Be Optimistic and Realistic

disney-inspirational-life-quotes-Favim.com-956876“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”.  It’s a catchy tune, sure, but it’s not the best approach to success!  Overly optimistic thinking goes like this ” I went WAY over my calorie budget today, but I’ll get back on track tomorrow, somehow”.  While it’s helpful to assert good intentions (rather than beating yourself up) being vague about how you’ll recover isn’t helpful.  Thinking things will get better somehow, without having a plan to make it happen, can derail your weight loss efforts because we need to identify what needs to change and than set specific steps to change it.  So for instance the fix for going over your daily calorie budget could be to plan out your day for tomorrow. While most unhelpful thinking styles are negative (example beating yourself up) the don’t worry be happy style feels helpful and positive.  But it too can lead to feelings and actions or more often, inactions that undermine our journey.  Because it masquerades as something positive, this thinking style might demand a little practice and shift.

An example on how to manage this type of thinking was provided by the Weight Watchers Weekly on this subject.  It teaches you a way to “balance your thinking”.

  1. Identify your “don’t worry be happy” thought. (Example: I ate way more than I planned at my lunch date today. I’ll get back on track later.)
  2. Reality check it.  Ask yourself “what needs to happen to make this true?”  Use your answer to shift to a helpful thought that has one ot more back on track solutions. (example: If I make a plan, I will be able to get back on track later.  I could track what I ate.)
  3. Plan what you’ll do.  Choose one action from your ideas above that’s doable.  Make a specific plan for what you’ll do, when you’ll do it and who you’ll do it with (if anyone). (example: I’ll track what I ate at lunch during my 3pm break at my desk by myself.  That’ll help me see how many calories I’ve used and decide what to eat for dinner)

I’m a good one for this kind of thinking.  I am a big “don’t worry, be happy” thinker when it comes to my weight loss journey.  That’s why it’s ben so SLOW!  I’m always saying to myself “it’s ok tomorrow will be better” – spoiler alert- tomorrow is never better.  The action plan above is great and something I am going to give a try!

Are you an all or none thinker?

Oh boy….My name is Jenn and I am an all or none thinker!

So I missed this topic in the meeting room, but was able to pick up the weekly reader the following week. I am so glad I did because this hits home in a big way for me. I am notorious for this. I take this so seriously – this all or none thinking that not only will I discount a whole day, but if my “major screw-up” with food happens mid to end of week, I count out the entire week calling it a loss and chalk it up to a start over on Sunday.  I know, I know it’s a horrible mindset and I am working on breaking it.

The Weight Watchers Weekly on this topic reminds us that so many of our thoughts are automatic and that over time those automatic thoughts that don’t help can turn into a thinking style that trips us up.  “All of none” is a common thinking style.  With “all or none” thinking it turns everything into good/bad, failure/success.  It’s an unhelpful thinking style that doesn’t reflect reality and can determine your weight loss efforts.  BUT. You can change how you think about situations to go beyond “all or none”.

So how does changing it help?  Your thoughts, feelings and actions all link together.  Think > Feel > Do.  If you THINK you’ll never lose weight, you may not FEEL motivated to make healthy eating choices and you won’t DO so.  By catching those thoughts in the moment and taking a reality check you can change the way you feel about yourself and what actions to take next and that can ultimately impact your weight loss.

I’ve been thinking alot about this and how it is all very true for me.  Like I said in the beginning of this post, I sometimes call the whole week a wash, then cry about my gain on the scale.  It’s time for me to take action.  To set a plan, a real plan and follow it.  I have a follow up post in process about just this that will hopefully put me into gear AND into my summer clothes!