When we think about losing weight biking a LOT of thoughts come up.
We think it’s going to be HARD.
Or, we think that we have to bike a bunch of miles every week if we want to lose weight.
We think that we have to eat all of the right things all of the time.
What we often don’t realize, is that at the end of the day it’s exactly this all or nothing mentality that is sabotaging our weight loss.
We think our thoughts are motivating us to “not screw up” when in fact, they are doing just the opposite.
This way of thinking sets up for failure because no one is perfect.
Even those people out there that we think are perfect? You know, the ones who always have a big salad whenever you go out, and the ones that say “oh I would NEVER eat x/y/z?”
Those people are NOT making perfect decisions 100% of the time. I promise you. They are not robots either. They are absolutely human, just like you.
When we think that we absolutely have to do it right all of the time we are actually setting ourselves up for failure.
What is important to realize is that the only difference between someone who loses weight biking and someone who doesn’t is that the person who loses weight doesn’t give up.
NO matter how long it takes, no matter how often they overeat they step back, take a moment, and try again.
So, if you find yourself ever thinking that you need to do everything right all of the time if you want to lose weight, and you don’t know how to stop, read on for my tips on what you can think or do instead.
This is a simple, 3-step process you can use every single time your brain goes to those all or nothing thoughts.
Step #1: Notice Your All or Nothing Thoughts
The first thing you need to do in this process is to notice your all or nothing thinking.
Do you ever think that there are certain foods that are just off limits to you? Foods that you can never eat?
Do you feel like the only way that you can lose weight is to restrict all of the things?
You might think that these thoughts are facts. It’s possible that once upon a time you lost a bunch of weight by cutting out carbs or something else that you really liked, so you now have this thought that “there is no way I can lose weight eating carbs.”
I lost weight eating carbs. Lots of carbs. Whole grains, yes, but also cookies and real sugar in my tea.
Carbs fuel my bike rides and they taste freaking amazing. And no, I am not a unicorn, I am a human, so yes, you CAN eat carbs and lose weight for the last time.
Your all or nothing thinking may not have anything to do with carbs though. You might think that you can’t lose weight riding your bike if you aren’t riding at least “x” miles a week. Or if you aren’t strength training. Or if you said yes to that donut that you didn’t put on your plan.
This all or nothing thinking is not helpful or useful. It doesn’t actually motivate us, it just makes us want to give up. So start by NOTICING that you are having these thoughts, and then…
Step #2: Intentionally Choose a Different Thought That You Will Actually Believe
In order to change our thinking, after we have noticed the thought that isn’t helping us, we have to do some work to change it.
It has to be something that we can believe, though.
Our brains have a tough time jumping from a really negative thought to one that is super positive and actually believing it.
Your brain is smart, and savvy, and it’s just going to be like, “Uhh yeah right lady. Nice try. NOPE.”
So, for example, you might not be able to go from “I can never eat carbs” to “I can eat ice cream every day and still lose weight” (I mean, you actually can, as long as you aren’t overeating the ice cream).
However, your brain might be willing to believe something like, “In the past I cut a bunch of carbs and lost weight, but I hated it. I gained the weight back. Instead, I am going to try a different way without so much restriction and see how it goes.”
I will tell anyone who listens that I lost 50 pounds and still ate kielbasa, cookies, and real cream and sugar in my tea every single day.
It’s because I learned that I can add in whatever it is that I love and lose weight as long as I didn’t eat so much of it that I had to go and put on my comfy pants and take a nap on the couch.
Step #3: Reflect and Choose Another Thought if Necessary
Once you have a new thought, try it out. See how it feels.
Does it resonate with you? Do you actually believe it?
Is it putting you on the path to long-term, sustainable weightloss.
Does it feel good in your mind? Does it feel good in your body?
Some of the thoughts we try end up not working out, and that’s ok. All you need to do is pick another one and try that instead.
Rinse and repeat these steps as often as necessary so that you have a foundation of thoughts that actually work.
The sort that motivate you. Thoughts that support you, and lift you up. Choose thoughts that give you a framework that you can actually live with for the rest of your life.
If you think that you can “never eat like this” and that you have to “always ride your bike 5 times a week” and that if you don’t do all of these things all of the time that you will never lose weight?
You will never lose weight. At least not for the last time. You will get discouraged, talk to yourself like a jerk, and give up.
You are human, and humans don’t ever do anything perfect 100% of the time. We are beautiful, wonderfully flawed creatures.
We have to give ourselves grace, and find thoughts that actually work in our minds and bodies.
A Final Note…
I know that this sounds simple. Possibly over simple to you. And it IS.
It is simple, but it isn’t always easy.
It can take some work noticing our all or nothing thoughts and bringing them to the table to examine and change.
I know that for me I truly did not think that it was possible to lose weight unless I suffered. I felt like I wasn’t doing it right for the longest time because I wasn’t a hungry angry mess.
The diet industry showers us with all of these arbitrary rules that just make us feel like absolute crap when we invariably screw up and can’t follow them.
You don’t want to feel bad. And, you don’t want to give up. So let’s toss out these all or nothing thoughts that are sabotaging our weight loss.
Shall we? You’ve got this. I know you can do it. I am right here, cheering for you, every single step of the way.