Stories socialize us, evolve with us, engage us in our lives and connect us to others. We use stories to draw meaningful patterns from our experiences, patterns that shape other stories—the story of who we are, what we can and can’t do, and why we deserve or don’t deserve to be happy, slim, and fully alive.
What is the story your weight loss tells?
As you begin your weight loss journey, your brain is already forming a story about who you are and what you’re doing. Often these stories remain beneath the surface of our awareness, but they still impact (and often sabotage) our conscious efforts.
10 prompts for telling a successful weight loss story
Any weight loss story starts with putting down in words what we’re already telling ourselves. Then, we can shape the narrative to be both realistic and supportive. Use the following questions as prompts to unearth and reshape your storyline:
1. What message are you sending your body when you eat foods that are healthy? Unhealthy?
2. Is your body your loyal friend? In what ways has it always been there for you, taking care of you?
3. What does the voice in your head say when you announce out loud (go ahead and say it) that you are committed to losing excess weight? Whose voice is it? Male? Female? Is it helpful? Condemning?
4. If the first voice was not supportive, can you ask for a more helpful voice to speak up? (Don’t worry, we’ve all got a host of voices in our heads. You can find a supporter if you ask for one.) What does this voice sound like? What does it say about your new commitment to yourself?
5. What story do you tell yourself about why you can or can’t exercise today? What can you do? Right now? With the energy level you have and the physical state you’re in?
6. Bring your future self into the conversation. Ask yourself, what could I do today that my future self would thank me for?
7. Now imagine you have achieved your first goal. Maybe it was 5 lbs. Maybe 10 lbs? How does that feel? What does it mean about your ability to succeed over the long run?
8. Have you lost weight before and gained it back? What’s different this time? Go ahead, ask. It is different. You’re different. You have the benefit of that past experience. You know what unsustainable approaches to weight loss bring.
9. Project out to the day that you have achieved your weight loss goal. What message do you have for that person? What warnings?
10. Looking back from that day, can you detect any potential pitfalls, situations or choices that might get you off track? What alternative action could you take that would help you stay on track?
This first journaling attempt may not have resulted in a flood of positive self talk, but just getting the talk out of your head and onto the page is extremely helpful. It gives you options, allows you to take a long thoughtful look at what you tell yourself every day. At bmiSMART, we believe having options is empowering. So go ahead. Grab your journal or your iPad and start reshaping your weight loss story.