The exercise/healthy eating/weight loss process would be so much easier if it weren’t for one thing: The fact that we often don’t trust ourselves.
It’s a cliche that trust is the most important thing in a relationship, but, when it comes to your relationship with weight loss, with changing how you live, it’s probably the most important thing.
You have to trust that you’ll make all the right choices today – Do the workout you planned, eat the salad you brought to work, take that walk after work, skip dessert.
There are a couple of problems with this:
- We give ourselves too many choices to make. It’s one thing to workout and make some healthy choices when you eat. It’s another to give yourself so many choices that, by the 3rd or 4th one, you’re tired and you kind of don’t care anymore. Overhauling your entire life, all your habits in one day is just way too hard.
- We lie about the choices we’ll make. We say we’re going to do this thing or that thing and, when the time comes, we realize it’s harder than we thought it would be.
Here’s an example of a lie I tell myself all the time: I wake up and decide to skip my workout because I’m tired. I then promise myself I’ll workout later.
Now, there are times I really do workout later. But most of the time, if I’m tired enough to skip my morning workout, I’m not going to feel any more energized later in the day.
I know this and yet, despite that knowledge, I make a promise I know I’m not going to keep. I may have made myself feel less guilty in the moment, but I’m going to feel worse later when I skip that workout.
That seems stupid, yet we do it all the time, often without even realizing it.
Constantly failing to meet our own expectations, to keep our own promises starts to erode that trust we have with ourselves and it’s not because we’re too weak to meet those expectations or keep those promises, it’s because we haven’t been honest with ourselves about what we’ll actually do.
Learning to trust yourself is one of the hardest parts of weight loss, but the cure for that is surprisingly simple…not easy, mind you, but simple: Telling yourself the truth.
Recognizing your own lies can be harder than you think. They’re often so automatic, so ingrained, we don’t even realize they’re lies at all. All we really recognize is the constant cycle of guilt we feel for not meeting expectations. Some common pitfalls:
- Waiting for the perfect time to exercise – This is when you promise you’ll start working out after school gets out/when you get back from vacation/on Monday/when Jupiter aligns with Mars. ‘As soon as’ is a great excuse for not doing something right now, isn’t it? Once you recognize you’re doing this, it’s an easy fix: Do it right now. Just be honest and ask yourself if there’s something you could do to exercise today, even if it’s just a 5-minute walk, standing up and doing 10 squats or just stretching.
- Telling yourself you’ll eat healthier…tomorrow – Have you ever done this thing where you eat more than you normally would under the auspice of starting a diet the next day? But what happens the next day? It’s not any easier to start that diet, is it? You’ll never really be ‘ready’ to start eating tree bark and lemon wedges. This is where changing your perspective comes in. Instead of believing that healthy eating is about giving up everything you love, ask yourself if there’s one way you could make your eating healthy today. Could you have an apple? Drink more water? Eat some extra veggies? If that’s all you have to do, you’ll do it. And if you do it today, you can do it tomorrow and the next day and, suddenly you have a string of days where you’re doing something healthier than you were before.
Those are just a couple of ways we may lie to ourselves, but what about you? Are there lies you tell yourself that keep you stuck where you are? Do you ever make promises you know you won’t keep? What would happen if you told yourself the truth and rebuilt that trust in yourself?