Mind over Matter – tips to make your new years resolution stick this time
Firstly I have to say a massive thank you to Matthew – its is an absolute honour for Pink PT to ask me to write a guest blog about my weight loss transformation success and journey. Training with him has been quite an eye opening experience not just in my understanding of fitness, but of trust and developing a truly holistic approach to being healthy inside and out.
Rewind about seven years ago, and I was not in the right shape in my mind let alone my body. As a junior doctor the stress of work coupled with night shifts and endless exams played havoc on my diet and attempts to have an exercise routine. It was when I was struggling to fit into a size 22 at Marks and Spencer that I knew something had to change. After years of trial and error, I am now 4 dress sizes smaller, about 40 lbs lighter, and have a totally new mindset when it comes to health and wellness.
Much of the weight loss information online focuses on “calories in vs. calories out” – which we know (obviously) plays a huge factor in successfully losing weight. However, what is often overlooked is the psychological changes that need to take place not only with regards to losing the weight, but keeping the weight off in the long term. Here are just a few tips and tricks that have helped me in achieving major weight loss transformation , and I hope will help you too in your health and fitness goals moving forward.
Progress not perfection
This has been my mantra for fitness (hell, for life) for a few years now. This is particularly important if you are a high achiever and have a “perfectionist” / Type A personality and like things to be done perfectly/correctly 100% of the time. There is also an ugly side to perfectionism that many people don’t realise of the “if I can’t do it properly/perfectly, I’d rather not do It all”, which can wreck havoc on sustaining fitness consistency. During my weight loss journey I just focused on the fact that something is better than nothing, and as Matt has previously mentioned in part one its important to remain flexible and not rigid in your approach to your goals, especially when you are taking your first steps into your fitness journey.
Rituals not rules
We as a human species are a creature of habit and routine. You probably don’t realize it but you will drive the same route to work most days, and stir your tea in the same direction. In fact, an interesting study noted that it takes over a year to re-learn how to tie your shoe laces – our own methods are that ingrained in us! So of course it is no surprise that with a new year often comes a number of faux promises of a new you – will often push strict rules and programmes, promising instant results. Rules to follow such as no carbs, no gluten, no lactose, no sugar, no alcohol, no fun, ever again.
The problem is a lot of people (myself included) struggle with new year rules and resolutions because it does not allow for the haphazard chaos that life can throw at you. True success is not about what you do when you are ON plan, but actually how you handle yourself when you are OFF plan. I found that creating routine in my life based upon rituals that I derived pleasure form, were more likely to stick and last the “new year new you” fad. An example of this is my morning ritual: I now wake up at 6am, listening to jazz making my strong coffee and get my workout in before work, so working out is not something I “have” to do, but actually look forward to doing!
Who are you? A lesson on self awareness
When embarking on any sort of major life change, particularly around health and fitness – its important to do some ground work on yourself and have that self awareness and play to your strengths. We are not all created equal and what might make you giddy with excitement may fill another person with dread. For me it took me a while to figure out I’m quite a “Free spirit” type of person. I dislike people telling me what to do, even in small ways like doing 11 reps instead of 12 as asked (sorry Matt…). I am also an extrovert so I enjoy group exercise classes, and I also find social media has been a huge game changer in helping to motivate me in my own fitness journey as I watch others, and share my own through instagram and twitter fitness community (hashtags like #fitfam or #girlswholift will open your eyes to a whole new world, trust me!)
Seeing is believing: positive visualisation
One trick I did even at the very beginning of my journey as a size 22 was to start positive visualisation – every night before bed I would literally close my eyes and dream / visualize my “dream body”. I made the picture very vivid – I can even tell you what I was wearing and how my hair was! This image became a powerful reinforce especially on the difficult days when I wanted to quit. I took this to the next stage to actually believe I “am” already my future dream self in my dream body – because when you see yourself as that person, you will start to behave differently, from the food you chose to eat, the clothes you wear and confidence in working out. If this is difficult for you, apps like pinterest (or old school scrapbooking) are great for creating mood boards of inspirational quotes and pictures to keep you motivated in your health and fitness goals. Of course I’m talking about health transformation, but positive visualisation is a powerful tool that can be used in all walks of life, including your career and other life goals.
I hope you have found this useful and if you would like further help setting a goal and/or resolution please contact Matthew.