Reversing Your Mindset for Lasting Change

Reversing Your Mindset for Lasting Change

Reversing Your Mindset for Lasting Change

A few weeks ago, a friend sent me a text. “Me and my girls are doing a no-sugar challenge all month!” she told me. “We want to do this to gain self-control and self-discipline. You can join if you want!”

I didn’t think much of her message at first, but it kept nagging at me. I know this friend had the best of intentions and wanted to help her young daughters do hard things, but I wondered about the underlying meaning the challenge conveyed. 

As someone who struggled with eating disorders for many years, I often put myself through similar challenges. No sugar for a month. No bread for six months. Four miles a day on the treadmill. No dessert for…eternity. Not exactly a happy or sustainable mindset.

I began to wonder about the other aspects of my friend’s message. If her daughters slipped up and had a Tootsie Roll that month, what could they make it mean? Would they think it meant they didn’t have self-control and self-discipline? That they were lazy, unreliable, and unable to stick with their goals? I internally cringed, imagining a 12-year-old going through that thought process—just like I did many years ago.

Goals are important, and I agree that they are the key to growth and healthy living.

However, after a lot of study, embarking on my own journey to health, and listening to stories of other people, I believe that the key from turning a message from damaging to empowering is simply reversing the thought process. 

Instead of avoiding sugar for a month to gain self-discipline, what if the girls instead avoided sugar because they already had self-discipline? Stick with me here. If people believe that they have a certain trait, they are highly likely to act in a way that confirms that belief. For example, if I believe that I am a healthy, disciplined person, I am much more likely to act that way. I am more likely to make good diet choices, to exercise regularly, and to do other behaviors that reaffirm what I believe about myself.

The real trick is examining your life and finding other behaviors that confirm your beliefs about yourself. For example, I know that my friend’s daughters already have self-discipline because they go to bed on time, complete their chores each day, and practice soccer every evening. Those behaviors are not tied to food at all. Yet if they begin to believe that the only way to develop self-control is to abstain from sugar and they fail, they will equate self-control to diet—the quickest route to an eating disorder.

This principle applies to anyone looking to embark on a health journey. If you start out believing that you need to overcome a huge challenge in order to prove something, you’re working against yourself. Instead, meet with one of our coaches or nutritionists to discuss other ways you demonstrate self-control, goal-setting, and strength in your life. They will show you how to apply those skills to weight loss, and you will find great success in confirming your positive beliefs about yourself.

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