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Mind Over Body

Introduction

Ask anyone who has been struggling to achieve a healthy weight and lifestyle. They’ll tell you that it's not an easy thing to do, mainly because there is a huge difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it.

There is no magic pill, no secret technique or approach that can solve this problem for you. It will take time, hard work and persistence to get yourself where you want to be. But there are several things you can do (and think) that can make all that hard work a little easier and greatly improve your chances of success.

SparkPeople's Mind Over Body plan is designed to give you the tools you need to identify, work through, and overcome the most common emotional and mental (attitude) problems that people face when they set out to change their lifestyles.

Mind Over Body is a 10-step plan. The first five steps describe tools you can use to get past the five most common problems that people run into:

  1. inadequate problem-solving skills
  2. unrealistic expectations
  3. toxic guilt & negative self-talk
  4. emotional eating
  5. lack of intrinsic motivation

The second five steps will help you make the shift from “diet” to “lifestyle" change - whether you need to lose weight or not. Diets don’t work. Even if you manage to survive all the unpleasantness of depriving yourself long enough to get to your weight goal, your odds of regaining the weight when you stop "dieting" are higher than 90%. By making the shift from diet mode to lifestyle mode, you'll be able to put aside the habits that got you overweight or unhappy once and for all. You'll develop skills that will not only make these changes less stressful and more enjoyable, but also keep the weight off and help you achieve other important life goals.

Here are some of the basic differences between a diet and a lifestyle change:


Diet - Lifestyle

  The goal is self-limiting.
When you get to your goal weight, you stop the diet
  The goal is open-ended.
Weight management becomes part of your daily life, with strategies that vary as circumstances, priorities, and needs change.
 
 
A diet is a surface level change.
It involves simple changes in behaviors you are already doing (or not doing). You take in fewer calories from food and (maybe) expend more calories on activity. Foods are "good" or "bad" based on calorie content.
 
Lifestyle changes are made on many levels.
In addition to healthy changes in your relationship with food and exercise, you will challenge the basic attitudes, beliefs, thoughts and feelings that made you overweight (and unhappy) to begin with.
 
 
Progress and success are measured by the scale.
Anything that results in weight loss is considered acceptable, even if it poses potential problems or risks. Failure to lose weight as fast as desired is very upsetting, and the process feels like a constant battle. High stress is constant.
 
Progress and success are measured in terms of satisfaction & quality of life.
Weight loss and maintenance continue to be important, but are put in perspective as one way you can move towards larger, more rewarding goals. Daily ups and downs become much less stressful.
 
 
Results don't last.
Even if you manage to stick with all the unpleasantness of a diet long enough to reach your weight goal, your odds of keeping it off permanently are less than one in twenty.
 


Results are lasting.
Your lifestyle change is an open-ended, ongoing process with goals that continue to expand and grow. There is no reason to go back to the habits that got you overweight in the first place.

 


Within each of the 10 steps in the Mind Over Body Plan, you'll find two basic types of information. First, you'll see something similar to the “emergency treatment” you get from your doctor when you are having a medical problem. This advice is designed to deal with symptoms and help you get back to “normal” functioning as quickly as possible. Second, each step will link to information that is more similar to “preventive” medicine. It's designed to help you improve your health and wellness so that you are less vulnerable to illness and injury in the first place.

Both sets of information are necessary and important for long-term weight loss success.

We strongly encourage you to read through all 10 steps as soon as you can and follow the suggestions provided. During your weight loss journey, forewarned is forearmed; knowing which problems you’re likely to run into (and solutions that really work) can help you minimize the effects of these problems, and get on top of them quickly. Then, if you find yourself struggling repeatedly with a problematic behavior, attitude, or feeling, you can come back and do some more detailed work on the step(s) relevant to that problem.

And remember—whatever information or practical suggestions you might find in these articles is no substitute for the kind of mutual support available out on the Message Boards. So, make sure you don’t stop after reading this material. Visit the Message Boards to give and receive the support we all need to be successful at lifelong weight management.



Mind Over Body
10 Steps to Achieve a Healthy Lifestyle

  1. Put the “I” in Your Weight Loss Plan. Learn how knowing the answer to one simple question can improve your chances for success by up to 100%.

  2. Take the stress out of weighing in. Is your scale making you crazy? Read about three things you can do to take the stress out of your weigh-ins.

  3. Tame your " toxic guilt" before it wipes out your will power . Learn how to exercise your healthy lifestyle conscience and avoid those bad feelings that send you running to the refrigerator every time you slip up.

  4. Tame your Emotional Eating Beast . Find out how to inoculate yourself against emotional distress before it leads to mindless eating.

  5. Take the mystery out of staying motivated. Take steps to become your own best motivator, and put the problem of disappearing motivation behind you for good.

  6. Write your vision statement. Learn why a good vision statement is crucial to success, and what you’ll want to include in yours.

  7. Plot your strategy. Read about setting effective lifestyle goals and finding strategies that work.

  8. Give yourself a reality check-up. Make sure your own beliefs aren’t getting in your way.

  9. Pave the way for persistence. Organize your personal world so that it keeps you going when the going gets tough.

  10. Learn from yourself. These important tips explain how you can let your own experience help you create the plan that will work best for you.

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Mind Over Body