Walking Guide

19 Ways to Stop Taking Yourself So Seriously When Losing Weight

By , SparkPeople Blogger
We get it. Trying to lose weight—whether it's 10 pounds or 100—isn't exactly a barrel of fun. It's a long and often arduous journey marked by confusing signs and steep hills, with the occasional pothole or detour thrown in for good measure.
 
Planning nutritious meals and exercising regularly is hard work, and it can be maddening when the scale doesn't respond as quickly or as dramatically as you'd like. But that doesn't mean you can't find ways to lighten things up a bit. Weight loss can be an emotional roller coaster—so, next time you feel like want to cry, look for opportunities to laugh instead.
 
1. Think about what else you're gaining besides weight loss. Katie Ziskind, a licensed marriage and family therapist at Wisdom Within Counseling, says it's important to focus on the benefits beyond body image. "Often, people lose weight to get a fit body. However, that mindset only creates more negative thinking and fuels your inner critic," she says. When losing weight, think about what you want to gain as part of this growth process—like new, healthier friends, more confidence, lower blood pressure, healthy cholesterol levels and an energy boost.
 
2. Stop weighing yourself if it's driving you crazy. "Stressing yourself out is hormonally keeping you from your goals by pushing up your cortisol levels and making you store your fat cells instead of burn them," notes Dr. Heather Hammerstedt, a board-certified emergency physician and CEO of Wholist, a lifestyle coaching company. She suggests choosing a time once per month to step on the scale, and then concentrate on making the right choices every day instead of boarding the emotional roller coaster.
 
3. Find fun ways to measure your progress. Joni Hough, who became a certified health coach after losing 150 pounds herself, has a unique way of measuring progress: "Once a month or so, wrap a piece yarn around your waist and cut it when it goes around once, then tape it up on a wall. As the yarn gets shorter, you'll be able to see your progress."
 
4. Don't pick a number for your target weight. Instead, fitness trainer Jeff Miller with Function Fitness suggests setting goals that are functional rather than number-based. For example, "I will be able to climb 20 stairs without getting out of breath," or "I will be able to run five minutes without stopping," or "I will be able to fit into this pair of jeans."
 
5. Know your audience. Dr. Karen R. Koenig, a psychotherapist with an expertise in eating psychology, says not to assume that your weight-loss journey and eating habits are as interesting to others as they are to you. "It’s unlikely that they want to hear a blow-by-blow description of your every meal and interaction with the scale," she says.

6. Blame the food, not yourself. Registered dietitian Ilana Muhlstein followed this rule along her own 100-pound weight-loss journey, and advises her clients to do the same. "When we eat a whole sleeve of cookies, it is so easy to blame ourselves, feel guilty and like a failure—but most of these foods are scientifically designed to cause addictive eating," she notes. "Next time you overeat a food and feel powerless to it, don't beat yourself up. You aren't the wrongdoer; the food is—so instead of punishing yourself, focus on avoiding it better in the future."
 
7. Banish the "good/bad" mentality. "Remember that you’re not 'good' because you eat healthy foods and lose weight, and you're not 'bad' for eating non-nutritious foods and not losing weight," Koenig says. "Good and bad are moral terms, so don’t let anyone judge your eating or weight—and don’t judge yourself, either."
 
8. Ditch the strict diets. Instead, Hough says, focus on choosing whole, nourishing foods that help you do what you want with your body.
 
9. Know that weight fluctuation is okay. "A lot of people beat themselves up when they, for example, lose two pounds Monday to Friday and then gain one back over the weekend," Muhlstein says. "That still means they are losing about a pound a week, which is great, which would be about 50 pounds of weight loss in a year, and would only need to make some minor food choice improvements over the weekends to see a greater weight loss overall."
 
10. Treat healthy food like a reward, not a deprivation. Registered dietitian Ruth Crocker suggests pretending that you are rewarding yourself by eating a simple, regulated diet. "It won’t have to last forever, and it may even turn off some of those urges for high-carb, high-fat combo foods."
 
11. Take the time to learn something new that has always interested you. Summer Yule had always wanted to learn to make a colonial-style braided rug, so she mastered the skill during the period in her life when she was working on weight loss.
 
12. Look for the humor in (almost) everything. According to Allen Klein, author of "The Healing Power of Humor," laughter relieves stress, prevents burnout and puts a fresh perspective on any situation. "If you are unhappy with something, like perhaps not losing weight fast enough, a self-directed chuckle can ease the negative feelings," Klein says. As a bonus, studies have shown that a hearty laugh can burn calories and reduce emotional eating triggers.
 
13. Don't expect weight loss to equate to instant happiness. "Don’t expect your life to become more fabulous just because you’re slimmer," Koenig says. "You’re still the same person. Put your energy into working toward who you want to be."
 
14. Watch your language. Licensed psychotherapist Eliza Kingsford says it's important to be mindful of the negative messages you are giving yourself if you are having a bad day, and to replace them with kinder, gentler ones. “I look so fat in these jeans” might become “I choose to be kind to myself exactly as I am, even as I am working toward changing my shape." Never speak to yourself in an unkind manner, even if you don’t believe the positive words just yet.
 
15. Forgive yourself quickly for food "mistakes." "If you are in a situation where you don't get to choose what you eat, it's not that big of a deal," Hough says. "You aren't 'cheating' or 'being bad,' and you don't need to confess it to anyone. Instead of getting mad at yourself and spiraling into a binge, just move on and make healthier choices in the future."
 
16. Keep it simple—even boring. You don't have to devise complex meal plans that require a bevy of ingredients and equipment. Crocker says it's best to stay within a realm of food choices that are easy to add up (calorie-wise) and easy to decrease for a caloric deficit. "Remove triggers (high-calorie foods and snacks) and create a neutral environment of nutritious, lower-calorie foods," she suggests.
 
17. If the scale goes up, don't get mad—get curious. "It is very difficult to be angry and curious at the same time," Muhlstein says. "If the scale goes up, it is more productive to try and examine what could have caused that, rather than focus on feeling hatred for an objective measuring device."
 
18. Recognize your body's power. Immediately upon waking up each morning, Hough thinks about what her body lets her do. "My body lets me communicate with the people I love," she says. Maybe yours lets you stretch, walk the dog and prepare breakfast for your family. Losing weight is not your body's only job, and it's certainly not the most important.
 
19. Include play in your day. As a registered play therapist Kimberly Tucker encourages people to include playfulness as a weight-loss strategy. "Go do all of those things that you used to love. If you've been meaning to pick up that tennis racket and get back into playing, start small by hitting some balls against your garage door. Or when it's dusk and the basketball courts are empty, go take a few shots. You can get back into fitness slowly in a fun, playful way, and all those little baby steps add up and contribute to overall wellness."
 
How do you lighten up your weight loss journey? Share your tips for making the process more fun and enjoyable.


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Comments

2BDYNAMIC 11/20/2018
I think this is a 'must-read' and a 'one-size-fits-all message!
Thanks for a well written blog! Report
AJB121299 11/9/2018
nice Report
ALEXTHEHUN 10/31/2018
Fun and light-heartedness is essential. Otherwise, what's the point? Report
KATHYJO56 10/28/2018
Great article-I think we all need to read this one Report
ITSMEAGAIN0 10/25/2018
great article. I saved it to be able tor read it again in the future. Report
SHOAPIE 10/13/2018
Good reminders. Report
ANNKETCH 10/12/2018
I always seem to take life too seriously, and that includes weight loss. Thanks for the useful reminder and information. Now I just have to take it to heart! Report
HOLLYM48 10/12/2018
Great article! Report
PLATINUM755 10/11/2018
Niice...Thx! Report
AMYRCMK 10/11/2018
Thank you Report
BLESSEDBEING 10/11/2018
Absolutely love it! Sharing with my teams. One of the best blogs I've read! Thanks!! Report
SISTERPRETTY 10/11/2018
Awesome...thanks.... Report
NEPTUNE1939 10/11/2018
TY Report
LIS193 10/11/2018
Thanks Report
CECTARR 10/11/2018
Great Report
PICKIE98 10/11/2018
It is only what YOU make it. Report
97MONTY 10/11/2018
Great information Report
A-NEW-CHAPTER 10/11/2018
One of the best articles I've read! Really useful, practical and positive! Thank you :) Report
RHOOK20047 10/11/2018
Great blog, I needed to read this. Report
GETULLY 10/11/2018
I tend to not talk about my journey until I have reached a milestone. I am almost to one. These are all good points. Report
AZMOMXTWO 10/11/2018
thank you Report
ADIRONDACKMOM1 10/11/2018
Great tips! Report
DMEYER4 10/11/2018
great thanks Report
RAERAERAE62 10/7/2018
This was a good read, with usable information. Thank you. Report
SLIVERBULLET 10/7/2018
Great article Report
SARAHMAY14 10/6/2018
These are great ideas! Any advice on suppressing appetite? I recently found this red tea detox. Does anyone know anything about it? It claims to suppress hunger, which is where i struggle! But is this legit or not? https://spearheadreviews.com/the-re
d-tea-detox/ Report
NANAW12001 10/5/2018
So many of these fit what I’m doing wrong. Report
NASFKAB 10/5/2018
Amazing suggestions Report
SUNSET09 10/3/2018
Realize that it’s so much more than the weight lose, SparkFriends. We can and will do this. Report
SASHASMOM1122 10/3/2018
I Love this article it is so true and it's a habit I want to try, thanks! :)
Report
MARYGOLD5 10/2/2018
Great suggestions. Thanks. Report
1SUZIQ11 10/2/2018
Good tips! Report
SPINECCO 10/2/2018
Great. Report
JOLENE2787 10/2/2018
Great suggestions! Thanks for sharing them in one place. Report
JANTHEBLONDE 10/2/2018
Great article! Report
SHOAPIE 10/2/2018
Great ideas Report
NELLJONES 10/2/2018
I love #17. Report
AEISHAQM18 10/2/2018
Hi Everyone! One of my favorite things to do is get creative in the kitchen by inventing new healthy yummy recipes! i get a 2-n-1 deal with that combo! Report
VIV-808 10/2/2018
Great reminder. Thanks! Report
FERRARIFITNESS 10/2/2018
You're preaching to the choir on this topic! As a professional PT since 1995, this has been some of my sagest advice to all I've worked with struggling to lose body fat, even myself. If you go into weight loss with the attitude of embarking on a miserable adventure, most likely that is what it will be. Change the thought process and the journey becomes an entirely different game. Placing the responsibility for harm on the less than nutritious foods is also a thoughtful approach. Report
RHOOK20047 9/30/2018
Great article. Thanks for sharing. Report
KHALIA2 9/30/2018
Great article! Thanks! Report
ISLAORANGESTAR2 9/30/2018
Good article...thanks. Report
JANTHEBLONDE 9/30/2018
Great article! Report
USMAWIFE 9/30/2018
thank you Report
GEORGE815 9/30/2018
Dieting can increase our internal voices as more eating questions arise. Hope in the long run we make more correct healthy choices. Report
RAPUNZEL53 9/30/2018
Interesting. Report
MOONDRAGON29 9/30/2018
Great ideas! Report
ZRIE014 9/30/2018
good article Report
RHOOK20047 9/29/2018
Great article with some good suggestions. Report
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