Creating a Mindset for Health
So much of health is all about habits and actions, but where do these all stem from? What if we don’t have to make as many changes as we think we do? What if there was one powerful thing that makes a lot of difference?
That thing is mindset.
Mindset is sometimes called “the story we tell ourselves.” It’s our attitude toward things in our life. That inner chatter or dialogue that we say to ourselves through our thoughts.
And we have control over our thoughts, our mindset.
And research is showing that it may be far more powerful than we thought.
Very interesting health mindset study
Here’s a quick story about a fascinating study.
Researchers at Stanford University looked at a bunch of people's health and wellness lifestyle habits, as well as health markers.
What they found was that the people who thought they were a lot less active had a higher risk of death than the general public. And, they also had up to 71% higher risk of death than people who thought they were more active. Even if they actually weren't less active!
How is this even possible that people who simply thought they were less active had higher risks, even if it wasn’t true?
There are a couple of ideas why. One is that maybe if we feel like we're less active, it may make us feel more stressed. And stress isn't good for our mental or physical health.
So for instance if you are constantly worrying or anxious about something, for instance gaining weight, and you focus your energy on worrying about gaining weight, the stress from worrying about gaining more weight can actually cause hormones in your body to become unbalanced, which could cause more weight gain.
The same is true about someone who has high metabolism and is constantly worrying about losing more weight when their goal is to gain muscle weight. The more you worry about not being able to eat because your anxious, thus causing you to lose weight when you’re trying to put on muscle weight.
Second, there may be a bit of a mind-body connection where the body embodies what the mind visualizes.
This reminds me of a great book I recently started reading called “Your Body Speaks Your Mind.” It discusses how common ailments, pains and illnesses that we have relate to what’s going on in our mind. And it’s literally got everything in it from acne to back pain to weight gain.
Researchers don't know why, but what matters is that there is a good mindset. So, let me give you a couple of strategies to boost your mindset for health.
Health mindset strategy 1 - Aim for good enough.
Almost no one eats perfectly seven days a week. It's inevitable that obsessing over the quality and quantity of everything we eat or drink isn't necessarily a great mindset to have.
It can bring on binging, shame, and guilt - none of these are great ways to get healthy. We want to get healthier by making better choices and building better habits. And these are usually best done incrementally - one step at a time.
Remember every little bit counts!
So, instead of having a black and white approach where everything is good or bad, why not try aiming for good enough to empower ourselves to make better choices, instead of perfect choices.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and changing unhealthy habits into healthy ones won’t happen over night. Making healthier choices consistently over time will get easier the more you do it.
Ways that you can stay more consistent are keeping a food journal and logging your food daily, setting goals, meal prepping if you have a busy lifestyle or even getting the help of a nutritionist or personal trainer.
Health mindset strategy 2 - Stop making tradeoffs
When you try to earn a gluttonous weekend by eating clean and working out hard during the week, you're making a tradeoff. You're telling yourself that, as long as you're good most of the week, you can go wild and “pig out” on the weekend.
And that's not awesome because the mindset is jumping from one extreme to the other. You're controlling what you do all week, and possibly thinking about how to indulge or binge indulge over the weekend as the reward, which in reality-you’re throwing all that hard work that you did all week away.
Just live as though you're trying to do well every single day. Like you care about your health and wellness. You're doing your best, and that's good enough.
Mindset Tip #3
Set Goals! And really dig deep with those goals by asking why do I want to lose 20lbs or have a flat tummy?….because I want to look better in clothes, so then ask again why do I want to look good in clothes? And continue until you have asked 5 why’s to yourself about your goal.
Focusing on 1 goal over a period of time can help you with moving forward and successfully getting the result you want. On days that you feel not as motivated, go back and remember your 5 whys for your goal to help get you in the mood and activate that positive mindset you started with when you were making those goals.
Mindset Tip #4
Using Meditation, affirmations, mantras and gratitude to get into that positive, healthy mindset.
Starting the day with gratitude or doing a meditation to visualize the goal or result you want can help you keep a positive mindset. Saying positive affirmations & mantras related to your end goal can help too. There are many related to weight loss and health. You can google positive affirmations to say to yourself daily or even go on Youtube for positive affirmation meditations related to your goals.
In our energizing yoga class, when we are doing back-bends, we say open yourself to the possibilities of losing weight or improving your health as a way to get students to visualize and positively change their mindset.
Still concerned how you’re going to reach your health and fitness goals this year? Discussing your goals with a qualified professional (ex. Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor or Nutritionist) can help give you some clarity on what you need to work on first to help your reach your desired result. If you are in the greater Toronto area (in Vaughan or Woodbridge), and would like to discuss your health and fitness goals further, CLICK HERE.
How is your mindset for health? Which of these tips resonate with you the most? How are you going to implement them in your life? Let me know in the comments below.
Recipe (Morning mindset refresher): Chia Lemon Water
1 tbsp chia seeds
½ lemon, sliced
Add the chia seeds & lemon to your favourite water bottle. Fill to top with water.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: Shake before drinking.