Getting Healthy Starts In Your Head
Healthy mindset for physical transformation
If you have ever struggled (or still do) with an emotional rollercoaster weight loss or any health journey, I'm sure you can attest that it's not for a lack of knowledge that makes the struggle real.
I mean, take a look at any online or bookstore diet/self-help section – loaded sites and shelves of expert "how-to, step-by-step" diet and fitness advice.
The premise to losing weight is "simple", - you need to burn more calories per day than you take in.
Seems logical, doesn’t it? But getting healthy goes beyond calorie counting and exercise routines. It requires a mindset that is committed to long-term well-being.
We all know that counting calories, staying active, and eating healthy foods are part of this equation, but these are just the mechanics necessary to losing weight and staying fit and healthy.
Now, none of this matters, however, if the process is not sustained while trying to reach your goal and then maintained once the goal is achieved. Consistency in your mindset and habits is key to getting healthy and staying that way.
Let’s not forget about genetics
Genetics plays an important role in; maintaining optimal body weight, but it will only get us so far. Our mindset dictates the rest of our journey, whether positive or negative. Harvard research explains that by adopting a positive mindset focused on getting healthy, we can overcome genetic limitations and achieve our goals.
I can speak to both ends of the spectrum. As a young child, my mindset around weight and my body were very different than it is today.
I was an incredibly shy child. I mean, always looking down at the floor type shy. And I think to help build up my confidence and make me feel special, my mother would praise me for how good I looked. She would say, when I tried on a new outfit, “you would look good in a paper bag”, meaning that she thought I looked good in anything. She adored me and only wanted me to feel good about myself. But in my immature mind, this translated to, because she was over-weight, meant she could not look good in just anything, and therefore must not be special and worthy of love and attention.
I remember clearly how that fear washed over me when my mother would put second helpings in front of my plate. Even if I wanted food, I would refuse to eat at times, triggered by the disgust of what over-eating would do to me. And my stubborn nature would prevail.
So, you could say that my 10-year old self used fear as motivation for what I wanted to avoid. While it is powerful, fear-based motivation is also an uncomfortable, negative emotion that can lead to anxiety and other unhealthy behaviors. It is simply not sustainable for a healthy lifestyle. (Related: 4 Healthy Action Steps to Emotional Regulation)
A healthy body doesn’t start in the gym, it starts with a decision in your head.
I didn’t always understand this complex psychology, but what I did understand was I never wanted to be overweight. So, in hindsight, I guess my ammunition for keeping slim (notice I didn’t say healthy), was the fear of, “getting fat”, I used to say. In all honestly, it was a fear of looking like my dear mother who dealt with her weight almost my entire life.
At the time, I resented the way she looked, the struggle I witnessed – her unhappiness with her body. As a child, I didn’t have the comprehension to empathize and understand the full picture, the other side as I do today.
We are a combination of all the information we; surround ourselves with, the people we are close to, the books we read, the podcasts we listen to, etc. All of this, filters through our minds, encouraging beliefs and patterning, whether positive or not.
You see, our behavior is proceeded by thought. Our body is just a mirror of what is going on in our minds. The words in our head and the things we say out loud to ourselves and others have great power. These narratives are reinforced all day long in our mind: running rampant on auto-pilot. So, having a healthy mindset for physical transformation is critical for overcoming obstacles, and experiencing sustainable changes.
Our Inner Critic & Fear
The innate calling of our highest potential lies in our deep desire to grow, master our minds, and rise above the negative opinion of ourselves – that harsh inner critic. This critic births from an obstacle we all have inside us, masquerading as being helpful – FEAR! Fear plagues us all trying to keep us safe from harm's way but, at the same time, can trap us from our full potential.
And, if you develop an unconscious limiting belief that you don't deserve to prioritize yourself, look good, or have success, or in my case, believe that being fat is bad, your emotions around those beliefs become your experiences.
It was years before I had this awareness, but in my teens, I had conveniently developed a habit of working out – thankfully, I wasn’t obsessive over it. And out of this passion for training my body, grew a healthier mindset. This fitness journey took twists and turns, but I decided to follow a more positive path that; aligned with what felt right to me.
This deep desire to stay healthy propelled me forward. Not just a few times at the start of that honeymoon phase, but repeatedly, over and over, especially on the days when it felt the hardest. And there were many of those, after gaining 50-pounds while pregnant with my twins.
Be Consistent with Your Habits
Surpassing those tough moments provided my brain with the evidence it needed to rise above my excuses and persevere. It became clear that I had to commit to consistent healthy habits instead of settling into a comfortable inertia. Throughout this journey, I prioritized feeling good about myself and finding motivation through positive emotions and outcomes, rather than judging others or being driven by fear.
I was no longer equating being overweight with not being special or loveable.
It took time, to heal my relationship with food and my body, and there wasn’t just one a-ha moment that made the switch in my head. I had bumps in the road along the way, but this new mindset shift grew from a deep knowing that living in fear was not a happy place to be in.
I learned; not to depend on the low-hanging fruit of negative reinforcement to keep me going.
As much as I have embraced the fear-based path as part of my past, I know now that being hard on myself, perhaps disguised as “tough love”, is not sustainable for a healthy mind.
The key is to wage our potential against our doubts - to decide that you are worthy of both: a healthy body and a happy mindset to get you there.
Free yourself of this self-fulfilling sabotage by taking the first step in truly understanding where all this negative energy comes from and how to replace it with positive energy, which is a lot more pleasant a journey.
What I mean is; challenge your beliefs and take consistent action to clear them from your mindset, if they are untrue. Know that limiting beliefs are rooted in things such as; fear, judgment, rejection, shame, and failure, and then ask yourself, are those limiting beliefs true for you?
A Healthy Mindset
Getting healthy is not just about physical appearance. It's about nourishing your body and mind, making choices that support overall well-being. This requires a mindset that values self-care and prioritizes getting healthy as a lifelong journey.
It's not always easy to maintain a healthy mindset, especially in a society that promotes quick fixes and instant results. But remember, getting healthy starts in your head and is a long-term process. It requires patience, perseverance, and a strong mindset that believes in your ability to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
By cultivating a positive mindset focused on getting healthy, you can overcome obstacles, stay motivated, and make sustainable changes. Getting healthy for physical transformation is all about your mindset. Remember that!
If you struggle with losing weight, you can’t seem to feel good about yourself, or if something is holding you back from your goal planning, chances are it’s because you don’t believe you can achieve your goals due to a limiting belief mindset. These beliefs retreat you into your comfort zone, constraining you in some way.
Once you can compassionately pay attention to your discomfort and struggle, you can go deeper into your mindset without judgment, shame, or pressure. Bringing this awareness to the surface earns you credibility, upgrading your behavior and trust with yourself to move forward and remain engaged.
It doesn't matter if your goal is to lose weight or take on any new habit or skill. Getting healthy starts in your head if you want a physical transformation.
Any change from impossible to possible is a decision that starts with a decision you make up in your mind. This mindset shift changes your inner self and your belief that you can achieve things that were once seemingly out of reach.
If there is one thing everyone should know, it’s that long-term change takes time. Slow down. Take a deep breath, and have realistic expectations. Unfortunately, we are a culture that wants everything yesterday – quick fixes that make promises we want so desperately to believe. Sure, it's quite alright to want to improve your body, but what you need is; to fix your old programming first.
I believe, and it is my experience, that everything we don't already know how to do will be a struggle at first– until it's not. Anything new that still needs to be learned, will take time, starting with a decision to make a consistent effort.
When we learn to become fully conscious and change our mindset, we can manifest a stronger inner self and empower new beliefs that align with our soul.
This powerful beginning sets the stage for confidence to emerge, supporting positive change. It's easy to stay where you are, but surpassing the struggle is far more rewarding.
I want to remind you that even though some days may seem dark, you are still growing, and you can still start a new day fresh again. But start it from a place of rest, nourishment, love, patience, and compassion. And if you need that extra push and accountability support, a women's empowerment coach like myself can help you achieve your goals without the struggle of trying to figure it all out by yourself.
Throughout my year of experience as a personal coach, I have learned to embrace my “failures”, and imperfections and see them as; little stepping stones toward success instead of beating myself up over them. They are all a part of the learning and thus the growth mindset process.
It can be a hard road to travel on while trying to loose weight in an effort to look and feel our best, especially when starting from a place of low self-confidence and fear. However, if you remember that you are good on the inside, worthy of love and greatness, you will realize you already have the power within to make big things happen. You just have to convince yourself you are worth it. And you are! (Related: It's Really Okay to Love Yourself First)