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Weight loss is not physical

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Weight loss is not about how much you do or don't sweat! Weight loss has nothing to do with how many carbs you eat in a day! Weight loss has nothing to do with anything physical! It is all psychological. If your mind believes you can do something then you will more than likely do it. If your mind does not think you can do something then you probably won't try very hard since you are not going to do it anyway. Simply put we have to make our minds believe in what we are doing! Do you want to know why you have tried so many diets and they all failed? Because you did not believe you could actually succeed!

Think of it like this. If you have a boss that is constantly berating you and putting you down are you going to want to go that extra mile for him? If a car does not have a battery, no matter how well that car has been taken care of it, will it start?. If you are in school and believe you are going to fail anyway are you going to study very hard for that test? Of course not.

it is the same with weight loss. No matter how good your intentions are and how bad you really want this to happen, before long you will give up again. Because your mind does not believe you can do this.There is always going to be another donut you feel you cannot resist. There will always be an excuse not to exercise that day and then the next and the next and before long you realize you were right. You did fail.

No matter how good your intentions are and how well you have planned out what to do. Nothing is going to work until you believe it will work. It does not matter how much you hate exercising. If you do not in your mind think you will succeed, then you won't. Oh you might stick with it for a couple of weeks, maybe even a month. But you will not stick with it for the long haul. If your mind feels you are going to be rewarded for doing something then you more than likely will do it.

I know we are not supposed to look at this like another diet instead a lifestyle change. But do our minds really believe that?

It is all centered around the neurotransmitters in our brains. Take Dopamine for example, we have all heard about this "feel good hormone". However, dopamine is not just a feel good hormone. It is a neurotransmitter meaning it carries chemical messages to different parts of your brain affecting the rest of your body. Dopamine is more of a motivator in our brains. It is what signals us that something important is going to happen and then our bodies respond accordingly. The lower our dopamine levels are the less likely we are going to follow through with what we are working towards. Dopamine is increased in our brains when it gets positive reinforcement or feedback. That happens by tracking your progress. Motivation is what gets you to that gym every time. Motivation is what keeps you from eating those donuts your coworker brought to work. Motivation comes from increased dopamine.

Okay so all that is good and all, but how is that going to help me. I cannot force my brain to produce more dopamine. That is true. You cannot force your mind to do anything it doesn't want to do. So how do we get our minds to increase production of dopamine? By rewarding our progress. For example you hate going to the gym. It's sweaty, it stinks, too much testosterone in the air and it hurts. Okay that is your mind telling you that you will not succeed at your goal so why even bother. But if we reward ourselves for each step we take towards our goal. Our minds will start increasing dopamine levels which increases motivation. That is why they say not to go gung ho on a diet and just stop eating everything you like all at one time but to ease into it one step or food at a time. Let's say I decide I want to quit drinking soda and drink more water. Just go for one day. Then your brain starts saying hey I feel better, let's try that again. We try that for a week and then a month and then all of a sudden our blood pressure has lowered and we are not so tired in the afternoons anymore. Your brain then starts seeing soda as a bad thing instead of a reward. So they say white flour is not good for you but your brain is saying but I really love my white bread and pastas. You have to train your brain to believe that it is bad for you. It has to see it to believe it. So instead of cutting out all foods with white flour you just change your bread to multigrain instead. Your brain is starting to feel a little less sluggish and it likes the way it feels so it releases dopamine and your body begins responding as well.

After reading all the information I have been reading on dopamine and the other neurotransmitters in my brain, I finally understand why we are only supposed to take one step at a time, and not a huge leap but a small step. When we do that, we do something good for ourselves. I was setting up goals and rewards but not following through with the goals as long as I had set up to do them, so I was not getting the rewards. This was because I did not believe in my mind that I could really do it this time. I was not getting positive feedback so therefore my brain was not releasing more dopamine. Without reward there is no motivation. Where there is no motivation there is no success. Where there is no success there is no reward. It is a circle that goes on and on with no end. Unless you break the cycle. Take smaller steps so that you see rewards more often.

One of the things we have worked on in our 5% challenges has been to eat off of a smaller plate. If you sit two plates of different sizes next to one another, then put the same portion size on each one. Which plate are you going to choose? The one that is half empty or the one that is full of food? The one that is full of food of course. Because your brain is thinking, WOW I get to eat all of that? instead of, is that all I get? Do the same thing with your water. If you really do not drink water and dread those 8-10 cups a day, try a larger cup. I have a 52 ounce cup I keep my water in. Why? It is the same principal as the plate. I only have to drink one of these full of water plus less than 12 ounces a day instead of 8 to 10 8-ounce cups of water a day. One of my cups is equal to 6 and 1/2 cups of water. To me that is a lot easier to manage than the 8 cups of water a day. It is all in how your mind perceives it. It is the same with exercise. It is a whole lot easier for me to do 10 to 15 minutes of exercises at different times of the day than to have to actually do 1 full hour in one sitting. That seems more time consuming than the 15 minutes does.
That is also why I change my banner on my sparkpage so often. Those different boxes on my sparkpage banner are badges that I have earned each week for doing different tasks in the 5% Challenge I do each season, including one for sticking to my exercise commitment. Incentive to do it? Oh yes! It feels so good when I go on my sparkpage and see those badges each week and know that other people are seeing just what I have accomplished too. It feels good. There again my brain releases dopamine which increases my motivation to keep doing that task.

What I am really trying to say is baby steps and rewards for each step taken equals success. We have to change our way of thinking. Positive re-enforcement is the only way to actually achieve that.

Well that is it for me. I need to hit the post button now before I change everything I just wrote again.

God bless you and keep you on your journey! Have a fabulous day!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • BJAEGER307
    Very well said Barb! We definitely have to take it one day at time, and make small changes. I feel if we try and make a zillion changes at once, you're right Barb we won't accomplish anything.

    Very wise words today!
    1503 days ago
    Well said!
    1504 days ago
    1504 days ago
    While I agree with you that the first step toward weight loss has to be that mental step you take to actually want to loose weight, I also believe there it is a balance between how much you exercise, how much and what kind of foods you eat, how you are sleeping, and what is your motivation for loosing weight. They all work together.

    As for the smaller plate, if that really helps a person eat smaller portions then I'm all for it. I, personally, have been working hard to eat a bit slower so I feel full often before I finish what I have dished up for myself. When that happens, I stop eating and either save what's left on my plate or throw it away. My mother would say that is very wasteful "remember the starving kids in Biafra"; but eating more than I need isn't doing me any good. Next time I will remember to take a smaller portion of that food.

    I do love the 5% challenges - it gives me even more reason to get up and get moving.
    1504 days ago
    Very true!
    1504 days ago
    I BELIEVE in myself. 1/2 the battle!!
    1504 days ago
    Great blog! You are so right- where ever the mind goes, the body will follow!
    1504 days ago
    emoticon emoticon Small steps in changing our thoughts and actions are a good path to follow.
    1504 days ago
    Great blog. Thanks for sharing.
    1505 days ago
  • MAWMAW101
    I agree with Reneegade, things I do now would not have worked for me in the beginning.
    It really is all about small steps repeated until they become part of my daily routine.
    Thanks for the blog! emoticon
    1505 days ago
  • BLUEJAY1969
    Thanks for this blog! I really needed to read this today! I need to begin the steps over again apparently so I will do just that! I think that even though I have been taking baby steps, I haven't been giving myself enough time to "settle into" the new habit. I thought that 21 days was enough. Perhaps not or perhaps you have to revamp your steps from time to time. I am "an experiment of one" so I guess I'll keep on experimenting until I get it right! God bless!
    1505 days ago
  • EISSA7
    This blog is awesome-Thank YOU!! You have hit the weight battle on the head -it is psychological, fought in the mind....small goals, small steps DO add up to success and success builds confidence to continue the healthy journey!
    1505 days ago
    Things that I am doing now would have not worked at the beginning of my weight loss journey.
    1505 days ago
    Thank you for your blog. I agree about the psychological aspects of losing weight but I also believe that, at least I found that by efficiently studying my habits and tracking every day I have become more efficient at losing weight
    1505 days ago
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