One of the most important things I have learned in my over 10 years of practice in Functional Medicine and Nutrition, is that the key for long term weight management and achieving nutritional health is the right mindset!
Awareness and thinking shifts are the key to achieve a lifestyle based on beliefs, habits and conducive environments.
by Natalia García, RD/N, IFNCP, CISSN, CHWC
I might be stating the obvious when I say that living a good life is a marathon and not a sprint. Feeling good, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, taking care of your health issues, keeping your blood work within range, and having an overall good feeling about yourself are all long term goals that can only be achieved by solid habits, resilience and the right mindset.
Long term goals require big changes, and big changes need time and work. In my upcoming class ‘How to stick to your New Year’s habits…’ we will work together to teach you how to shift your thinking to adopt new habits, stay motivated, get an 'I CAN DO THIS' mindset and create a successful weight loss environment.
So... how do you shift the way you think about health, food and wellness?
First thing you should know is that there are no short cuts to long term solutions but rather a series of THINKING SHIFTS that will allow you to make the big changes you need.
Usually the major obstacle to achieve lifestyle changes is the ‘Quick Fix’ mentality, this is looking for easy and quick solutions for complex problems. The big issue here is that the ‘quick fix’ mentality is quite destructive: it doesn’t offer solutions but rather the illusion that anything is possible with little effort up front and no consequences.
This is a major barrier for achieving any lifestyle changes since quick fixes are naturally short sighted and don’t consider a person’s life as a whole: habits, concerns, background, environment, triggers, cues, motivations, etc. but also because a quick fix mindset makes IT VERY HARD TO STAY MOTIVATED because of the expectation to see results fast and the resulting disappointment when the promised gains are not evident.
It is a self-fulfilled prophecy: “I need to see weight loss results or I won’t stay motivated”
A good example of the quick fix mentality are detox plans that offer weight loss through cleanses, or fad diets that tend to be very limiting, brief and do not include any substantial lifestyle changes but rather a promise to shed extra pounds quickly by restricting food for a short time.
Sure, you might lose a couple of pounds with a fad diet, but chances are you will regain them later after resuming your regular eating habits. This will erode your confidence and might put you off trying to lose weight again.
Making healthy lifestyle changes depends on being able to adjust expectations in a way that will allow you to experience success early and often.
Shifting our way of thinking is a journey that requires us to believe in what we are capable of and to let go of our fear of failure.
Be prepared to let go of perfection.
Have you ever completely sworn off your favorite junk foods or started an exercise program with the intention of running or walking every single day, only to see your dedication fizzle in a matter of a few weeks? This isn’t rare, actually 45% of people drop off their New Year’s resolutions after 1 month.
This is a problem I see often, people strive to be perfect instead of trying to do their best!
My advice here, and something we will learn over in the session, is: LET GO OF PERFECTION. Living a healthy lifestyle takes place in an ever-changing environment – the learning never stops and there is no “mission” that you need to perform flawlessly. So don’t try to bring perfection into your life, instead try to bring moderation. That is why I recommend living by the 80/20 rule.
What is the 80/20 rule?
80% of your choices are made in the planned and predictable environment of your “normal” routine and therefore mostly healthy.
20% of your decisions are made in situations that are not part of your normal routine and therefore may include indulgences or lapses, like going to a birthday party and having cake.
It is important to understand that this 20% is a normal part of life and it’s better to make peace with it rather than attempting to avoid it all together. You haven’t “blown it”, slips are normal and are to be expected. No one time of indulging, not matter how extreme, is going to ruin everything and it doesn’t have to cascade into several more slips: Having a big dessert is not going to destroy all your efforts and indulging at Christmas does not mean you are back in square one. A Thinking Shift allow you to regain control after a slip and go back on track by focusing in all the positive changes you have made.
The kind of Thinking Shifts that I work on with my clients and that would love to share with you, are centered around living a sustainable lifestyle and having a greater chance of sticking with a nutrition and wellness program:
Live without fear of indulging in special occasions
Let go of guilt after falling off the wagon
Have a structure that offers guidance but also flexibility to modify your plans as your life changes
Manage lapses by keeping them in perspective, learn and move forward rather than dwelling on them.
Want to know how powerful can a Thinking Shift be?
Listen to the testimony of my client Dinora, who has lost weight, improved her blood work and gotten her food cravings under control. She talks about her initial reaction when starting her nutrition program... I CAN'T DO THIS!
Yet she did! and she is aware that this is an ongoing process, she knows she isn’t done but she has achieved so much by focusing on her winnings and strength.
She draws positive energy by how her journey towards health has enriched her life and how much she has learned so far.
Remember that once you have learned how to take care of your health and what you are capable of, that knowledge is yours forever, and nothing, not even indulging can take that away from you!
You might not be there yet but you are definitely closer than you were yesterday!
Want to know more and learn how to do the Thinking Shifts towards a healthier you? Register for a zoom session of 'How to Stick to your Health Goals after a Crazy Year'
Sessions: January 14th at 12pm
January 26th at 6pm
Check out my video below and start making the changes to live the life you want!
Natalia Garcia is a contract dietitian who can help with not only hormone imbalance, but weight loss, high blood pressure, heart disease, digestive disorders and all aspects of health and nutrition.
Contact her at 941-264-4644 or at firstname.lastname@example.org