in the flame of self-acceptance.
By all means DO NOT accept your SITUATION but DO accept YOURSELF.
The quintessential truth about mindset is that it is far more interpretation than it is fact. In any given moment we are governed more by our perceptions, influences and deep-seeded belief systems.
2. You are deeply flawed.
This may seem like a harsh indictment. It’s not; in fact it’s part of what makes us human. Wonderfully, fallibly and awesomely (see above) human. The brain is monumentally complex piece of machinery. Really we have 2 brains. One brain forms the outer regions (largely the prefrontal cortex). This brain is logical, calculating and new. It’s undergone many software upgrades and has capacity for more. In contrast, our brain which resides in the inner regions (limbic area) is instinctive, primitive and built to survive as well as seek pleasure.
The problem is that we as humans are under the delusion that our new brains (ie. The logical bits) are the one’s calling the shots in any given moment of our lives. In reality, it’s our old, instinctive and pleasure-seeking brains that are constantly prodding our upgraded, more sophisticated structure into making decisions. More often than not, these moment-to-moment, day-to-day choices are undermining our goals – whether that goal is to drop 3 dress or pant sizes or file our income taxes on time. While our newer, more logical brains know we should build a salad instead of hit the drive through or organize our accounts rather than Netflix-binge, our ancient brain deliver imperceptible whisperings – steering us towards the more immediately gratifying activity. Our lives are a constant battle between “should do’s” and “want to’s”.
The good news is that our biology and brain wiring is flexible – responsive to experience and therefore “trainable” to work in our favors. We have biological disadvantages to be sure, but they are not life sentences. As mentioned previously one of the features of our newer brains is that the software is upgradable – receptive to new experiences. The key is not to fight our primitive instincts but rather to work WITH them.
Take Home Points/Action Steps
1. Put your mental efforts fully into loving and accepting yourself: This will be a process as often the feelings of shame, self-loathing and self-flagellation can run deep. In fact you may not even be aware that you are too hard on yourself. Prioritize this – starting right now.
2. Learn about how you fail: Taking an honest inward look at what prompts us to veer off course. Self-awareness is critical for self-discipline. We need to hold up a full-length mirror and chip away at the habits that are sabotaging our health. What is it that precipitates your unhealthy eating/sedentary behavior? Identify it and work hard to disrupt the cycle.
3. Don’t think, do: Don’t wait for inspiration to strike – hit first. Even if you don’t know exactly how, start with simple steps of moving more and adding vegetables to your day. Do this consistently.
4. When you feel negativity, resistance, an urge to compare, the tendency to self-judge – divert. Realize that this is only a perception and not reality. Change your narrative. You are not your current weight/situation/fitness level.
5. Beware of your justifications: “I will start tomorrow”, “It’s my birthday month”, “YOLO”, “I’ve already blown it so what the heck”… These are some of the more common manifestations of your instinctive ancient brain. Call BS on these loopholes – immediately.