One Foot In Front Of The Other: Mentally Preparing For Weight Loss

One Foot In Front Of The Other: Mentally Preparing For Weight Loss

kryptoniteI’m a firm believer in natural progression. I believe that there is no single catalyst to force a woman to begin to commit to her health. I believe there is no such thing as waking up and saying, “Yup, today will be the day that I do this thing.” It just doesn’t happen that way. Not resulting in lasting life changes, no. I don’t think so.

Why do I believe that? Because weight loss is complex, overwhelming, and difficult. It’s hard to dive in head first if you don’t necessarily know what’s happening or why it’s happening to you. There’s no shame in that, when there are industries who put forth lots of money to keep you confused. We all know that money outweighs and outdoes everything nowadays. This is no different.

I am an advocate of putting one foot in front of the other… in the direction in which you want to go. As long as you do that, you will always be moving toward your goals.

“Okay, it’s easy to talk the talk, but do you have any suggestions on how to actually do it?”

I hear you thinking it. Of course I do!

First, accept that failure is a part of your growth. Remember that you’re changing a lifetime of bad habits. You’re adding things to your daily routine that will change your life. It doesn’t happen overnight, and you WILL fall down. Even after well over a year at it, I STILL occasionally fall down. I don’t give up, I don’t tell myself that I can’t do it, and I certainly don’t retreat into food – the thing that got me to obesity in the first place – when I feel bad about falling short.

What I do try to do is remind myself of my goals, take a hard look at why I fell short, and try my best to address that “why.” For example. If I promised myself no cakes or candies, and I have a slice of cake at a restaurant, the question becomes, “If I promised that I wouldn’t, why did I do it anyway?” If the answer becomes, “I just couldn’t resist that picture of that cake staring at me throughout dinner!” then I have to rationalize with myself a way to avoid the temptation. For those of you wondering, yes, this was a real issue for me. How did I overcome? I stopped going out to restaurants until I could build up the ability to overlook the pictures, and learn how to say no quickly, and mean it.

DecisionsNext, accept that you have to make some hard decisions. Not hitting the restaurants? That’s a HARD decision! Please believe I love my On The Border taco salad (1,700 calories, 124g fat, 2,620mg sodium), my Cheesecake Factory Vanilla Bean Cheesecake (870cals, 558cals from fat, 62g fat), and, well… some other stuff we don’t have to talk about here. However, my decision not only saved me money, but saved myself calories, as well. Hard decision accepted, reward gained.

Thirdly, resolve within yourself that the follow-through won’t be easy. If you can’t stop going to McDonalds after work; and you realize that it’s because since you take the shortest route home, you can’t help but stop in to help you suffer through traffic… what options do you have? Better yet, what options do you allow yourself? Sure, you can buy healthy snacks and keep them in the car, but what if that doesn’t work? Are you willing to take the extra 5 minutes in your ride to avoid the McDonalds? Can you do that for yourself, even though it’s hard? It might not be easy to see in the beginning, but you’re teaching yourself a plethora of lessons with that one action:

  1. It’s ok to make difficult decisions for ME.
  2. It’s ok to suffer for my own greater good.
  3. It’s ok to push myself, because I am changing ME for the better.
  4. It’s ok to take the harder route, because I will be stronger in the end because of it.
  5. I am able to do this.

Remember that every challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow, no matter how successful the endeavor is or is not. As long as you take something away from the situation, it was not in vain. As long as you take away something from the situation and grow from it, you are putting one foot in front of the other. As long as you’ve learned one more way to get closer to your goal of a healthier lifestyle, you’re well on your way.

Be happy, be healthy!

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By | 2017-06-10T11:21:32+00:00 January 15th, 2015|It's All Mental|35 Comments

About the Author:

The proud leader of the #bgg2wlarmy, Erika Nicole Kendall writes food and fitness, body image and beauty, and more here at #bgg2wl. After losing over 150lbs, Kendall became a personal trainer certified in fitness nutrition, women's fitness, and weight loss by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is also certified in sports nutrition by Precision Nutrition. She now lives in New York with her husband and children, and is working on her 6th and 7th certifications because she likes having alphabet soup at the end of her name.


  1. Gina November 11, 2009 at 4:18 PM - Reply

    It’s a rebirth. A washing away of what you always thought was. So with that thought in mind. Baby steps. It’s a lifestyle change. Genius blog post Erika.

  2. Tracy November 12, 2009 at 12:35 AM - Reply

    Retraining the brain is one of the HARDEST things to do! Temptation is a BEAST!! It’s amazing how the mind can play tricks on you when you start on the path to a healthier lifestyle. You start craving the most unhealthy stuff in the world, even if you haven’t eaten it in a while. Pictures of damn near everything looks good. Food aromas make your mouth water. It’s easy to fall back into old habits. However, your post is so true. It is about baby steps. You can’t make huge changes overnight. That’s a breeding ground for disaster.

    • donna_b December 21, 2011 at 11:18 AM - Reply

      Wow. And I thought it was just me. My failures lead into such a deep and long self loathing. I fall off not just for a moment after I fail to meet my self imposed expectations. My pity parties go on for months. That evil voice in my head says see, that’s why you might as well just stay as you are. You’ve been this way all your life. It isn’t going to change. Stop trying. And I quit. Then I get on a kick for a few weeks, mess up and quit.

      Wondering. What does it take for that consistency to come in? Where do you hit that point? Where did you? Just curious. The ups and downs are a major disturbance for me. To the point I stopped trying. I get “motivated” have great intentions to follow through. Have that amazing workout, and then my cycle comes with all the emotional drainage. Or I fall to temptation of eating that crap food. Or my funds are low, food runs low and it goes from buying that healthy (but expensive) food to economically sound stuff that might not be so good for me but cost less. Or to cutting down to eating a meal or two a day instead of three and two snacks in between. Then my academic semester starts and my time gets tight, and stress is piled on from that, and work and money concerns. It all piles up and when I look up I’ve turned to food…in the end…

      Want this sick cycle carousel to stop.

      • Carlene June 7, 2012 at 11:34 AM - Reply

        There is a book entitled “The Four Day Win” and it is all about preparing for getting your food issues resolved by controlling your eating. I find that getting into a community of people who has same goals is also helpful. You are a beautiful amazing person and it may be helpful to remind yourself that are so much greater than your habits. I surround you with positive energy and I know that you can and will succeed. Your Beloved.

  3. Kenya November 12, 2009 at 9:38 AM - Reply

    I agree with this completely, the mind can totally derail you if you let it. You are right, you have to prepare for this thing mentally. And it takes time to erase old habits. I’ve been at this thing for a while, and have fallen many times. My falls come when I don’t plan meals and make sure to take food out to cook. Or when I don’t take my lunch to work. That’s when I’m tempted to stop at McDonalds and Taco Bell. It’s all about identifying what triggers you and trying to overcome it. And I have fallen, but the difference is I don’t let my thoughts derail me. In the past, I would eat bad and say “oh okay eff it, I’m already down this path and have failed, this is going to effect my loss so just eff it.” Now, it’s like you know, I fell, but I can get back up and just get back on track. It takes TIME, and that is something I have to remind myself every day. This is very inspiring, I am glad to share this journey, and have these posts to view as I travel this long hard road. Thanks!

  4. Erika November 12, 2009 at 11:35 AM - Reply

    Gina, I’m glad you agree! 🙂

    Tracy, some of the information I’ve read – and I’ll have to put this in a post, I see – says that you CANNOT retrain the brain. Think about that for a moment! It’s not about retraining the brain, but more about finding new coping mechanisms, and developing new habits to overpower the old ones. Very important!

    Kenya, mental preparation is hard and it’s really neverending. It’s not about will power at all – it’s about developing habits that allow you to never NEED your will power. I know that sounds crazy, but think about it – I don’t keep a single processed food item in my house. Cookies? I make ’em from scratch. Cupcakes? Scratch. If I can’t make it from scratch (and put in the time it takes TO make it from scratch), then I can’t have it. I don’t have to worry about will power if the opportunity isn’t there, you know?

    Gosh, I guess that’ll have to be a post, too! Thanks for the comments, y’all! 🙂

    • Rooo January 5, 2013 at 3:09 PM - Reply

      Happy New Year to the BGGWL fam.

      “Tracy, some of the information I’ve read – and I’ll have to put this in a post, I see – says that you CANNOT retrain the brain. “

      I’m looking forward to that post. I’ve read more about neuroplasticity, and how the brain forms new connections and networks when you learn new skills. I don’t have the time to search the citations off the top of my head, but when I go in to see the shrink for the “first of the year” appt I can ask if he has any title recommendations.

      • Erika Nicole Kendall January 5, 2013 at 5:54 PM - Reply

        See, I don’t know.

        Maybe it’s merely semantics, but you cannot unlearn what you’ve learned… You can only find new ways to solve whatever puzzle is in front of you.

        Like, I will never unlearn what it feels like to binge on a full giant bag of Funyuns. I CAN learn new ways to deal with the craving, new ways to understand what the craving means, and learn to appreciate NOT binging on the chips.

        There’s something about the word retrain that, to me, implies leaving behind the old u defeat ding, and that’s mad unrealistic, IMO.

        I’d love to know what your shrink thinks of this. Any resources they email you, fwd over?

    • Mia June 6, 2013 at 11:42 AM - Reply

      “I don’t keep a single processed food item in my house. Cookies? I make ‘em from scratch. Cupcakes? Scratch. If I can’t make it from scratch (and put in the time it takes TO make it from scratch), then I can’t have it. I don’t have to worry about will power if the opportunity isn’t there, you know?” – Erika

      BEST thing I’ve learned today. I often buy the bad stuff and promise myself to portion it out – only to see that the bag of chips or cookies is gone in two days! No more. If I want it, I’ll make it from scratch with clean ingredients. Thanks!!!

      Excerpted from One Foot In Front Of The Other: Mentally Preparing For Weight Loss | A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss

  5. Tracy November 12, 2009 at 9:55 PM - Reply

    Erika, I agree with the idea of making everything from scratch. I CAN NOT WAIT until I get my own place so that I can undertake the task of becoming the Martha Stewart/B. Smith of southeast Louisiana. I have a ton of recipes just waiting to be carried out in my own little kitchen… A girl can dream, can’t she?

  6. James Anderson November 13, 2009 at 7:30 AM - Reply

    Thanks for sharing your thought..There is no short cut in achieving BMI at the healthy range. Weight loss is gradual process involving lifestyle changes. To lose weight, make sustainable changes to eating and exercise habits.
    The amount and type of food taken determines the energy (calorie) intake. Energy in food comes from carbohydrates, protein and fat. There is weight gain when consistently intake of calories is more than the physical activity.

  7. Nicci@NiftyEats November 14, 2009 at 10:30 AM - Reply

    I just found you through twitter, can’t wait to learn more. Great tips on weight loss too.

  8. Tanesha November 17, 2009 at 9:09 PM - Reply

    someone retweeted your latest post and im sold. ironic that this topic is my next blog post. i’ll be reading!

  9. China Blue December 5, 2009 at 3:37 PM - Reply

    This is really interesting. I’ve found that it’s all in the mental mind – that’s half the battle. Getting out there and doing the exercise, making the choices, that’s the other half. The feelgood hormones reinforce the decisions you’ve made, make you feel that the hard work is worth it. The results speak for themselves.It’s a neverending feedback loop.

    I have been using NLP – Paul McKenna, actually – to reprogramme my brain. The hardest part is looking at yourself and telling your reflection what you love, rather than what you want to change.

    It’s as simple as this: ‘what you visualise, you become’. Getting that part right sets up your journey for success, no question.

  10. Kym December 23, 2009 at 11:07 AM - Reply

    You’ve said everything I already know, but just don’t need to put into practice. Yes, it’s difficult! I know my triggers and even as I sink my hand into the bread, I can hear my inner voice telling me to put it down and go write or something. Sometimes that voice wins out and sometimes it doesn’t.

    I’m working towards more wins.

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