Counting calorie programs.
Fitness accountability groups.
You are inundated daily with to-do lists, advice and knowledge to help you reach your weight loss and fitness goals. Many of these programs help you successfully reach your goals.
If you find that despite your best efforts you don’t see any real progress, you may be overlooking and important concept: what you think is just as important as what you do.
You need to retrain your brain and readjust your thoughts in order for those fitness goals to work to the best of your abilities. Here are 4 ways to retrain your brain to get off a fitness plateau fast.
4 Ways to Train Your Brain to Get Off a Fitness Plateau Fast
Let’s look at four areas of thought that can sabotage your fitness goals.
1. Not embracing where you are in your journey.
Maybe those extra pounds are there for a reason right now.
I know, that sounds crazy. But sometimes your body needs a little bit of extra weight.
Between the discovery of my brain aneurysm and my surgery, I was not allowed to exercise. That was really tough for me emotionally and physically, as I am used to being very active and eating!. I gained a little bit of weight over those 3 months of inactivity. But after the brain surgery and throughout recovery, my body needed that little extra to get me through. I wasn’t eating well and I was in chronic pain. Having some extra pounds was less stressful for my body during that time because I had some reserve in my body.
I accepted where I was and decided to think positively about how my body was using that weight to help me recover. Embrace those pounds rather than wish them away. Maybe they are there for a reason you don’t even know about yet.
2. Focusing on the things you dislike about your body.
Do you find that when you look in the mirror you focus on the things you dislike about yourself? Do your body image thoughts focus on criticism? Your thighs are too big. If only you could lose some of that belly flab. Ugh, all those stretch marks!
Stop focusing on what you dislike about yourself. Change how you think as you look in the mirror.
Instead of thinking your thighs are too big, think about how your thighs are strong. Focus on the parts of your body you do like. Maybe you have expressive eyes, or great hair. Maybe you have nicely defined arms, despite some extra weight in the middle. Your mind is powerful. Use it to build yourself up, not tear yourself down.
3. Comparing yourself to others, especially on social media.
New research suggests that spending time on Facebook could lead to negative body image and even disordered eating if you focus on comparing your body and exercise/eating habits with others.
There are some pages and groups on social media that help you with your fitness goals, but there is also a lot of unhealthy comparison. Do you tend to only post the healthy meals and the days you exercise? Many pictures are altered and filtered to look better than reality.
Do you end up feeling bad about yourself when you see a friend post her “amazingly healthy, delicious, quick and easy meal?” Or that she just ran 3 miles without stopping and now she can conquer the world?
Do you post negative posts about yourself? “I can’t believe I ate that entire bag of M&M’s. I am such a cow,” or “I feel fat, need to go workout!”
Be aware of how social media makes you feel in terms of your own fitness journey. If you find that most of the time those Instagram photos and Facebook posts make you feel bad about yourself, perhaps you should restructure how you use social media.
4. Eating without enjoying the process.
Do you regularly shovel food into your mouth as you stand at your kitchen counter, rather than sitting down at the table?
Do you mindlessly eat and realize afterward you don’t even remember tasting the food?
Or do you guiltily shove a handful of sweets into your mouth rather than taking the time to actually enjoy the treat?
Instead, take time to sit down, slow down and actually enjoy the entire eating process. Start regarding eating as a pleasurable experience rather than something to be guiltily hurried through.
Really want a cookie? Go ahead and make homemade cookies with your kids. Use high quality ingredients, have fun making the cookies from scratch, and then enjoy eating them together. Savor the time spent together as well as the bites of melty goodness when the cookies are done.
As you slow down and enjoy the process of cooking and eating, begin to listen to your body. Listen to when your body is full, what foods make you feel energized and what foods make you feel tired and fuzzy.
When you take time to enjoy your meals, you also have time to listen to how your body responds to those meals, which will in turn helps you determine which foods will help you meet your fitness and eating goals.
Allowing your brain to help you with your fitness goals rather than impede them will set you on a track for success.
What ways do you see your brain stopping you from meeting your goals? How can you change your thoughts so you meet your goals?