Becoming Mentally Skinny: How to Adopt a Weight Loss Mindset
Want to know the real secret behind every incredible weight-loss transformation? Hint #1: It’s not the trendiest diet. Hint #2: It’s not some flab-burning workout program or some magical exercise gizmo. Hint #3: It’s not the latest, greatest, as-seen-on-TV fat burner. Hint #4: It’s not harnessing the power of some newly-discovered hormone in isolation. While nutrition, physical activity, and lifestyle are all tremendously important, the real key is an incredibly strong, resilient mindset. In other words, you need to become mentally skinny!
While some people are wired with a champion’s mindset, the good news is the brain is highly plastic, and we are in the driver’s seat when it comes to a successful mental transformation. Here are 6 keys to becoming mentally skinny.
6 Ways to Get Mentally Skinny
Tip 1: Watch Your Mouth.
We are often our own worst enemies, and so many people are guilty of negative self-talk. We beat ourselves up, call excessive attention to our perceived flaws, and shine a spotlight on our mistakes, misgivings, and failures.
These toxic behaviors zap our self-confidence, drain our self-esteem, and set self-imposed barriers, which are so far below our actual potential. Simply put, if we talked to or treated others the way we often do ourselves, we wouldn’t have any friends—not a single one.
As hokey as it may sound, uprooting that toxic behavior with positive, uplifting self-talk, self-treatment, and self-affirmations is essential to changing your body and becoming mentally skinny. Of course, this is easier said than done, but it’s like any bad habit (and that’s exactly what self-criticism is).
First, you’ve got to be mindful enough to catch yourself when you talk to and treat yourself negatively, disrespectfully, and unfairly. Next, exercise some self-compassion, which is just like expressing compassion for someone else.
Tip 2: Let’s Get Visual.
Just like thoughts, words, and actions, our imagination can be an incredibly powerful (yet double-edged) tool when it comes to transforming our bodies. According to renowned speaker, author, and coach Bob Proctor, whose name is synonymous with success and inspiration, visualization is “the great secret of success.”
Let me repeat that: Visualization is the great secret of success.
How do you see yourself? What images come to mind? Is it the leaner, more energetic, happier, more capable, and limitless version of yourself you were born to be? Or…is it an image of someone who’s sick, tired, fat, unhappy, unfulfilled, and suffocated by self-imposed boundaries?
If this were a cartoon, it’s obvious which one of those characters would thrive, and that’s the character you deserve to be.
No matter where you are in your journey right now, you have to have a clear, vivid image of who and where you want to be. Etch that vision into your mind’s eye and refer to it often. It’s the compass that will guide you and your actions, decisions, and behaviors. As the revered Mr. Proctor says, “The only limit on our life is the limit on our own thinking; the limit we place on our imagination.”
It’s time to paint a new picture in your mind. In your imagination, visualize your body in clothes that fit perfectly and that you feel great in. Imagine stepping onto the scale and seeing your healthy weight. Imagine feeling vibrant and hearing people around you complimenting you and your progress. As Proctor says, “Build a clear image of you looking and feeling fantastic.”
Instead of being so judgmental, be warm and understanding. Instead of thinking you’re on isolation island (e.g., you’re the only who suffers, makes mistakes, etc.), realize that we’re all human, and all that stuff is part of the human experience. Then, reframe and point out any bright spots and positive facts.
In addition, come up with a list of self-affirmations, including things and accomplishments that you are proud of, and perhaps more importantly, self-affirmations about what you are going to accomplish. Thoughts, my friend, become reality; plant those seeds of mentally skinny success!
Tip 3: “Release” It Rather than “Lose” It.
Yet another wise insight from Mr. Proctor comes back to the type of language you use when speaking to yourself and others. Otherwise, he explains, “you will sabotage yourself with negative self-image dialogue.”
To start, remove words like “dieting” and “losing weight” from your conversations. Who wants to diet?! The second you even start thinking “diet,” you’ve set yourself up for self-sabotage. Unless, of course, you are only looking for a quick “fix” or short-term “results” that have no staying power. Instead, focus on what you want—to not only hit a healthy weight but to stay there for the long term.
In addition, the mind looks for what is lost—from your car keys to those pounds you’ve shed. That’s why Proctor recommends using terms like “releasing weight” when you are talking to yourself as well as others.
Then write down the full description of what you will have accomplished—from your new healthy weight to your jeans size to your energy levels to how you feel about yourself. Use affirmative words such as “releasing weight, enjoying healthy foods, and feeling vibrant.”
Then take the time to read your affirmations several times each day. See yourself as already being at your perfect weight, and looking, feeling, and behaving in a healthy way. Get emotionally involved with these ideas.
Tip 4: Set Boundaries.
All of us—not just children and puppies—need boundaries when it comes to succeeding in any domain in life. If you want to change the way your body looks and feels, you’re going to need to come up with a list of non-negotiable “rules” for yourself.
One that comes to mind is what has been colloquially termed “Tammy’s Rule” by our Facebook VIP Community. Tammy’s Rule basically states, “Don’t eat until you’ve exercised.”
Howard Hedlund, another member of our VIP Community and winner of a previous transformation challenge, had a litany of these non-negotiables (including Tammy’s Rule) that helped him drop 200 pounds. Some that stand out to me include:
- Eat slowly.
- Do at least 10 minutes of light exercise or activity after eating.
- Do at least 10 minutes of exercise or activity after waking.
Here are a few more that come to mind (some a bit more obvious than others):
- Meditate daily.
- Practice gratitude daily.
- Stop eating within 2 – 3 hours of bedtime.
- Get into bed by 10:00 pm.
- Spend at least 10 – 15 minutes outdoors in the morning between 8:00 am and noon.
- Eliminate added sugars.
- Eat only real, whole foods.
- Drink 100 ounces of clean water daily.
- Consume at least “x” grams of protein daily.
- Never have trigger foods in the house.
Setting boundaries also means saying NO to things, activities, and people that don’t align with your #1 priority. If there are toxic people in your life who say things or promote behaviors that run counter to your goal, it may be time to evaluate whether that’s a relationship you need to hold onto.
Set rules that mean something to you, that challenge you (but aren’t impossible), and whenever possible, seem like low-hanging fruit.
Tip 5: Reframe.
Even though I’ll be the first one to shine an optimistic light, I’m not going to tell you that path to changing how you look and feel is all sunshine and rainbows. Change is a process, “bad” habits have deep roots, and if you haven’t realized it yet, you don’t have control over everything and everyone. (By the way, it’s really important that you come to grips with that and focus on managing what you can: YOU.)
Reframing—seeing things from a different perspective or through a different lens—is a linchpin to being mentally skinny. See setbacks and failures as lessons. See challenges and obstacles as opportunities to grow. Instead of making excuses, become a problem solver, greeting opportunities with resilience and creativity.
Slip up on your diet? Stay up too late? Not being consistent with your workouts? Why? What can you learn from your experiences? Is your environment toxic? Do you need to clean out your kitchen? Do you need to take a different route to/from work?
Are you setting yourself up for success? Can you work out in the morning before life becomes chaotic? Did you pack your workout clothes?
Were you feeling a little bummed out? Is there a better, more effective way to handle your emotions than food? Do you have the support network and encouragement you need? Speaking of which…
Tip 6: Get Social.
No, I’m not talking about mindlessly scrolling social media. And I’m not necessarily talking about cyberstalking your favorite celebrities or fitness models, who are likely to show you only the “good” stuff (like professionally-taken photos and pictures of healthy meals).
That type of social activity can actually run quite counter-productive to becoming mentally skinny. What I’m talking about is harnessing the power of social support and accountability.
You see, for many people who struggle to achieve their ideal weight, the issue is not a lack of information; it’s a lack of support and accountability. In other words, to successfully transform our bodies, we often have to transform our lives, and to do that, we need to have support and accountability from the people we choose to surround ourselves with.
It makes sense. Humans are naturally social. We are intended to be part of a tribe, and we thrive when we have a sense of community. For starters, a supportive community helps by providing encouragement and motivation. Like-minded people with similar goals…
- Encourage you to keep going when the going gets tough
- Share similar experiences (challenges and triumphs)
- Give you a genuine pat on the back for making progress
- Inspire you to do your best
- Never criticize you
- Provide non-judgmental accountability
- Raise awareness to self-sabotaging habits
In other words, social support means encouragement, recognition, motivation, inspiration, friendly competition, accountability, and overall, FUN. And of course, when you surround yourself with positive social support, you get great information related to health and weight loss, such as tips for burning extra calories, recipes, healthy foods, and snacks. You know, all those things we’re so fascinated with. 🙂
Sometimes it can be tricky to find social support. In other words, you may have to look outside the circles you currently find yourself in (which may be a good reflection of how you got to where you are). The good news is there are many positive support groups, including on the Internet.
In fact, that’s exactly why we created our private Facebook VIP Community. For YOU. For FREE. For your SUCCESS.
The Journey to Being Mentally Skinny
Despite what you may have been led to believe, the real secret to getting in great shape—and staying there—is a strong, resilient mindset. After all, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. While some are blessed with the mindset of a champion, most of us need to put in just as much—actually, more—work on our mental transformation as we do our physical one. Put these tools to use to become mentally skinny, and your body will follow.