When I see patients who are doing well following their new healthy lifestyle behaviors but complain that the scale isn’t budging fast enough, I ask them to make a list.
On one side are all the positives they’ve been experiencing with their newfound healthier lifestyle such as being more active, easier to sit in an airplane seat, having less joint stiffness, sleeping better, improved blood sugar control, a lower blood pressure, clothes fitting better, more energy and a better mood.
On the other side are all the negatives they’re experiencing that may include that their weight number on the bathroom scale is still too high.
Many patients will look at their list and smile and realize that this self-critical thinking is not helpful and can even be hurtful.
If this sounds like you, here are some tips to guide you toward being kinder to yourself:
1 – Stay True to Yourself and Your Values
Reminding yourself why you want to lose weight is helpful throughout your weight loss journey.
It’s also helpful to think about your values and the kind of life you want to live, as values give your life meaning and direction.
- Do you value being healthy?
- Do you value being able to pursue fun activities like walking in nature for pleasure, dancing, pickleball or touring while on vacation?
- Do you value your family and being around longer for your children and grandchildren?
Being kinder to yourself and treating yourself better can help you stay true to the values you hold dear and live the healthier life you desire.
2 – Stop Striving for Perfection
Many of my patients are upset if they cannot follow their personalized weight management program 100%. I tell them that it is the ‘B’ student who does best managing weight.
If you give yourself a ‘B’, that usually means you’re on your game 80% of the time, leaving 20% for more discretionary decision-making (the 80-20 rule).
This ‘B’ student philosophy apples to other areas of your life; for example, you don’t expect your work life or relationships to go perfectly each and every day.
With this new attitude, attaining and maintaining long-term health is doable and can even be enjoyable.
3 – Replace Self-Judgement with Self-Compassion
To temper the self-judgement and self-critical thinking that can arise from stepping on the scale, I encourage you to step back and put your weight into perspective – compared to all you do in life.
Taking a more a holistic approach to total health that includes being able to appreciate yourself and treat yourself better is a winning strategy.
Making peace with the scale also involves making peace with yourself.
For those of you who harbor longstanding issues pertaining to body image, meeting with a health psychologist can be invaluable in helping you garner the positive energy you need to achieve better health, both physically and emotionally.
A health psychologist can help change your inner thought processes and develop a positive mindset – perhaps some of the most important aspects to successful weight management.
If you struggle with managing weight in a healthy way, check out my self-help book, Six Factors to Fit: Weight Loss that Works for You!
In my book, you can take my short, scientifically-validated Six Factor Quiz and learn how to harness your factors – to start living a healthier, better life.
Robert Kushner, MD