Protecting Your Mental Health While Losing Weight: What You Should Do
Weight loss is a struggle that a lot of people deal with. Unfortunately, doing it improperly or drastically can have a negative impact on your mental health if you don’t have a positive attitude about it. The success rate for weight loss is low for many people.
Obesity is 50% more common in people with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression or bipolar disorder than in general. So exercise and adequate nutrition should be on the priority list for mental well-being but are often overlooked.
If you want to lose weight and beat cravings, you need to prepare your body and your mind. Here’s how to get a handle on the mental side of losing weight.
Keep a Journal
It is not always feasible to avoid stress. However, you can identify stress triggers and do your best to avoid people or situations that stress you out psychologically. Keeping a journal can be helpful during this time. In fact, studies have demonstrated that keeping a diary can double weight loss results.
A diary can be used in several ways. For example, you can simply keep a diary to document your food consumption. You can also use it to note down your thoughts to identify stress triggers. Keep a diary to record any foods or situations that may trigger you.
Make Small Changes
If your all-or-nothing mentality stops you from sticking with your diet, try taking small steps and setting short-term goals. However, first choose a specific healthy change that is both achievable and reasonable.
You could take a 15-minute walk every day after dinner. Set a goal that you will focus on for a week. If you keep a journal, note how you have succeeded in keeping that goal in mind each day. Give yourself some credit, too. Remember that even the smallest step is better than none at all.
Taking one step at a time can also assist you to avoid attempting too many changes at once. When we attempt to do too much simultaneously, we can easily lose motivation and become overwhelmed. On the other hand, if you achieve one small change, you will feel a sense of accomplishment that will motivate you to keep going.
Learn Relaxation Techniques
If possible, avoid places or people that trigger stress. However, if you can’t avoid those places or people, relaxation techniques can be a useful alternative to help manage emotions during stressful times.
Scientists have found that a certain type of relaxation technique called guided imagery can help some people lose excess weight. It is feasible to learn guided imagery with the help of a therapist but it is also vital to learn it on your own.
Listen to Self-Talk
When an individual has a negative body image, they can find themselves repeating negative messages about their body every day. Expressions like “I’m so out of shape” or “I’m so fat,” whether spoken out loud or in your head, can make it hard to take a healthy step when the opportunity presents itself.
Listen to your inner voice for a week or two if possible. Then list a few messages that you believe contain a negative self-image and write them down. After that, you can either consider replacing or challenge those messages with a more effective mantra. The phrases “My body is strong,” “I am strong enough,” and “I have come a long way” are common mantras people use to boost their self-confidence.
Researchers have found a link between depression, sleep patterns and stress and unhealthy eating habits. Therefore, improving sleep habits is one of the easiest and most relaxing steps to overcome psychological obstacles.
Make your bedroom a place of relaxation. Turn off all electronic devices (cellphones, televisions and computers). Also, do everything you can to reduce background noise. Install opaque curtains or invest in an inexpensive sleep mask to ensure you sleep in complete darkness. Some individuals also use a lower thermostat to foster a more relaxing night’s sleep.
Substitute Junk Food With Healthy Foods
Consider alternatives with some of the same qualities instead of going on a hunger strike to overcome cravings. Can’t get enough of the salty taste and crunchy texture of potato chips? Try a batch of crunchy kale chips that you’ll eat with gusto.
Instead of sandwiches for lunch, you can prepare a smoothie with fruits and additional green powder. This way, you can fortify it with the best creatine supplements containing digestive ingredients, adaptogens, micronutrients, and phytonutrients that promote overall health.
Even if you don’t alter your eating habits, over time, your taste buds and brain will become accustomed to these healthier alternatives, which will help you lose weight naturally.
Many professionals have specialized training in dealing with traumatic experiences, depression and other issues that can affect your ability to lose weight successfully. You can find a behavioral health specialist who is trained to identify and treat the underlying psychological causes of overeating and weight gain, such as depression.
The moment you accept that you need to improve your health and overall well-being, you will think of it as a lifestyle change rather than a dietary change. Using willpower to overcome cravings and develop a healthier relationship with food will help you achieve your goals. These improvements will positively impact your eating habits and overall well-being and will undoubtedly lead to weight loss.
Let us know in the comment section below how you deal with your weight loss journey.