Have you ever gone on a weight loss journey? I’ve been there. Even recently. And I’ve helped patients over the past 30 years who wanted to become healthier. As an expert professionally at listening to people, I learned how a weight loss mindset affects people and how such mindsets make weight loss difficult. The good thing is, we can overcome!
On a recent episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, I chatted with Christine Carter about what we can do to take control of areas of our life that are holding us back. In that episode we talked about her weight loss journey and the hope we have for a healthy body, mind, and soul. If you missed that episode, you can listen here (Weight Loss Journey: Hope for a Healthy Body, Mind, and Soul – Episode 104).
Read to the end for a book giveaway!
Weight loss mindset: what’s weighing you down?
Over the past three decades of working with patients, I’ve found that many become so down on themselves as a person when they carry around extra physical weight. They desire physical transformation and have in their mind how their life will be different when they achieve their “goal weight.” Yet statistics suggest that the majority of those who lose their unwanted pounds often regain their weight and more if they don’t address the limiting mindsets that got them to that place to begin with. Weight loss is as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical one. In order to achieve lasting change in our bodies and overcome weight loss mindsets, we must first transform our minds.
Can I share something I’ve noticed? So many people I have met and even worked with may not have been carrying around unhealthy extra physical pounds, and yet so many of us are weighed down emotionally and spiritually by the beliefs we have about ourselves. As part of my professional work, I became an expert at listening to what people say and what they don’t say, what they do and what they don’t do, and what they really mean. Limiting beliefs and mindsets often have a physical manifestation. Sometimes you see it in their countenance: their eyes may be vacant, or their smile is disingenuous, or they walk with their shoulders slumped over—weighed down by their beliefs about themselves.
Sometimes the beliefs that limit us come from parents, teachers, coaches, and others in a position of authority over us during our childhood years. Sometimes those beliefs are from the Father of Lies who constantly loves to tell us all the things we are not: not good enough, not smart enough, not thin enough, not courageous enough, etc. In working with others, I’ve seen countless situations where my patients had no idea what beliefs or lies they had come into agreement with!
There is a reason that God’s word tells us to take every thought captive! “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV). We have somewhere between 50-70,000 thoughts a day. So taking every thought captive is a lot of work. But when we don’t intentionally take our thoughts captive, they will run amuck in our minds, hearts, and life.
Taking your thoughts captive
My family and I recently moved across country. The previous owner planted a beautiful garden in front of the house. I’ll never forget: that garden was one of the things that attracted me to the house. While I spend the majority of my life indoors writing or preparing for speaking engagements, or hosting a podcast, I’m most at peace when I’m outside…until I’m not. What do I mean by that? This year I decided to add my own touch to our yard and plant a couple of new garden beds. My plants are ordered, so before they arrive, I need to remove all the grass, weeds, and roots to make the soil pliable for planting. I was recently in the garden for an entire day (8 hours!). Working in the garden offers me a peacefully quiet opportunity to think, reflect, and converse with God. About ¾ of the way through my day I realized I had spent most of my time having an imaginary conversation with a friend who had hurt me to the core. By the time I had realized it, I had already lost my peace. I had NOT taken any of my thoughts captive, and as a result, the hurt kept washing over me like the ocean surf pummeling the shore.
Later that night, I still felt stirred up. I listened to a podcast during which we were encouraged to not only take every thought captive, but also “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things” (Phil. 4:8 NIV). Had I caught myself early in my downward spiral of thoughts, and intentionally changed the direction of my thoughts, I could have kept my peace, and not relived a very painful situation.
5 Limiting mindsets that make weight loss difficult
When it comes to weight loss (physical, emotional, and spiritual), there are several limiting mindsets that need to be addressed in order to achieve a lighter body, mind, and soul.
1. I Can’t
You’re absolutely right…in your own strength you can’t break off the addiction (which might mean addiction to food, comfort eating, to critical thinking, to negative self-talk, etc.) but God can and He wants to.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Cor. 12:9 NIV).
2. Fear of Failure
Too often, the fear of failure is a paralyzing force that can keep us from even attempting to make positive change. We fear the thought that failing in an endeavor may make us feel even worse about ourselves than we were already feeling in the beginning. A fear of failure brings with it thoughts like this:
- You’ll never succeed.
- You’ve failed before, you have no reason to believe it’ll be any different this time.
- There is something wrong with you.
You can probably think of other examples from your own life where fear of failure has kept you from walking into all God has for you. And yet, God has something to say in response to the fear of failure: “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Ps. 118:6) and “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).
3. Wanting Fast Results
I have a confession to make: I’m not always the most patient person. I’ve worked as a successful businesswoman in a male dominated career. I’m used to setting my focus forward and achieving my goals. But my preference is to see results for my effort quickly.
I remember being at a very large women’s conference, where a very well-known Bible teacher was teaching. She seemed so joyful, and perfect scriptures for the scenarios she discussed just seemed to roll off her tongue effortlessly. I remember watching her and thinking “I want what she has…but it takes too much work.” I’m no stranger to hard work, but in that situation, I wanted what she had, but I didn’t want to have to go through what she had to get to that place. I wanted quick results.
I remember a time in my newlywed years, when I wanted to beautify our landscaping, so I sowed seeds and waited. The problem was that when I checked on my garden a couple days later, I was frustrated that nothing was sprouted yet! I’ve been that way on weight loss journeys as well. We’ve all heard it, but it is certainly true in this situation with respect to physical, emotional, and spiritual weight loss: We didn’t get in that predicament overnight, so we certainly can’t expect to lose the weight overnight either. Whether these are a weight on a scale, or the weight of having believed lies from the enemy. God has something to say about this mindset:
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9).
4. All or Nothing Thinking (a.k.a. perfectionism)
This may never have impacted you, but I’ve struggled to start, or even start again once I have gotten off track or was concerned that I couldn’t do it perfectly. I remember an occasion when I was working hard on becoming healthier…I ate more whole foods, exercised regularly, and prioritized adequate rest. But then we were invited to another family’s home for lunch. Not wanting to be impolite or seem ungracious, I “cheated” on my healthy eating plan in favor of pasta, garlic bread, and a delectable dessert. Once I got off track at lunch, instead of extending myself grace and forgiveness, I reasoned that since I had already messed up, I might as well eat whatever I wanted at dinner too.
Instead, what I needed to realize was that the enemy watches our every move. He knows how we will likely respond in any given situation. And he used that to his advantage when I indulged at a friend’s for lunch to convince me I wasn’t able to do this right. On the contrary, God extends grace, and He knows that it’s only with His help, and with Him as my focus, that I would be able to prioritize my health and make healthier choices regardless of my past mistakes.
God never requires perfection from His children because He knows we would be incapable of it. Yet he does encourage us to do whatever we do heartily as if we were doing it for Him. “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:23-24). So, give it your best shot, and when you make a mistake (which we all will this side of heaven), know that God doesn’t expect perfection from His children (or we wouldn’t need a savior).
5. Feeling Deprived and Left Out
In the weight loss journey, there is a tendency to focus on all the things we feel deprived of: certain foods that are restricted, socializing over meals, for some it’s limiting calories that come from alcoholic beverage consumption.
The same is true when we talk about the weight we carry around in our mind and in our heart. So often we are weighed down by feeling left out, rejected, or abandoned by others. That often leads to the devastating question, “What’s wrong with me?”
What if I told you, there’s nothing wrong with you? God created all of us with an innate need to be loved, accepted, and included. God knew the issues we would struggle with—He wrote about them in His Word to encourage us.
He also has something to say about the deprivation we feel: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3 NIV).
I feel like I can’t share that verse without also sharing the verse, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
I don’t know where you are in your journey; whether you are trying to shed a few pounds in preparation for bathing suit season, or you are weighed down by limiting mindsets, attitudes, and lies. Regardless, I encourage you to ask Him to show you what your weight loss mindsets are and ask Him to help you overcome them.
Remember to hold your head high, your shoulders back, and your eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith. God loves you just as you are, but He also loves you too much to leave you there.
I would also love to hear in the comments below what other limiting mindsets you recognize or have had to deal with besides the weight loss mindset. I would also love to hear what you’ve done to help overcome these limiting thoughts.
Because of Him,
In conjunction with the podcast interview, Weight Loss Journey: Hope for a Healthy Body, Mind, and Soul – Episode 104, Christine Carter is giving away a free copy of her book, Weight-Loss Hero: Transform Your Mind and Your Body with a Healthy Keto Lifestyle
Leave a comment below sharing with us one thing you learned about limiting mindsets or transforming your mind and you will be entered into the contest.
You could also share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter then comment here to tell us where you shared it and you’ll also be entered into the drawing.
The winner will be selected at random and announced next Monday, April 19, 2021, here on this post. Continental United States only.