If I told you to stop thinking about chocolate, could you do it?
Personally, if I think about cutting myself off from chocolate cold turkey it becomes ALL I can THINK about. In fact I’m a step away from racing out the door to pick up a sneaky Kit-Kat.
Weight loss in particular and changing habits in general is, I feel, as much of a mental game as running. 80% mental effort, 20% physical (or some split of the sort).
I have a couple of tricks I picked up last year (probably not originally my idea but picked up from Women’s Health or similar) which help me flex that will-power muscle. It doesn’t always work but even 3 or 4 times out of ten ain’t bad.
1. I imagine how sick I would feel after eating something unhealthy
Ever had a sickening sugar high? Or a queasy stomach after a greasy bucket of KFC or Big Mac? Massive need to drink buckets of water after eating pizza? I know I have, and thinking about how crap I would feel PHYSICALLY helps my willpower overcome my craving. This is particularly helpful for my hot chip ban, I think about that gross oily coating I get in my mouth after eating too many hot chips. Blerk.
2. It’s not that I CAN’T have it, it’s that I don’t WANT it
This one is classic. I think it’s probably why I failed at Weight Watchers. Knowing I couldn’t have something because I had exceeded my points balance for the day already meant I really REALLY wanted it. Thinking that actually I can eat whatever I like, whenever I like perversely makes me think about it a lot less. For example I went last week without chocolate and I didn’t even notice (this is highly abnormal for me). I indulged in a row of dairy milk after I realised but felt no need to eat any more. Win.
This may seem counter to my hot chip ban but I find focusing on banning just one thing makes it a challenge rather than a deprivation.
3. I don’t weigh myself every day
I have read that weighing yourself every day can be helpful and keep you motivated, but I don’t find that works for me. What I did last year, and am starting again, is weighing myself monthly. Weight loss for me is a long-term goal and is secondary to my aims for better health. In any case fitness goals are much more short-term and just as easily measured and compared, i.e. lift slightly more weight, run or ride just a little faster or longer. I take my measurements weekly to make sure I’m still on track (waist, stomach and hips), but I avoid those scales like the plague.
On a side note I may actually be losing my mind.
After my spin class today I went to get the disinfectant to wipe my bike over for the next person (gym etiquette 101) and…couldn’t remember which bike I’d been on. It wasn’t until I was walking out the door I realised I had wiped down the wrong bike…not five minutes later I walked out to the car park and couldn’t remember where I parked. I literally walked around for 5 minutes before realising I was on the wrong level.
Yep, I’ve lost it big time. I thought working out was supposed to improve mental clarity?!