18. Do THIS in the Morning to Lose Weight
Welcome to episode 18 of the Mindful Weight Loss podcast! I am your host and your coach, Emily Erekuff.
And today I am talking about how to prime your day for weight loss. What is the magical thing you can do in the morning that will help you lose weight? Because there is something, and no it's not drinking lemon water or anything specific like that.
In fact, first I want to talk about what you don't have to do and the first big thing is that you don't have to become an early riser. For so many losing weight isn't just losing weight. It's about getting our lives back on track and when we envision our future selves, we're also envisioning a clean house, better clothes, more money. We envision a lot more than just being thin. And that's great, there is nothing at all wrong with that, but a lot of times we sabotage our weight loss efforts because we try to change everything all at once. Instead of just starting where we are and focusing on weight loss, we try to be that future person today - that person who is an early riser, that person whose house is spotless, who kills it at work, doesn't yell at the kids, and is always in the mood for sex.
And then when one part of that vision falls apart, so does the weight loss. You throw the baby out with the bathwater and doubt that you can really change anything. And this in itself becomes a vicious cycle. You go back to living as you always have, no longer dreaming about progress until you snap. You overeat and realize that the house is a disaster, that you hate your job, that you want so much better for yourself and you resolve once again to become that person you really want to be.
And you know if it takes overeating for you to wake up like that, thank goodness then for overeating. That is your best self sending you a message that you need to stop ignoring your desire for progress.
We are wired to evolve and to want more and better for ourselves. Dopamine, that amazing chemical in your body. It wants progress. It wants more for you. And if you don't let work towards your dreams, it will work towards food instead. It needs something to conquer, and so when you put your dreams on hold it will conquer the refrigerator.
So follow that desire for change. It will never go away by the way. Dopamine is never done. It's going to keep pushing you to change, evolve and grow your entire life.
And that's a great thing because it means that you don't have to do it all at once. You don't have to become the perfect you today and in fact you shouldn't, because dopamine is going to want you to keep going.
So don't overhaul your life to lose weight. If you're getting up at 8am, don't demand that you start waking up at 5am to go to drink warm water with lemon, meditate, go to the gym and whatever else that vision of your perfect self does every day. That is not required to lose weight. In fact you can lose weight and continue waking up at 8am for the rest of your life. And when you require such difficult changes of yourself all at once, you set yourself up for failure.
So ok, what then should you do in the morning to lose weight?
What you need to do is create positive momentum to begin your day, and you do that by doing ONE thing, just ONE thing, that makes you feel accomplished and proud, and demonstrates to yourself that you are moving forward, that you are growing and evolving.
So yeah, not 20 things, not 12, things, not 5 things, just one thing is all that is needed. You need to focus on one or maybe two small changes at a time so that you can show yourself that you are capable of change, so that you can create evidence to support your belief in yourself.
When you require too much right off the bat and you don't live up to those high expectations, you create evidence to support your belief in your own failure. But when you start smaller and give yourself credit for those small changes you support your belief in your success and that creates momentum that keeps you going.
This is the beauty of the cognitive behavioral cycle at work. Your thoughts and beliefs, because a belief is just a thought that you keep thinking, those thoughts and beliefs generate your feelings and your feelings motivate your actions. AND, the step that we sometimes overlook is that our actions then reinforce our thoughts and beliefs.
And that is why small changes are so worth it. You think, eh, walking around the block isn't going to make a difference, and honestly yeah, it might not make a difference to your waistline, BUT it makes a difference to your brain, to the thoughts that you entertain about yourself, your ability to commit to a task and so much more. And it's those changes in your thoughts that then motivate you to do more. And so you do a little more, and then you create a little more belief, and before you know it you have a positive self-reinforcing cycle that is working for you to get you what you want in your life.
So if you remember nothing else from this episode, please remember that small changes change your brain. When you think leaving a few bites on your plate isn't worth it, or you think just having a few bites when you're not hungry doesn't matter, or you think that doing 5 pushups is stupid, or that a 5 minute walk is lame, set yourself straight and remind yourself that those small changes will change your brain. Small changes matter so much because they change your brain.
And this doesn't apply just to weight loss. This applies across the board. Whatever goals you have in life, they key to success is starting small so you can change your brain and your beliefs first and build momentum.
And so when you pick an activity for your morning, it doesn't have to be weight loss focused. It can be anything that moves you forward towards the life you want. What's most important about the activity you choose is the feeling it generates. You want it to be something that leaves you feeling accomplished and successful. You want an activity that's going to make you say "Yes!" and do a fist-pump. You want an activity that you will appreciate; that will help you appreciate yourself for doing it.
And so picking that activity is up to you. For some people it's getting up and writing or working on their own business, for some it's meditating, for some it's doing something active, like working out or going for a walk. It doesn't matter WHAT it is or how long it takes, so long as it makes you feel successful.
Because you are naturally going to build on that success. Dopamine is going to want you to keep going, to accomplish more, and when you build your belief in yourself, you'll say, yeah, what else can I do?
So what small thing can you do when you begin your day tomorrow to create positive belief and momentum?
Remember small changes matter because they change your brain.