15 Jul 6 Hacks to Win the Mental Part of Your Keto Game
How to Not Let Negative Thoughts Stop Your Keto Mission.
Don’t Believe Everything You Think.
“Put the whip away.”
That’s what one of my old mentors used to say to me when I was upset over yet another one of my diet “failures.” These days when I start beating myself up over falling short on my ambitions, I still say it to myself. I think it’s a great mantra (unless you’re a masochist and a fan of whips).
As any athlete would tell you: success comes partly from the physical game you play, and partly from the mental game. The physical actions required to succeed with keto and losing weight are actually quite simple: figure out how to make keto meals and eat them. Stick to that, and you should eventually reach your target weight. (And if you want to learn how to eat yourself into shape on keto, you’re welcome to join my free webinar.)
The trickier part is often how to find the mental strength to keep going with the healthy eating. To continue even when some asshole is pissing you off, and you want to comfort eat an entire pizza; to stick to it also when all your friends are getting drunk at a party; to be goodie-good when you’re lethargic and fed up with rules. THAT’S when you need mental hacks to empower yourself; to make the choices that will help you achieve your health and weight goals!
As a keto coach, I often work with people who are hard on themselves at the beginning of their keto journeys. They don’t think they’re losing weight fast enough, or they get upset if they’ve strayed from their meal plan.
To start with: can we please agree that we’re not gaining anything from beating ourselves up? Back when I was struggling with binge eating, the only result I got from telling myself what a loser I was; was feeling so low that I needed another binge session to comfort myself. It was enough to drive me crazy.
Here is where I’ve had to learn the mental part of my health game: how to stop that evil inner voice telling me to keep self-destructing; and instead choose thoughts of love and kindness! We can only do our best on any given day, and the level of that “best” varies depending on the situation.
Having made some “bad” food choices doesn’t make anyone a bad person. What matters is recognizing that we need to do something different to achieve our health goals, and be willing to do it. (The same mentor who told me to put the whip away also told me to pray to “be willing to be willing to be willing to be willing…”.)
The super-successful Ray Dalio says in his biography that if you’re not embarrassed about something that you did a while ago, you haven’t grown much lately. How awesome is that approach – let’s get excited about our screw-ups and how they’re helping us learn and better ourselves!
Here are some of the most powerful methods that I’ve come across on my health journey, that have helped me stay on track with my keto eating. What could be a good one for you to try?
How to Win the Mental Part of Your Weight Loss Game:
When your inner voice is screaming at you to pig out on cake because you’ll never lose weight anyway, counteract it with a loving pep-talk! A couple of simple yet powerful mantras to interrupt the negativity are: “Put the whip away” and “Today, I’m doing the best with what I’ve got.”
2. List Your Wins
No matter how much you might be thinking that you’re screwing up in your weight loss game, I promise you that you’re doing lots of awesome things too. Highlight and celebrate these wins! Write a list of at least ten actions you’ve taken that have brought you closer to your health goal: like learning new recipes or investing in high-quality food. Give yourself a gold star for your efforts!
3. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
As the quote for this blog post says: Don’t Believe Everything You Think. CBT is a powerful method to challenge unhelpful thoughts systematically. You can learn more in the CBT classic book Feeling Good. Try the free CBT Thought Diary app and notice how a couple of minutes of writing down your thinking can change it for the better!
Being mindful about thoughts helps with not giving power away to them. It’s ok to think anything, but we don’t have to hold on to the ideas or make them a reality. The excellent book The Happiness Trap explains how thoughts are like clouds; and just like clouds, we can choose to let them pass.
You can also learn how to practice mindfulness by taking an online course, like this one by my first and incredible coach Rod Francis.
I’ve shared before about my daily meditation practice. Meditation is, in my opinion, still boring as hell; but I do it because I believe that it acts as a buffer between thinking unhealthy thoughts and acting on them.
There are many ways to explore meditation, for instance, through the Headspace app. If you want to learn meditation in person, you can check out if you’ve got a local chapter for Vipassana meditation.
You’re never alone, and you don’t have to take your keto journey by yourself! Ask for support and guidance (from God, the Universe, or whatever you want to call it) any time you want. I like to start my day by saying thanks for everything that I’ve got and asking for direction to do the next right thing towards my goals.