Intelligent ways to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Gear your mindset for success. | Dr Heather McKee

Intelligent ways to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Gear your mindset for success.

Dr Heather McKee

Intelligent ways to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Gear your mindset for success.

Health and fitness are topics that constantly do the rounds in GirlCrew, and we’re fully behind anyone who wants to get out and be more active in a healthy and responsible way. However, we’re often bombarded with unhealthy methods to achieving the “perfect look”, these can be riddled with conflicting messages, misinformation, and are sometimes downright dangerous. When Dr Heather McKee, a GirlCrew member and expert in the field, suggested creating blog pieces about healthy weight loss goals came up, we were a little hesitant. Firstly, we think women should have the freedom to be whoever the hell they want to be, all shapes and sizes included, but also we didn’t want to be encouraging anything that could be misleading and not representative of our members. After chatting with Dr Heather McKee we decided to put the power back in your hands – we simply let her ask the group! It was up to you guys if the pieces were to be written, posted, and the general direction of them. It was immediately apparent that you wanted to find out more. Our GirlCrew Dublin members were quick to vent their frustrations and gave Heather plenty to work with in terms of coming up with some top tips for getting you on the right track when it comes to your health. Don’t worry, she also has the credentials to back it up, as not only does Heather hold a Bachelor degree and Master’s degree in Sport Science and Health, but in 2010 she commenced a PhD in the Psychology of Weight Loss. So, over the next three weeks, Dr McKee will be sharing some of her insights on creating lasting healthy habits based on the questions and frustrations voiced by our Dublin members.

I want you to imagine this scenario…….

You set yourself a target to lose a certain amount of weight this month. You try really hard all month, eating all the right things, going to the gym, counting calories, saying no to going out for drinks after work. It’s tough, but you persevered, staying motivated by the thought of that event/holiday/potential run in with the ex. Then you get on the scales and … haven’t lost any weight! How do you feel? Does this make you want to stick with what you’re doing? Or throw in the towel? You ask yourself – where did I go wrong? Maybe I need to do more exercise? Maybe my portions weren’t small enough? You berate yourself – if only I had more self-control, more willpower! Is this sounding familiar? At any one time, 1 in 4 of us is on a diet and 1 in 3 is thinking about losing some weight. We are intelligent, informed and capable women – yet for many of us controlling our weight is an ongoing daily battle. Why does weight loss dominate so much of our thinking, our conversation and our actions? Ultimately, why does weight loss frustrate us so much?

I posted this question on the GirlCrew page last month. The response was overwhelming! You provided some fascinating insight into why we all struggle so much with weight loss and what is holding us back from reaching our goal weight. After collating and analysing the many responses, it resoundingly came down to one key thing – what frustrated you all the most was not being able to stick to your healthy habits long term. You felt that after watching what you ate and exercising for a while, you would ultimately fall off the wagon, and feel like you could never sustain the mindset you needed to be successful long term.

SO how do we develop the mindset for long-term success?

This question has dominated my career for years. It is what I dedicate my research in behaviour change and weight loss psychology to. I want to know what makes some people stick to their weight loss goals for life whilst so many others fail. Through my research, extensive literature review of the field and working individually with my own clients, I have uncovered a number of valuable insights that answer this burning question. Over the next three weeks I plan on sharing some of my key, evidence-based insights on how YOU can get the mindset for weight loss success. Starting this week with the one simple object that may be holding you back from long term success…….

Step One: Throw out the scales!!

We are led to believe that focusing on numbers on the scale is the key to success. Firstly, in terms of body fat loss, scales are largely inaccurate. Secondly, focusing on numbers on the scale foster an ‘all or nothing’ mindset. This mindset has an extremely negative impact on your weight loss success, leading to obsessive thoughts about food and weight cycling between weight loss and regain (see the opening paragraph of this article – how would you normally respond to such a scenario?). It encourages you to negatively focus on your appearance, rather than focusing on what makes you happiest. These two goals (appearance vs. happiness) then get mixed up to the point that you feel you can only be truly happy with yourself when you achieve a certain weight. This is dangerous.

Key action:

Get rid of the self-esteem crushing monsters lurking in your bathroom.

Next week…..learn why The Biggest Looser is sending the wrong message for long term weight loss success. Find out more here.

Dr Heather McKee is a Girl Crew Dublin and London member and a behavioural weight loss specialist with expertise in evidence based, intelligent but kind weight loss, helping people build healthy habits for life. If you’d like to know more about your own habits and which ones you need to build for success Heather has created a FREE personalised habit insight report. Click the link to get it now

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