Wednesday, October 24, 2012

11 Mental Preparation Tips For Losing Weight


         What's the first thing you need to lose weight? Before you step foot in the gym, or before you step foot in a grocery store... The will to lose weight, and the want. But low and behold life is not always so easy. "My favorite TV show is on tonight and my girlfriends are all coming over to watch it, so I will do cardio tomorrow instead." "It's football season, the guys are all watching the game at the bar, so I will lift tomorrow instead." "I'm depressed and don't want to work out. I'm sad and eating makes me feel better." Unfortunately, the short term solutions to happiness are much easier then the Iron Church, but they are not sustainable, and the joys that come from them are also not. In talking with and training hundreds of clients the same issues have always come up with weight loss, and here's a hint it's not genetics, money, or adequate workout facilities. It's mental. The two biggest mental blocks, are commitment, and knowledge.
     I'm blessed, when I'm depressed my appetite goes down. So I don't know what it's like to eat to feel better, but I do know what it feels like when life sucks. Too many people dealing with weight, turn to their old ways time and time again. It is not biologically necessary to consume the amount of calories we at times consume. It's rooted in mental status, and society now. We were never meant to have these humongous portions and body fat. Fat is adipose tissue, it is biologically meant for long term storage of energy supplies. Well... I don't feel the end of the world is too close, so I think it's safe to say we can lean out for now. Some of the steps you need to take to overcome the mental aspect of eating is dealing with it as mental and biological. If someone is an alcoholic or trying to quit smoking they can't be in a bar, or have cigarettes at home. Weight loss is the same, your fridge needs to be expunged of all the crap that got you overweight in the first place. So does the pantry, the beer fridge, the snack jar, etc. If you have kids that like that food, now would be a good time to start teaching them that health wise it's not the best way to go. Here's a short check list of how to start mentally preparing to be committed to a better diet and health life style:
  1. Clear out your fridge as discussed. Most things shouldn't stay in your fridge long, healthy food generally doesn't live long, because it's alive. If you need things for long term storage think canned vegetable, or canned meat, but not with unnecessary ingredients. Your home is where you have 100% control, there will no doubt be times when you are out that you may have to eat less than perfect or maybe even bad food, but home is where you really need to keep things in line.
  2. Learn to read labels. I will write an article and do a video on this soon, but for now, generally speaking if you can't identify everything in the container, think twice about whether or not it is healthy. 
  3. Tell your closest friends or family first what you are doing, and get their support. I know that when I've come to your place in the past you've made me my favorite pizza or whatever, but I'm really committing to losing weight this time, I don't want to go to a doctor every month of my thirties, and I don't want to use a motorized scooter to get around in my forties. You're still my best friend/family member, but lets eat something else.
  4. Find out the healthy foods you like, and thrive on them. I love hummus, when I'm tempted to hit a crap place for food, I can get some veggies and hummus and once my stomach is settled that mental desire for drive thru food is completely gone. Some suggestions here.
  5. Watch less TV. You don't have to go cold turkey, but give up one show right now, use that time for the gym and fitness, even if it means just reading up on health in that hour.
  6. Be prepared for negativity. Not everyone believes eating healthy and training are good things, you are going to die anyway right? The food you are eating that grew from the ground or came directly from an animal without being fried or covered in butter, is gross. Why are you going to the gym? You are too old to get into pro sports or modeling? Who cares? Just remember when you get negative feedback, it's your body, not their's, and you are the best person to take care of it.
  7. Set up a schedule! You have to know your times you will go to the gym unless you have extreme flexibility, this may mean waking up an hour early and showering at the gym before you go to work. Keep a gym bag in your car or your locker at work/school so that if you get out early or work late you can get to the gym without delays.
  8. Set up a diet schedule. Know what you are going to eat each week, you may not have to track every calorie but have a real good idea when you are food shopping of what you should be buying.
  9. Weigh in daily! I recommend a scale that does bodyfat as well like the one below on amazon, but weigh in daily and keep a log of your weight, it doesn't have to be extremely detailed, "Weight, body fat%, time of weigh in, and a brief sentence on diet factors (mostly veggies slipped and had a soda drink.) Weighing in everyday will be a great way to see your diet trends and weight loss trends.


  10. Be socially prepared. The challenges are going to be extreme. I have eaten before going to bad restaurants. At the firehouse when I am done with my first plate, I put it in the dishwasher before everyone is done eating then return to the table. By not having a plate in front of me the urge to get seconds is easily suppressed. Remember when looking at a menu that once you start eating something healthy and are full you will not care that you didn't order the mac and cheese plate. You under no obligation in life to eat all you can eat at all you can eat buffet! Remember that.
  11. Keep food in your car/backpack. This part is hard, it's not going to be gourmet, but keep something there. I live in Arizona, so I also need food that is not heat sensitive, so I usually keep a protein bar in the summer, or cliff bars the rest of the year. I have a smaller car, and keep all my fire fighter stuff in the trunk, if you have some trunk space I recommend keeping some canned food and disposable utensils if you can. This will help you avoid road food, and save you time! 
I hope these tips help you, as always feel free to write me with any questions or comment below.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, consult a doctor or medical professional before beginning any diet, fitness, or weight training program.


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