By being mindful of our thinking patterns relating to body weight, fitness, and health, and by tweaking or transforming them wherever needed, we may overcome our over-fixation with BMI.
Absence of favorable outcomes on the weighing scale repeatedly affects our self-esteem, relationships at home, and even inter-personal conduct and performance at the workplace. But why does our weight loss program usually fail? Why doesn’t a fitness program sustain? Why do desired outcomes on health elude us?
A major spoiler is our mindset. We remain over-obsessed with our body mass rather than being mindful of our thought processes and attitudes surrounding diet, fitness, health, and life as a whole. With their strong linkages with body weight, some of our thought patterns have the potential to make or break our efforts, motivate us towards fitness and good health.
So, before constantly checking on the scale of our weight or calculating BMI, we should honestly check how we think on the subject.
Here are six key thinking patterns, involving choices we make, that need a close look and check:
1. Do we want to look good or feel good?
In the journey towards fitness, self-motivation is the key. But, if our motivation behind losing weight is to look good, it can fluctuate with the perception of others. With this dependence on external validation, the path to feel good may be elusive. Moreover, fixation with an image of perfect shape and weight can be stressful and can deprive us of our peace of mind. Instead, by becoming our own cheer leader for our efforts and gains, however small, we can constantly keep our motivation up. In fact, to feel good, healthy food and physical activity must be complemented with good breathing, good sleep, a positive mind, and a compassionate heart.
2. Do we appreciate the taste of food or value in food?
Our obsession with the taste and aroma of food masks real value in food. We know why all who cook, be at home or outside, crave appreciation for this factor. In fact, food joints and restaurants use “taste enhancers” to satiate our taste buds. In this cultural backdrop, value in food fails to get its due. But if we can extricate ourselves from this “taste trap” by changing our thought process and start loving healthy food, irrespective of taste, we can avoid the high calorie and fat load of tasty foods.
3. Do we mind quantity or look for quality?
A full stomach provides psychological satisfaction. We live to eat, it appears, and not eat to live. Also, on our dining table, cereals (rice, bread etc.) disproportionately fill our plate. This space, instead, has to be rightfully occupied by worthy stuff-pulses, eggs, green vegetables etc. Less is more, when we consume less in terms of quantum and carbs, but more of protein, fibers, and vitamins.
“The torrent of information on health, freely forwarded, shared, and received, on social media often clouds our judgement.”
4. Do we get swayed by un-validated information or common sense/ wisdom?
The torrent of information on health, freely forwarded, shared, and received, on social media often clouds our judgement. In this din, we fail to discern between right and wrong. Not surprisingly, irrational, and false information often derail our fitness regime, affect our motivation, or even harm our health. The plain fact is, we need some simple, actionable, customized templates for daily routine, to be followed consistently, to keep us fit and healthy.
“we often consume more by succumbing, willingly or otherwise, to the love and affection of family members or close friends.”
5. Are we emotionally driven or rationally guided?
During eating sessions, we often consume more by succumbing, willingly or otherwise, to the love and affection of family members or close friends. The situation is more common in a joint family setting. This in fact is a case of misplaced affection and care, as it leads to overeating, harming our health. Through a strong resolve and rationale, we need to navigate such situations deftly. Clearly, unless we take full charge of our dietary regime, making our autonomous choices, the desired health outcomes can elude us.
6. Are we into short term efforts and gains or long-term investment?
Health is hard work and requires a long-term investment of time, effort, and commitment. No shortcuts, no half-hearted approach work. During the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we have seen how suddenly we became conscious of immunity and health. But, as all health experts opine, immunity cannot be built overnight with short-term efforts by consuming immunity boosters or adopting quick-fix, temporary measures. It is through sustained, long term efforts only that we get the gift of robust immunity, fitness, and health.
“if we can extricate ourselves from this “taste trap” by changing our thought process and start loving healthy food, irrespective of taste, we can avoid the high calorie and fat load of tasty foods. “
Need to identify, challenge, and correct the faulty thinking patterns
The distortions in our thinking relating to food and fitness manifest themselves in biases, rigidities, impatience, inconsistencies, irrationalities, misplaced priorities etc. We need to identify, question, or challenge them, and take corrective measures, by positive self-talk, openness for constructive feedback, flexibility, and adaptability, and, most importantly, by seeing a holistic picture of health and happiness.
A weighing scale doesn’t weigh our habits. Nor a mirror reflects our mind. But if we are self-aware and mindful of the thought patterns, and willing to tweak or transform them wherever needed, we may find our sole fixation with BMI superfluous. A healthy Body-Mind parameters will automatically take care of Body Mass Index
“Ram Krishna Sinha is a former Bank Executive, Author and Columnist. Based in Mumbai, he writes on Education, Healthy lifestyle, and Self-Care.”