Monthly Archives: December 2015

How Positive Thinking Helps Her Maintain a 140-Pound Weight Loss

Rodale News
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Jennifer Hittle has accomplished what a lot of people dream about: She shed more than half her body weight, and she has maintained her 140-pound weight for 12 years on her 5'4" frame. She went from walking around her neighborhood at night to finishing the Boston Marathon in 5:12. But the most radical transformation actually happened on the inside. To reach those goals, she had to learn to believe in herself, even when she stumbled.

“I had to learn to stop beating myself up,” she says. “That was the very thing that sabotaged my efforts.”

Hittle had tried several fad diets, but every attempt just derailed her further.

More: She Committed to a 5K & Lost 65 Pounds

“Every time I would do one of these diets and it failed, I would fill my head with so much negativity, saying, ‘You’ll always be fat, you’ll never lose weight, why did you even try?’” she recalls. The shame and regret would be so consuming, she’d spend up to a month drowning her sorrows in more junk food. Then one day something clicked. “I realized the one thing I had never focused on was my thoughts,” she says. 

Indeed, what ultimately worked for Hittle was changing the patterns of thinking that had fostered such an unhealthy lifestyle. From that point on if she slipped up, instead of turning to bad food she would try to work out a little longer that day. If she ate an unhealthy dinner, she made sure to start the next day with egg whites. “I could go to bed knowing that tomorrow was a new day,” she says. “It wasn’t always perfect, but it was a big part of my weight-loss journey.” She also had to change the negative messages she was sending herself about her weight-loss efforts.

“Every time I’d say something terrible to myself, it would keep the cycle going,” she says. “I made a vow that I needed to support myself the way I would a friend or a loved one.”

If she indulged in one off-the-diet brownie, she would vow to work out longer than usual the next day. “That immediately stopped the voices that would cause me to go for the whole pan,” she says. And it helped with exercise too. 

“Before, I would say something like ‘Look at you, you’re so fat you can’t even make it around the block. You’re breathing so heavy. Why even try?!’ This is something I would never say to anyone! The new me chose to say, ‘Great job! You’re out here walking tonight. Doesn’t it feel good?’ It wasn’t always perfect, but I chose my self-talk very carefully. It’s gotten much easier.”

She learned to think like an athlete; instead of thinking about diet and exercise, she started to think of herself as a competitor who fuels and trains.

More: How She Beat Depression-Driven Eating & Lost 50 Pounds

And she learned that she didn’t have to be perfect. “The scale fluctuates, and sometimes you make poor food choices,” she says. “But when I believed in myself, I stopped beating myself up over it. I realized that it’s the journey, not the destination.” Creating an infrastructure in her life that supports positive thinking and maintenance goals has been critical. “There will be times the going gets tough that you will need to remember why you want it,” she says.

When she needs a motivational boost, she turns to outlets such as Pinterest, YouTube, and her favorite health magazines.

And in her kitchen she set up a vision board to remind her of her goals in key places where she might be at risk for getting off track. On the board she posts motivational pictures and notes.

hittle vision board

“If I’m dragging my feet to get out and run, I just open the cupboard door,” she says. “If my girls’ goldfish crackers start looking good, I open the cupboard door.”

She even made a graveyard out of sticky notes with tombstones that said “1 pound” to represent every pound she lost. If she’s up a pound or two before racing season, this helps her set small goals to get back down to racing weight. “I like the visual of placing 1 pound (or sticky note) at a time in the graveyard,” she says.

More: She Lost More Than 150 Pounds by Learning Portion Control

And it helped her face down temptation during a summer barbecue at her home, the day before a 19-mile training run. “When I was about to reach for a drink, I opened the cupboard and looked at my vision board instead,” she says. “It reminded me that although I could indulge in that moment, I would rather rock my training run and celebrate in Chicago after the marathon.”

Excerpted from Runner's World Run to Lose

weight loss success run to lose95908

Question Yourself for New Year’s Resolution Success

Rodale News
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If you've ever made a New Year's resolution, and then seen it come crumbling down come Valentine's Day, it may be your initial approach that's the problem. 

According to researchers, it's the way people announce their resolutions that makes a difference. The study, published in the Journal of Consumer Psycholoy, says that asking yourself "Will I exercise, yes or no?" is more effective than simply saying, "I will exercise."

More: Signs Your Weight Loss Resolution May Fail

See the difference? It may be subtle, but experts say it makes a world of difference. 

The study authors found that when they asked people "Do you recycle," the question itself reminded them that recycling is a positive and productive thing, prompting them to do it. In the same vein, they were more likely to actually recycly because not doing it made them uneasy. 

Now, just swap recycling for going to the gym, and your resolution is set. 

"When we ask ourselves questions like -Will I exercise, yes or no?' we create more freedom in the power of making a choice," says Emmanuel Dagher, transformation specialist, holistic health practitioner, and author of Easy Breezy Prosperity. "Asking questions like this also allows us to move more into a feeling state, rather than a analytical state. So for example, does it 'feel' good to think about the idea of how awesome I'm going to feel after I work out today? Yes, so I will go ahead and work out. If it feels better for me today to not work out, that's fine too. The pressure has lifted, and I can actually enjoy working out, rather than forcing myself to do so."

More: 40 Ways to Stay Motivated This Winter

While making this one little swap can actually motivate you to follow through on your goals, Dagher notes that you can actually take it one step further. 

"Add things like 'What would  happen if…' or 'How much better would life be if…'" he adds. "These questions activate the imagination a bit more so that again the mind can start to think outside of the box, where greater fulfillment usually can start to happen."

Ready? Set? You're all ready for 2016.