If you’re like most people, the biggest obstacle in the fat loss battle is yourself. It’s the crazy stuff that goes on in your brain that ultimately impedes your goals to transform your body.
Probably the most common limiting belief is the all-or-nothing mindset. People think, “Oh well, I’ve already ruined my diet today by eating pizza, so I’ll just eat this entire pint of cookie dough ice cream with half of this cake for dessert and start over tomorrow.”
Come on, people! It’s like saying, “Oh no, I have a flat tire, I’ll just slash the other three.”
This is nonsense! And it’s seriously harmful because all the junk you eat after you “throw in the towel” counts. The calories add up, especially when you consume thousands more than you need on a regular basis.
This article will discuss five more negative mindsets that derail your ability to stick with an exercise or nutrition program. By overcoming these harmful ways of thinking, you’ll be one step closer to getting the body you desire.
#1: No Patience: “Right here, Right NOW!!”
When you’re being good and virtuous, you want immediate results. We get it. Quick results give you a mental boost and help you believe in your efforts. That’s one reason very low carb diets tend to be the most effective: They allow for rapid weight loss due to the decrease in water stores and they quickly shift the body into fat loss mode.
However, even on a low-carb diet some patience is necessary. We’ve all seen the person who expects their waistline to shrink after one workout. Or they check out their abs after a few days on an eating plan and expect to see their six-pack emerging. We all want results faster than our physiology allows.
Unfortunately, the human body takes time to change. Many people skip over this reality and go right into negative thinking and start jumping to conclusions, telling themselves that giving a program 4 to 8 weeks to start seeing changes is too long and they’re never going to make it.
Solution: You need three things: Patience, faith, and a really good program.
Understand that it takes at least 2 weeks to see a measurable change in body fat if you eat a low-carb diet. Other nutrition plans often take longer to kick in, so you have to give it at least 4 weeks before throwing in the towel. Muscle development takes a minimum 6 weeks to see measurable muscle growth and in older people over 50, you don’t see small increases until 9 or 10 weeks.
#2: Deadline Dieting: “I’m on a deadline! I have to lose weight by…”
The right here, right now mindset can easily shift into a deadline driven mindset in which you fixate on a day in the future when you’ll have lost the fat and you get to stop dieting and stop exercising anymore. This approach NEVER works.
It’s highly associated with weight cycling, which often leads people to become fatter than they were before they ever went on a diet due to hormonal changes and the degradation of muscle mass.
Solution: Instead of fixating on your deadline, shift your focus to establishing habits that you can sustain for the long-term. After all, if you want to maintain changes in your body, you have to embrace the fact that exercise and good nutrition are a lifelong habit, not a temporary thing that you can abandon once you get the body you want.
#3: Can’t Do Attitude: “I’ve failed before. I obviously can’t do it.”
This mindset is terribly detrimental for two reasons: First, the reality is that if you do the same thing that hasn’t worked in the past, then you’re probably right, you’ll fail again. You need a new, effective plan.
Second, it keeps you focused on obstacles that are fixed in your mind, so they can’t be overcome instead of getting you to identify the obstacles and brainstorm ideas for overcoming them.
For example, aerobic-style cardio programs rarely work for the long-term because you lose muscle in the process and your metabolic rate drops. Plus, the vast majority of people compensate for calories burned during exercise by eating more.
With a “can’t do” attitude, you know from past experience that you were unsuccessful at fat loss with a cardio program. You fixate on that fact, blame yourself and never realize that all you need is a new approach.
Instead, strength training and intervals often work where cardio fails for fat loss. This type of exercise (called anaerobic) is much more effective, increasing lean muscle mass, boosting metabolic rate, and leading to hormonal and enzyme adaptations in the body that allow for greater fat burning. This combination makes it possible to sustain fat loss for the longer term.
Solution: Don’t do the same thing that hasn’t worked before and expect to get different results! Look to science to identify the most effective fat loss program: Strength train a few days a week and throw in a few short interval workouts lasting no longer than 25 minutes. Eat a high-protein diet designed around whole foods. Minimize processed junk and random meal skipping.
#4: Blaming Others/Feeling Sorry For Yourself: “Why isn’t it working for me?”
A lot of people find it easier to blame others for skipping a workout than to take responsibility themselves. But if you’re in a blaming mindset, you’ll not only overlook ways in which your own attitude or behaviors contributed to the problem, but you also put the responsibility to change your behavior on someone else. When that change doesn’t happen, you end up digging yourself into a deeper hole and get into the habit of blaming others, making it harder to change in the future.
Solution: Take responsibility for your results. Coaches, friends, and experts can all guide and support you in your fat loss efforts, but you have to be honest with yourself about your habits. Instead of blaming, utilize your support network to help troubleshoot pitfalls so that you can change your behavior.
#5: Holding Back
Sometimes changing your body requires you to do some things that aren’t very cool. You have to plan meals ahead of time. Sometimes you have to bring food with you when others are splurging on junk food. You have to do exercises that make you feel silly or idiotic. You have to go to bed early or get up at an ungodly hour to get your workout in.
A lot of times people are afraid of going “all in” and doing the things that make it possible to live a lean lifestyle. People hold back for a lot of reasons. Maybe they let their emotions guide their reasoning and avoid making the hard changes or the ones that go against the norm. Maybe they are scared of fully committing because it means that they’ll have to say, “that’s the best I can do.”
Solution: We know how to help you achieve a lean body composition. It’s not a mystery and there’s no magic bullet. The catch is that you’ve got to go “all in” and buy into the plan. Then you can troubleshoot the little things that trip you up.
Challenge your limits. Take ownership of your attitude and see how far you can really go!