Mind. The Gap.

We all know that it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind. Imagine if all you had to do to lose weight and shift your shape was to change your mind.

I lost 44 pounds in 12 months and I didn’t take any diet pills, meal replacements or supplements and I didn’t undergo surgery. In fact during this time I quit smoking and still continued to lose the pounds. I only exercised on weekends, my exercise regime consisted of walking outside or on the treadmill, sometimes I jogged (rarely) and I did not deprive myself; in fact, I ate chocolate almost every day.

I was overweight as a teen and during all of my 20s — I went on my first diet at age 12. I grew up in an Italian household and my education in healthy eating was nonexistent and I was consistently encouraged to eat more.

Finally in my 30s I discovered the power of changing my mind to lose weight. I did it and you can do it too. I call it the “think before you shrink” process. There are no quick fixes to weight loss. It is a matter of changing your mind first. If you don’t change your mind — you could find yourself one of the statistics. You know the people who go on a crazy deprivation diet and lose lots of pounds in a short amount of time but then put it all on again plus more.

So before you begin the practical journey of losing weight it could be a good idea to create some healthy foundations around your thinking. If you put in the hard work and the commitment to adopt a healthy lifestyle you can achieve your ideal weight. Here are 10 strategies I used that you can also use to create a healthy attitude and mindset to help you to create lifelong healthy habits and ensure your long-term weight loss success.

  1. Make a decision.
  2. Decide you want to create a healthy way of life for the long-term rather than embark on a fad diet. Make decisions about how many kilos or pounds you want to lose, how much exercise you want to incorporate and how you want to change your eating habits. I believe a diet is not something you go on, it’s what you eat to sustain your mind and body.

  3. Make it compelling.
  4. Think about what it will cost you if you don’t make these changes — if you don’t lose weight, if you don’t exercise, if you don’t eat healthy. What will it cost you emotionally, physiologically, psychologically and financially? Think about what you will gain from making these changes.

  5. Make it a must.
  6. List all the reasons why you must create a healthy lifestyle for the long-term. Decide it is a must not a “maybe” or a “should.” Make a list of reasons why it is a must for you — it will give you good reasons to stay on track.

  7. Design a vision.
  8. Schedule some private time alone where you can sit with some relaxing music, pen and paper. Let your imagination and your pen run wild and write down how you visualize your ideal healthy lifestyle. What you look like, how your new physique looks, what you are doing, what kind of clothes you are wearing, what adventures you are going on and what kinds of food and exercise you enjoy. You could also create a visual reminder.

  9. Make it real.
  10. Set time aside to work on your health and fitness goals. If you make a time for it in your diary, it becomes a priority for you and an appointment that must be kept like any other. If you are too busy to schedule the time, it’s either an excuse or losing weight is simply not a must for you.

  11. Set SMART goals.
  12. Set specific goals. Instead of stating “I want to lose weight,” get specific and state how much weight you want to lose. Make sure your goal is measurable; in this case make sure you state your ultimate weight loss goal in pounds. Is your goal attractive — is this something you really, really, really want right now? Is your goal realistic? Is it realistic to lose the stated amount of pounds in the specified timeframe? Last but not least, time-frame your goal, so that it includes a deadline by which you wish to achieve it. My goal statement is I am a fit, healthy and vital woman weighing 149 pounds and I have the unlimited energy I need to enjoy my life to the full. When you read your goal statement it should get you pumped. If not re-write it until it does.

  13. Break down your weight loss goals into increments.
  14. If you have 44 pounds to lose like I did, then break it up into 11 pound increments. You could set mini-milestones around the increments and set yourself short-term and long-term goals. For example, I now have another 44 pounds to lose to achieve my ideal weight. So my short-term goal is to lose 9 pounds before summer and my long-term goal is to lose 44 pounds before 30 Jan next year. I set the date of January 30, as this has special significance to me. You could choose a special date, too, whether it’s a birthday, an anniversary or it could be the date one year from now.

  15. Enlist the support of others.
  16. It’s most important to gain the support of those with whom you live and work. Share your goals with them and ask for their support. If you need to get some independent, objective support from a third party, then think about using your own personal weight loss coach to share your commitment, keep you accountable and on track. My main support in the beginning was my dietician and she gave me the basic education in healthy eating I needed. I believe in it her plan so much, I know sell and use a program she designed specifically for ShapeShifters — just like the one I used to lose weight.

  17. Take action.
  18. Begin with the end in mind. Set goals around weight loss, exercise and eating. Start by setting small daily and weekly goals to get you on your way to meeting your long-term goals. Before you get on with the next part of your busy life commit to taking at least one action in the next 24-48 hours. Research shows that you are more likely to succeed at your long-term goals if you take the first action within 24-48 hours of committing to a taking action on a short-term goal.

  19. Celebrate.
  20. Keep track of your progress of all of your achievements and celebrate your milestones. One of my clients who recently embarked on her journey to lose 77 pounds decided that for every 4 pounds she lost she would add to her essential oil collection. She then worked out in advance her rewards for her entire weight loss journey. For the first 11 pounds she decided she deserved a one and a half hour total body and facial massage, for the next 11 pounds she would reward herself with an entire new makeup collection, for the next 11 pounds she would update her lingerie collection, and so on, you get the picture.

So … what is the first step you will take?
Danielle Ferris is director and head coach of ShapeShifters, visit www.healthyandhappy.com.au for more information.

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