I just finished an 8 week transformation challenge with my gym and I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the whole process of fat loss. In my two-week challenge recap post I shared a ton of nutrition tips for fat loss but today I want to talk about the mentalities that play a role in weight loss.

Overcoming mental limitations is a big part of successful weight loss. Deep-rooted beliefs can be hard to break but once we understand the importance of our mindset, it changes everything. Mental barriers can really hold you back, sometimes we don’t even realize how much. Fortunately once we’re aware of the limitations we create for ourselves, we can begin to move forward.

Over the last year, I’ve strived to find a balance between working hard to improve while still loving where I’m at. I’ve also learned to treat eating well as a gift to myself and a form of self-respect. These are just two of the mindsets that have helped me in my journey. Working through the process of reconditioning old mental beliefs takes time. This process isn’t going to happen overnight or even in a week or a month but that’s ok. The time is going to pass anyways so you might as well start putting the work in right now.

Ask yourself this question: how would you feel if a year went by and you were in the exact same place as you are today? If you don’t like the answer, keep reading.

Mindset Shifts for Fat Loss

Over the last few years of my health and fitness journey, the mindset shifts below have helped me monumentally. Fat loss is hard. Well, it’s both easy and hard. It’s easy in that fat loss comes down to basic science and it’s hard in that, unless you’re patient and consistent, it’s not going to happen. If you can wrap your mind around these mentalities, fat loss will be a whole lot easier and a lot less stressful.

The single best way to improve your health is to improve your mindset. Change your mind and everything changes. The way we think determines what we do, the excuses we tell ourselves, the choices we make, the discipline we show and the effort we give. Forget the diet and exercise strategies you think you need and start with getting your mind right.

Let’s get into these essential mindset shifts for fat loss, body image, self-respect that can help you create a happy, healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Mindset Shifts for Fat Loss | Essential Mental Barriers for Healthy Weight Loss

1. You’re not being patient.

Guys, stop giving up after two weeks or a month, or even 3 months. Big change takes a time. Depending on how far you have to go and what you want to accomplish, a body composition transformation might take years. Stop looking at the short-term because in the span of your whole entire life, one or even two years isn’t much time.

Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different? -C.S. Lewis

You will need to be patient in this journey because it’s not going to be a quick one. Forget the calendar, forget how far you have to go and try not to get too wrapped up in specific dates and timelines. Focus the 24 hours ahead of you and nothing more, or even just the meal in front of you. We all know how quickly time passes so just put your head down, be patient and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Trust me, before you know it a few months will go by and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish if you stay focused on the process.

Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway. -E. Nightingale

2. You’re not being honest with yourself.

I was in this boat for a long time. I was in denial. Years ago, I believed I could eat whatever I wanted because I worked out so hard. I finally came to terms with the fact that nutrition does matter and started giving my diet more attention. As I’ve experimented with tracking macros over the last couple of years, I’ve gone through periods where, frustrated with my lack of results, I’d give up even though I would refuse to admit that I wasn’t being consistent enough or tracking accurately enough. I’d ignore it.

Spoonfuls of peanut butter straight from the jar are calorie-free, right? Uh, no. Good lord, I wish.

What I’m talking about here is complaining about a lack or results and getting frustrated if you’re not being 100% honest with yourself. Unless you’re doing everything in your power to be consistent, put in the work and stick to it, you can’t complain about a lack of results.

Don’t play the victim. Call yourself out and take an honest look at what you’re actually eating and doing everyday. If you’re not honestly putting in your best effort, you can’t be upset with a lack of results. You are stronger than your excuses.

Mindset Shifts for Fat Loss | Essential Mental Barriers for Healthy Weight Loss

3. You think it’s a temporary fix.

You can’t think of a diet as just a means to an end. There is no end and that’s why unsustainable dieting will never work. It absolutely has to be a lifestyle and to make it work for you long-term, you have to stop thinking of healthy eating as some temporary thing.

Eating healthy food shouldn’t be viewed as short-term punishment. What will happen if you go on a strict, restrictive diet then quit and go back to the way you were eating before? You will gain everything back and most likely end up at a higher weight than when you started and have seriously confused your metabolism. This is why almost all weight loss stories end in gaining all the weight back and ending up even heavier than when you started.

I know because I did this and it was emotionally devastating. Almost 2 years later, I’ve just now recovered mentally and physically from that rollercoaster journey. Now that I’ve gotten the weight back off, I am 100% committed to maintaining my weight in a healthy and sustainable way.

There’s no finish line, no stopping point, its a life-long deal. In short, if you want to reach your goals and maintain the results long-term, you can’t view weight loss and dieting as a temporary fix. Build solid systems during your fat loss journey so when you move from a period of a calorie deficit to maintenance, you have those systems in place and can maintain your new body weight while enjoying some balance.

4. Thinking in terms of what you can’t have or can’t do.

If you think of your eating habits in terms of all the things you can’t have or can’t go out and do, it will never be sustainable. This is one reason I think tracking macros can be so effective. If you want to go out for dinner with friends, or enjoy a glass of wine, you absolutely can. Nothing is off limits.

I also think it can be helpful to think terms of what you’re adding to your diet instead of things that you’re taking away. We’re going to talk mindfulness later on but before you eat something that’s not aligned with a healthy lifestyle, it can help to stop and think about what you’d be missing out on if you do give into that indulgence. You’d be missing out on reaching your goals, building confidence and feeling good inside and out. And what will happen if you don’t eat the cookie? Nothing. You’re not going to miss out on anything if you don’t.

If you view your nutrition plan as deprivation it’s not going to work. I think it can also help to shift your mindset from “I can’t have” to “I choose not to have.” How will overeating or eating junk food make you feel? Probably pretty crappy. If you can slow down and think about that before eating, it can help you make a better choice. Think about willingly choosing to eat the foods that make you feel good and move your closer to your goals. Remember, it can help to think of eating well as a way to practice self-respect. Respect yourself by making choices that will help you become the best version of yourself.

5. You don’t realize what it really takes.

I’ve been there and the mental aspects of weight loss are tough. There is no denying that change is challenging both mentally and physically. Add life into the mix and without consistent, long-term dedication and a change in lifestyle, not much is going to happen. I think before you even start the process of fat loss, you should sit down and really get into why you want to change. Write it down because it’s not always going to be easy and it can help to keep coming back to your reasons when you feel like giving up.

Maybe you’re already at a healthy weight but you want to get leaner, in which case, your journey may be even harder and will most definitely involve sacrifice. Once again, get honest with yourself. Are you willing to do what it takes to change?

6. You keep comparing yourself to others.

Yep, been there again. Constantly comparing your results, your workouts, what your eat or your body to others can really hinder your progress. You can let others dedication and commitment be a source of motivation, but it’s a fine line between inspiration and comparison. The only one you should compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday. Run your own race. Do your best in each moment and don’t judge your choices based on what others are doing.

We compare our workouts and our fitness level to what someone else is doing, as if anything anyone else is doing has anything to do with what’s best for us. Comparison can rob of us our time, energy and attention. We spend so much time evaluating what we’re doing in comparison to others instead of taking action and focusing on ourselves.

Everyone is going to see results at a different pace. Every body is completely different and no one knows your body better than you. Making judgements about yourself based on other people can be defeating and leave you feeling like you’re not good enough. Comparison can also be a form of distraction. Focus your energy on you. How can you be better? How can you make better choices? Don’t worry about anyone else, it’s only going to distract you and take the focus away from the work you need to be doing.

We’re all so different, what works for someone else may not necessarily work for you, plus you never know where someone else is at in their journey. Watch where your attention goes on social media and only follow accounts that inspire you. Invest your energy in finding out what works best for you and just be consistent with that.

Mindset Shifts for Fat Loss | Essential Mental Barriers for Healthy Weight Loss

7. You don’t have a sense of urgency.

Depending on your goals, not having a sense of urgency when it comes to change can hold you back from making real progress. If you’re committed to making a lasting change and losing fat for good, you must believe that every choice matters. I’m not talking about occasional treats or missing the odd workout here and there. I’m talking about the day-to-day consistency and work that must be done to see results.

Having the mindset that “you’ll do it later” isn’t going to get you where you want to go. Remember, little efforts repeated day in and day out add up to big change over time. If you’re not putting those little efforts in, don’t expect big results. The time is now and time is not an unlimited resource, so making each choice count is important.

There is no tomorrow and there was no yesterday; if you truly want to accomplish your goals you must engulf yourself in today. -Noel DeJesus

Trust me, those small choices add up. Let’s ask this question again: how would you feel if a year went by and you were in the exact same spot as you are now? Little things, done consistently is what you need to focus on. Do it now, do it now, do it now.

If you want something you’ve never had you must be willing to do something you’ve never done. -Thomas Jefferson

To change something, you’re going to have to actually change. Remember that famous quote about the definition of insanity?

8. You’re letting the scale rule your efforts.

Monitoring your body weight may or may not be helpful in your weight loss journey. We can get so wrapped up in seeing that number go down every day but weight loss will never be a linear process and if the scale isn’t moving, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not making progress.

If you find the number on the scale is negatively effecting the effort you give, then use other methods of measuring your progress. Take measurements, set fitness goals or have your body composition measured. Our weight can fluctuate day-to-day based on hormones, water, workouts and many other factors so it’s not always the best measure of success. I weight almost the same now as I did two years ago but I look completely different. Muscle weights more than fat, so that’s why we keep talking about fat loss and not weight loss. You want to keep that hard-earned muscle, don’t you?

I can honestly say I that my body weight does not determine how I feel about myself. I just don’t care. If I’m working hard and staying committed to the process, I know that my body and health are where they should be. Seeing a particular number on the scale, whether it’s higher or lower than what I used to think it needed to be, is never going to change my level of self-worth.

It hasn’t always been this way though. Stalls in my weight or seeing the scale go up after I’d been working like crazy used to crush me. If my weight stalled for couple of days, it would cause me to throw in the towel and just eat whatever I wanted because who cares, it’s not working anyways. This is crazy talk. This was old mindsets, limiting beliefs and letting my ego be the boss. Don’t let the number on the scale determine how much effort you give. Track your weight if you must but don’t let that number hold power of your self-worth or determination on any given day.

You’ve got to get to a place where this all comes out of love, respect and kindness for yourself or no matter how much weight you lose, nothing is going to change.

Mindset Shifts for Fat Loss | Essential Mental Barriers for Healthy Weight Loss

9. You’re not being mindful.

This was another huge change for me. I felt like before I started working on these fat loss mindsets I was often out of control when it came to food. I was on auto-pilot and not even tasting or noticing the food I was eating. I knew I had to become more mindful. I believe mindfulness to be one of the most important mental strategies on this list.

Our society is moving at an all time rapid pace. We work longer, sleep less, watch more TV and are susceptible to more options for convenience than ever. We’ve moved so far away from family style meals and meal time as a sacred moment to nourish our bodies and spend time with loved ones, even if that’s just ourselves.

The food we eat is everything. It fuels us, nourishes us, heals us, builds us up and energizes every cell in our bodies. If we can’t slow down and be mindful of what we’re eating I don’t think we’re really living as deeply as we could, even if it’s taking a moment to be thankful for the opportunity to eat well.

Before you eat something. Stop. Breathe. Close your eyes. Do you really need that food or are you filling some other void? Using mindfulness techniques has given me so much freedom. If I’m bored or restless in the evenings, I don’t have to grab something from the fridge and scarf that food down without even really noticing it. I’ve also really worked on being mindful of how full I am and how I really feel which has helped me learn to stop eating before it’s too much.

Guys, I’ve done it a thousand times. I go into the kitchen, not the least bit hungry, open the fridge and grab the first thing I see. I just want something. Anything. I might be procrastinating other work or feeling restless or bored. Food is not the answer to these emotions. It’s taken a lot of work on this and I still find myself venturing into the kitchen when I don’t need food. When this happens now, I stop. I breathe. I take a moment to think about what I’m really doing and this helps me notice those old patterns and catch myself.

10. You’re obsessed with results.

I think this is such a huge factor when it comes to making permanent change. We can become obsessed with some endpoint and feeling like we’re working so hard but not getting any results. It’s so important to accept where you’re at and just focus on the day-to-day process and systems of fat loss. The day-to-day is your life and if you’re always counting on some future number on the to make you happy, you will never be happy. Forget the results. Forget some future body or specific number that you think will make you happy.

When you’re too focused some an end result or idea of where you should be, it can also take away from how far you’ve come. When I first started tracking macros a couple years ago and I look back at the progress photos from the end of that period of consistency, I looked incredible. The crazy thing is I was so caught up with results, that I couldn’t see it at the time. I couldn’t recognize how far I’d come. I needed to be leaner or get down to some certain weight before I’d be happy. My self-worth was so tangled up with body image that even though I’d achieved amazing results, I still wasn’t happy. Every time I looked in the mirror, I’d look at my stomach or my arms or my legs, instead of seeing myself as a person, a whole human body who is loved for much more than that.

Now I understand, that I have to focus on where I am each day, really seeing myself and just appreciating how far I’ve come. I have to be in the journey. I know one day I’ll look back at pictures of myself now and think wow, look how young and beautiful and fit I was. I don’t want to look back with the regret of knowing I didn’t love myself. It brings be to tears to think about how I long I fought with this body. Be present and focus on the process because that “process” is your life and if you’re constantly focused on some arbitrary destination, you’re going to miss the journey.

You have to work to love yourself and love the process or nothing will really change when you do get where you want to be. Obsessively focusing on numbers, on the image of yourself in the mirror or thinking life will be different after you hit a certain number on the scale can be very counterproductive. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep working hard or that you’ll never be able to change, it means that you must let go of obsessing over reaching specific goals. If you want to get better at anything in life, you must fall in love with the process of doing it. You have to fall in love with the work rather than just dreaming about the results. If you focus on the practice, the results will be there before you know it.

While weighing in can be helpful in monitoring your progress, it’s important not to associate the number on the scale with self-destructive thoughts. The scale does not define your worth as a human. If you find weighing yourself is negatively effecting your attitude and effort then don’t use it until you’re at a place where the number isn’t going to determine how you feel on any given day.

This is such a common problem when people are typing to lose weight and I struggled here too. If I made a healthy treat for the blog and had one, I’d end up eating them all because I couldn’t get back on track until they were gone. I’d just start again after that.

You know what I’m talking about. You eat a cookie and all of a sudden it’s 3 days later and you’ve been off the rails ever since. You have to give up on black and white thinking when it comes to weight loss. Remember, something is always, always better than nothing. If you have a bad day or meal, move on immediately. Let. it. go. Dwelling on it will not serve you in any way.

It’s like dropping your cell phone then just smashing it entirely, or getting a flat tire then replacing all 4 instead of just fixing the flat. Maybe you go out for dinner Friday night, go a little overboard and instead of getting back to healthy eating on Saturday morning, you decide to go off the rails all weekend and start again Monday because in your mind, you’ve already ruined everything. Can you see how this kind of thinking will completely halt your progress? Small mishaps are completely normal. This journey is never going to be perfect, there is no such thing.

Instead of beating yourself up, you could just truly enjoy the Friday night meal then continue your healthy habits for the rest of the weekend, helping to create some balance instead. That one meal isn’t going to have a big effect on your results if you just move on. By giving up the mentality that one meal or one day is going to ruin all our hard work is how we can ultimately find balance and make room to enjoy our favourite meals and treats on occasion.

By learning how to incorporate these treats into our lifestyles without using them as an excuse to blow off our healthy habits for days on end, we can maintain balance long-term, while still working towards our goals and enjoying all that life has to offer.

I think people an tend to fall into an all or nothing mindset with fitness too. Remember though, something is always better than nothing. Maybe you a hard day at work and just don’t feel like you can make it to the gym for the intense workout you had planned. Instead of doing nothing and beating yourself up over it, go for a walk, or just get to the gym and do something, anything. Those days when you don’t feel like it but do something anyways? That’s where the good stuff is. Keep building and strengthening those good habits. With it comes confidence.

With this in mind, remember not to be too hard on yourself. Redefine your definition of wins to recognize the small changes you are making. You don’t have to completely change overnight, recognize small steps as wins and let those build your confidence, one small win at a time. It’s also important to not take on too much at once. This can overwhelm us and when we don’t follow through with the 20 things we were trying to change, we give up. Focus on one thing a time, recognize those small wins and just keep going. There is power in small change.

It’s unavoidable that at some point during your journey you’re going to take a few steps backwards. This is totally normal and totally ok. All that matters is that you give up that all or nothing mindset and just keep going. In the past, I’d put an such an immense amount of  pressure on myself to be perfect. As you can imagine, this would crush me time and time again. I would just fall back into the came negative cycle of restrict, binge, change my approach, fail, restrict, binge. There is no such thing as perfect so give up on that idea and start doing what you can, with what you have, at any given time. And forgive yourself, over and over and over.

12. You keep changing things.

Time to talk about patience again. It will take time for your body to adjust to a new nutrition plan so be patient and don’t keep changing things after you don’t see results in a week. If you’ve been struggling with yo-yo dieting over the years, most likely your metabolism is going to take a little while to sort itself out. I’ve gone periods where I didn’t’ lose a single pound in 5 weeks but I kept going and eventually things started to move.

We tend to focus on information over implementation. We keep changing strategies instead of actually taking action. We have all this information but unless we actually start consistently applying it, we’re never going to get anywhere. You don’t need anyone else to give you the answers. Just start, start taking action today, right now and just stay the course.

Consistency and action are much more powerful than any specific diet or fitness program. Just keep your head down, do your own thing and keep going.

Mindset Shifts for Fat Loss | Essential Mental Barriers for Healthy Weight Loss

13. You’re not addressing deeper issues.

If you’re overweight, chances are there are deeper issues at play than just diet, exercise and lifestyle. Yes, all of these factors play a role in our overall health and weight but why are you struggling with them? There are many psychological reasons why you might find yourself continually falling back on old habits, preventing you from reaching your goals and ever finding balance. There are often underlying issues that are holding you back from making the best nutritional and exercises choices. Until you can hone in on what those underlying issues are, you are at risk of regaining any weight you do lose, spiralling into yo-yo dieting and creating even deeper emotional issues.

There are many reasons people turn to food instead of other forms of fulfillment in their lives. Maybe you’re stressed or unhappy, or feeling a lack of purpose or connection, maybe you feel out of control in your life. We sometimes use food in to fill these voids. It’s important to do the mental work necessary to address these issues. Fixing mental and emotional issues is often the hardest part of weight loss. Once you’ve got your nutrition and fitness plan dialled in, start focusing your efforts on your emotional wellbeing.

It was really hard to admit to myself, let alone share with you now that I had real problems with overeating, food guilt and body image. I always thought I had a very healthy relationship with food but over the last little while and through some ups and owns, I came to realize my relationship to healthy eating needed a lot of work. Admitting that to myself was when I was finally able to turn that around.

Permanent, lasting results is going to take some self-discovery as to why you might be carrying extra body fat. For me, I had to dig into uncomfortable issues like body image and self-worth that I had struggled with for a long time. Once I addressed these issues and began to take full responsibility for my results, everything changed. You will never, ever be happy with your body if you can’t look past what you see in the mirror and love you for the real you, who is so much more than a particular body weight.

14. You don’t have a why.

Why do you want to change your body? What are you hoping to accomplish? How will you feel when you reach your desired physique?

Before you even get started, you need to figure out the answers to these questions. Your “why” should be emotional. It should be something you feel deep inside and something bigger than looking good in a bathing suit. What emotions led you to want to change? You need those powerful whys to help get you back on track when you slip up.

When I finally decided enough was enough, I was at an absolute low point. I’d gained back the weight I’d previously lost and more. I was stuck in a spiral of binge eating and food guilt. I felt out of control, hopeless and like ever finding freedom from food obsession was impossible. I felt terrible, self-conscious and uncomfortable at the gym, which was awful because I love being at the gym. My clothes felt tight and I just felt big and heavy. I hated what I saw in the mirror and I hated myself for hating it because I didn’t want to be that person.

It felt so self-absorbed and ungrateful to hate my body when I had my health. I felt like a fraud promoting positive body image and a balanced, healthy lifestyle on my blog when I couldn’t even find that in my own life. I didn’t want to admit to anyone I was struggling because I didn’t want to be judged.

There were tough days and there were tears but with all that pain there were breakthroughs. I started working harder at self-love then and there and become 100% committed to not feeling that way anymore. I was determined to come to a place of food and body peace that I could enjoy for the rest of my life.

Mindset Shifts for Fat Loss | Essential Mental Barriers for Healthy Weight Loss

15. You’re not taking responsibility.

This was another huge change I’ve made in the last couple of years. I used to place the blame for my lack of results on outside sources or think that I needed someone or something to help me reach my goals. I bounced around to various nutrition coaches and frequently changed my nutrition plan and fitness program, thinking that there was some one or some thing out there that was I needed. Guess what? You don’t. Everything you need is already inside you and once you take full responsibility for your life, your actions and your choices, you can “get your sh*t together” and start crushing your goals.

When I finally changed my mind and took full personal accountability for what I wanted, I was able to start making consistent progress. I know how exhausting it can be to constantly be searching for this thing you think you need. I know how bad it sucks to struggle and feel like you’re not going anywhere. It’s know it’s hard to break out of these patterns but it is possible.

A friend once said to me, “get over yourself” and for some reason it really stuck. Thinking you’re special or there’s some reason you can or can’t do something is your ego talking. You can do anything. You’re not special, so get your act together and go after what you want. No excuses. There isn’t some reason outside yourself as to why you can’t do anything, be anything or have anything you want. You deserve it and if you work hard you can accomplish absolutely anything.

16. You don’t believe in yourself.

This has been a work in progress for me too, guys. Self-doubt has been the biggest thing I’ve struggled with my whole life. I thought that the strong, fit women I admired were somehow better than me and that achieving that physique just wasn’t possible. This allowed me remain a victim and in denial about my eating habits. I somehow decided along the way that other people were better than me, that they were on some other level. The inner battle of “not good enough” was constant and relentless. I never believed deep down that I deserved it or that I was as good as anyone else, so why even try?

If you’ve struggled with self-doubt in the past, truly, deeply believing in yourself takes time and takes work. You have to change the way you talk to your self. You have to let go of limitations that you’ve held on to so dearly, limitations that protected you from having to try or put yourself out there. Self-doubt can hold you back in so many ways. You might be too afraid to try new things or full experience life due to fears and reservations about what you’re capable of. These mental limitations prevent us from reaching our potential.

Try not to carry all of your past struggles with you as you move forward on your journey either. Your past choices do not determine the choices you will make today or tomorrow. Don’t doubt yourself. Start fresh. Stop quitting and talking yourself out of living life to the fullest. No matter how many times you’ve failed in the past, a totally different outcome is possible for you, starting right this moment. Every week, every day and every minute you have the opportunity for a fresh start.

Your level of success with a weight loss program is going to be heavily effected by your own self-perception. If you don’t believe in yourself it negatively affects everything you do and can prevent you from ever being successful with permanent fat loss. You can see a common thread throughout these mindsets. Self love. Practice it, practice it over and over and over. Be kind to yourself. Use affirmations. Use positive self-talk. Journal. Read positive thinking books. Repeat. Over and over and over until it starts to sink in. You are stronger than you think and absolutely capable of achieving anything you set out to.

Mindset Shifts for Fat Loss | Essential Mental Barriers for Healthy Weight Loss

17. You’re associating emotions with food.

One essential mindset shift I’ve made over the last year is making the change from eating to live to living to eat. Social events, holidays, vacations and parties used to be a huge a source of stress. What would I eat? How was I going to prevent bingeing on everything and totally derailing my progress? There have been many times I cancelled plans because of stress and guilt around food. THIS IS CRAZY and it all comes back to what we discussed earlier about addressing deeper issues.

When I was finally making some progress, I’d be so stressed when an event came up. I associated food with emotion, reward, happiness and fun but when I started to let go of that and realize I could just enjoy being with people without having to overeat, my life really opened up and became much less stressful. If you let every, single, life event derail your healthy eating habits, you’re never going to get anywhere. It’s important to be able to enjoy those events without food-related stress.

Life is going to happen for all of us and I totally understand that eating food with friends and families is central part of our culture but it doesn’t have to prevent you from reaching your goals. This took a long, long time for me to understand. Food is nutrition. It’s not a reward, not an escape, not something to earn and definitely not therapy. It’s fuel. Of course, I still enjoy eating. You guys know I love to eat and cook and experience food but all that is secondary to nutrition. I want to have a full, happy and enjoyable life that doesn’t revolve around food. It wasn’t easy, finally relinquishing foods control over my life, but I couldn’t live like that any more and you don’t have to either.

18. You rely on food for stimulation.

This realization has been also been a big change for me. We are conditioned to crave constant stimulation. Gum, drinks, sugar, snacks, coffee, all these substances make us feel like we need to be eating or drinking something all the time. We don’t. It’s it’s ok to just be. Just be with yourself. You can watch a movie without snacking, you can just sit with yourself in the evenings and just think or write or mediate and that’s totally ok. You don’t have to be doing (or consuming) something all the time. Again, this is why mindfulness is so important. If we are aware of our behaviour when we’re feeling that uncomfortable energy, instead of just filling the void with food we can learn to just be with that feeling. It will rise, peak and eventually subside and once it does, that’s where the magic is.

19. You’re afraid of failure.

Stepping out of your comfort zone and changing your habits is scary. As uncomfortable as we might be in our current situation, it’s familiar and stepping out of familiarity into the unknown can be daunting. Maybe you’ve failed in the past and fear of repeating that is holding you back from giving 100% effort. However, without maximum effort, fat loss is going to be even more difficult than it already is. Unsustainable dieting doesn’t help either and only contributes to the cycle of negative emotions and expectancies of failing again in the future.

A bad day for your ego is a great day for your soul. -Jillian Michaels

Trying your hardest is frightening because it robs you of excuses if the outcome doesn’t go as planned. This was me for a long time. I would hold myself back from giving 100% because if I did and I failed, that would mean I gave it my all and that wasn’t good enough. The ego never wants to look bad, so we tell ourselves all these reasons why we shouldn’t go for it. In reality we are so much stronger and more capable than we think and regardless, who cares if we fail.

Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success. -C. S. Lewis

In her book, Mindfulness, Langer states that there are no failures, only ineffective solutions. So, if something doesn’t work, move on, try again, keep going. There is no failure in continuous effort. Not being afraid to fail can help us move forward in so many areas of our life. In order to succeed we need to be willing to accept more failures. Real failure only happens when we give up and stop trying all together. All great successes have some failures along the way. Every time we fail, we learn and have the opportunity to do better next time. All that really matters is that you keep going, using failure as a stepping stone to future success.

Mindset Shifts for Fat Loss | Essential Mental Barriers for Healthy Weight Loss

8 Week Transformation Challenge Results

I would definitely say I accomplished a transformation during the last 2 months however for me it was more of a mental than a than physical one. Physically, I reduced my body fat by 7% and lost 22 lbs. overall. I was able to maintain my lean muscle mass too, which is pretty amazing with that much weight loss. To be honest though, I stopped weighing myself about half way through the challenge. My weight didn’t matter anymore, I knew how I felt. I could see it and feel it and that was more important than a number on the scale. Regardless of what I accomplished physically, after the last 2 years of ups and downs, my mental and emotional transformation has been more valuable than anything.

I gained so much clarity in the last couple of months. I broke free from old mindsets and finally took responsibility for myself instead of allowing mental limitations to prevent me from reaching my potential. The work doesn’t end of course, we can always learn and grow for but for now I feel free from the obsession with food, my weight and how my body looks.

What really clicked for me, after a lot of hard and emotional work, was taking complete personal accountability. It was letting go of my ego. Letting go of fear of failure. It was getting over myself and just freaking doing it. As soon as I accepted that I am the one making the choices, that I am the only one responsible for my results and that there’s nothing I need outside myself to reach my goals, something just clicked and I was able to start moving forward. Now that I’m here, I am 100% committed to staying here, both mentally and physically.

During all this, despite being extremely hard on myself and struggling emotionally, I’ve tried to keep perspective. Even though I was unhappy, I tried to remain grateful for my health and fitness. I felt awful hating my body when I had a healthy, able body that someone out there would give anything for. I can run, I can swim, I can dance, I’m strong and fit and can physically do anything I choose to. I am grateful for this every single day.

Loving your body is so important but I know it can be really tough when you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin. Know that you’re not alone in your struggles. It’s finding that balance between working towards changing and somehow loving and believing in yourself along the way. There’s nothing wrong with wanting the best for yourself. You deserve it. I know it’s hard sometimes but if you just stick to it I promise you can accomplish anything you want. Keep going. No matter what, just keep going.

Recommended Reading

I highly recommend the following books if you’re interested in learning more on these topics.