Throughout the year, advertisements across television and the internet promise new diets to help kickstart your health and fitness goals. These programs tend to focus on a single metric of success: the number on the scale.
While weight loss itself is an admirable goal, focusing solely on a number is almost certain to lead to anxiety and disappointment.
Lifestyle changes don’t have to be something you dread. It may be hard to believe, but you can actually learn to enjoy the process. How? Instead of focusing on what you’re losing, use mindfulness to focus on all that you’re gaining instead. By staying present with each decision about what you eat, how you move, and how you take time for yourself, you can supercharge your goals and recognize your many successes beyond the scale.
1. Create positively framed affirmations
Adopting a healthier lifestyle has many benefits beyond weight loss, so why should a number be your only goal? Using positively framed affirmations, you can retrain your thoughts to focus on what you’re gaining instead of what you’re losing. Create goals that are specific and believable, and then frame them as if you’ve already achieved them. For example, if your goal is to lose 15 pounds, you might write, “I am X weight, I feel energized and happier, and I’m able to keep up with my kids when playing in the yard.” Structuring your goals as positively framed affirmations will elicit a vivid emotional response and motivate you throughout your health journey in ways that a simple number can’t.
2. Meditate daily
Meditating each day can help improve your focus, lower your heart rate, and reduce your stress levels. The best part? You don’t have to commit to hours of quiet contemplation to reap the benefits. Take just a few short minutes per day to pause, breathe, and recharge; it will help you stay in the present, lower your overall stress, and keep your affirmations at the forefront of your mind throughout the day.
3. Plan meals and make grocery lists
Each week, try to plan out your meals; it will help prevent snap decisions to eat out or order in. Make a grocery list based on your plan, and stick to it! This is a simple yet powerful way to not only stay on track with your nutrition goals, but to also save money on food in the long run by avoiding expensive takeout.
4. Learn to enjoy exercise
Enjoying exercise may seem like a pipe dream, but it doesn’t have to be. Think about your last workout: after you were done, you probably felt happier, more energized, and empowered to take on other challenges. Instead of viewing exercise like a chore to be completed, focus on how each action during the workout makes you feel. Do push ups make you feel strong? Does running fast make you feel powerful? By focusing on each exercise’s positive benefits, you can learn to enjoy exercise during the workout, not just afterwards.
So let’s recap…
The steps you’re taking each day to improve your nutrition, fitness, and mental health are worth celebrating. So every time you think you are falling short, focus on all that you’re gaining, such as more energy, less stress, and a healthier lifestyle, not what you’re losing on the scale. By creating positively framed affirmations, you can break negative perceptions about yourself and instead focus on your progress. Regular meditation, meal planning, and exercise can help improve your mood, reduce your stress, and keep your affirmations at the forefront of your mind each day.
Mindfulness can help you retrain your thoughts and actually enjoy the process of adopting a healthier lifestyle. Interested in applying mindfulness to your health goals? Learn more about what makes the MindFirst Health & Fitness program different from other weight loss programs.