The journey to better ourselves can be a taxing process on both the body and mind, especially when it comes to our weight. Committing the extra time and effort to completing challenging workouts, adjusting your food intake and making various lifestyle changes can feel overwhelming. Add this to the pressures we place on ourselves by constantly comparing ourselves to others. Our weight loss journey, if not approached in a balanced way, can easily slip into a dangerous road to harm.
If one of your health goals is to lose weight, it’s important to establish a positive and productive mindset from the starting line. It doesn’t, and shouldn’t, feel as though you are punishing or depriving yourself. In fact, it can be entirely enjoyable, enlightening and life-changing. This is an opportunity to follow a path to an improved state of being, one in which you can learn about yourself, challenge your limits and achieve results beyond your expectations. But for this to be the case, you need to be kind to yourself along the way.
Unfortunately, this rarely comes as second nature. In this journal entry, we share some tips for being kind towards yourself on your weight loss journey, which have the power to reframe your entire experience.
1. Treat every day as a new beginning
It’s easy to be caught up in where we want to be, and not where we are. The power of accepting the present and staying in the process is the most fulfilling experience of life. Goals are good and necessary to keep us moving forward, but do not spend time dwelling or ruminating on them or the past. Stay present, and enjoy the process of life!
Try starting your day with some gratitude journaling – the simple act of reflecting and acknowledging your blessings is a positive exercise in psychological wellbeing, bringing to light a fresh perspective on the new ideas and opportunities that await you every day.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others
Spending time thinking about the successes of others and not on yourself can be demotivating and discouraging. Everyone is different. Different bodies, different goals, at different stages of their own path, with different rates of success. The only person you can really know is yourself, and that is where you should focus.
In general, comparing yourself to others can be detrimental to your own mental and emotional health, and can take energy away from the work you are doing to achieve your goals.
It’s essential to be mindful of the effect of social media on your self-esteem. When it comes to our social feeds, most people only publish their triumphs and rarely their failures or hardships (even though everyone experiences them). If you’re finding it upsetting to be exposed to other people’s success online, it might be time to consider cutting down your screen time.
3. Eat Mindfully
Here at Eden, we abide by a particular food philosophy – we believe in bodily restoration from the inside out through nutritionally dense foods, hydration, and conscious health rituals. This doesn’t involve an attitude of restriction, but one involving nutritionally balanced seasonally-set eating with the use of wholesome ingredients.
Relative to nourishing your body with quality food, the practice of mindful eating is a powerful tool in helping to ground you in the present moment and reduce distraction, allowing you to appreciate your food and feel more satisfied from it. This practice allows you to tap into your natural state of inner stillness and brings with it an instinctive relaxation to mealtime.
Mindful eating involves:
- Eating slowly and focusing on each mouthful rather than anticipating the next.
- Eating only until you feel full and not pushing your limits.
- Appreciating all aspects and elements of the food you’re feeding your body – colours, smells, textures, flavours.
- Acknowledging and accepting, not resisting, any guilty or anxious feeling or thoughts about food – and then releasing them.
- Eating with the purpose of maintaining well-being.
- Noticing how your food impacts your energy levels and mood.
- Appreciating your food and the journey it has taken to reach you.
- Recognizing the distinction between true hunger and non-hunger triggers for eating.
4. Incorporate daily movement that fits with your schedule
The thought of approaching an hour-long workout can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not feeling in the right headspace or have enough energy before you begin. This can easily encourage you to procrastinate on doing any exercise at all – always pushing it to ‘tomorrow’.
A great way to work around this is by doing short spurts of physical activity at different intervals throughout the day. This is known as intermittent exercise, and research has shown that this approach can be just as effective as a longer gym workout. Not only does it break down the task of exercising each day to more manageable goals, but it also gives you breaks throughout the day to mentally reset and boost your energy, helping maintain your productivity levels.
5. Have self-compassion
Self-compassion supports healthy eating behaviour, behaviour change, and weight regulation. Learning to apply self-compassion to your daily life can take time and can be challenging, but in the long run, helps to curb habits of self-criticism that undermine motivation.
There are three main pillars you can follow to help achieve self-compassion, which include:
- Self-kindness: Being kind and understanding to yourself.
- Common humanity: Accepting experiences as part of the natural course of human life, rather than isolating.
- Mindfulness: Recognising negative thoughts or feelings in a balanced and non-judgemental way.
Various studies have shown self-compassion to be effective for weight management, whether it is by improving mindfulness eating, reducing the tendency to gain weight in stressful situations, or improving health rituals or intentions.
Keep in mind that this is a journey and may take some time to fully embed into your daily routine. In times of difficulty, try to treat yourself as you would one of your closest friends – gently and with empathy.
As important as feeding your body healthy and nourishing food, as important as moving your body and exercising each day, treating yourself with kindness is the understated key to success when it comes to losing weight and bettering your health.