As I have said before, I strongly believe that losing weight is a mindset issue. Once we have developed a healthy, positive way of thinking about ourselves, then any excess weight will start to drop away.
I was inspired earlier this week by a blog post by Leonie Dawson who wrote about the power of being your own best friend. It was wonderful and I saw the potential of this in practice when I did a talk for a group of women later the same day. The women were part of weight loss group who meet once a month to review their goals and focus on the weeks ahead. I was there for the check-in at the beginning of the meeting and I listened as one-by-one they criticised themselves for not doing as well as they had hoped over the past month. They used phrases like, 'I'm rubbish' and 'I've let myself down'. I wanted to jump in but there was no need, because as each of them spoke the other members of the group chimed in with words of encouragement and support.
When it was time to start my talk, I reflected on what had just happened and asked whether it would be possible for us to talk about ourselves in the same way we would about a friend. We would never say to a friend, 'You're rubbish' or 'You've let yourself down' if they hadn't reached their weight loss goals (at least, I hope not!) So why do we feel it's ok to talk about ourselves that way? Why do we save our encouragement and support for others?
This led me to thinking, what are some ways that we can start to be our own best friends. Here are three to start off with:
- Talk to and about yourself as you would to a close friend.Start to pay attention to the words you use, either when you are talking to yourself (that internal voice can be super-critical!) or when you're talking about yourself to others. Think, 'What would I say now if I was talking about my closest friend?' and use those kinder words. Start to develop a more compassionate attitude towards yourself.
- Do lovely things for yourself!You know the things that make you feel good, that make you feel looked after? Well, start doing them – every day! As a simple example, up until the beginning of this year, I would very rarely put body lotion on after a bath or shower. I knew that it made my skin feel gorgeous, but I often felt in a rush, like I didn't have the time; it wasn't a priority. So, what kind of message was I sending to myself? I was saying, 'Nicola, you are not even worth the effort of spending a couple of minutes to put body lotion on'. You can imagine what my subconscious mind made of that! So, this year, I decided to make putting on body lotion non-negotiable. It's something I do every day and I feel great every time I do.By doing something very simple, I am sending a clear message that I value myself and I'm worth taking care of.
So, what are the things that you can start to make non-negotiable?
- Celebrate your successesOften when I work with clients, they find it very easy to tell me about what has gone badly over the past week, how they ate a couple of cookies or didn't get to the gym as often as they wanted to. When I ask them what has gone well, they seem surprised to realise that actually there is usually a whole list of achievements (however small) and there is always some success to take from the week. As they talk about this, they start to feel good about themselves and feel positive.
A good friend won't allow you to dwell on the negatives, she will boost you up and tell you about all the wonderful things you have achieved. So, start doing that for yourself. Take some time each day to note what has gone well and celebrate. Do a little dance around the kitchen and congratulate yourself .
The more you celebrate your successes, the more positive you will feel and the better you will do.
Start building these three steps into your life, start making friends with yourself and see how it makes a difference to the way you feel.
I'd love to hear about your new best friend!