You’ve heard me talk about managing your mind for weight loss success, and today I’m spilling the beans on the EXACT FORMULA that can take you everywhere you want to go. If there’s one part of the 5-0 Method that I get asked about the most, it’s the “mindset stuff,” and I get it!
Starting a journaling practice can feel overwhelming. Where do you begin? What do you write? And – the big question – WHEN WILL I FEEL BETTER??
On today’s episode of the Fitness Matters podcast, we’re covering all of that and more, with my super detailed, can’t-go-wrong process, called The Two-Step Tool. In a nutshell, you’ll find your thoughts and decide if they’re helpful.
How to Journal for Weight Loss
But let’s crack that nut open and dig in, with the step-by-step formula that will help you put pen to paper:
- Ask yourself a very specific and detailed question.
- Write your completely uncensored answers, one sentence per line.
- Add “I think” in front of each sentence.
- Listen for/find the feeling that each sentence creates for you.
- Decide if the feeling is “good” or “bad.”
- Write HELPFUL next to sentences that create a “good” feeling and UNHELPFUL next to sentences that create a “bad” feeling
- Let your brain work its magic
Ask Yourself a Question
First up, you’re going to ask yourself a very specific question, because your brain cannot help but answer a question. Your best bet is something like, “What do I think about the number on the scale this morning?” versus, “What do I think about my weight?” When you ask yourself too broad of a question, you’ll struggle to get started, but a narrow question will prompt answers, make it easier to answer, and will take less time.
Write Your Answers Completely Uncensored
My friend, I cannot stress to you how important this is. The only way to be aware of what you’re thinking is to write down exactly what you hear in your head. And because we are looking for self-awareness, it means that we are purposefully looking for thoughts that don’t feel good. Thoughts that don’t feel good are the ones that are stopping you from getting to your goal. So it’s literally our job to find as many thoughts that don’t feel good as possible And it’s your job when you’re journaling, if you want to be successful with it, to let those thoughts out on paper.
Write “I think” in Front of Each Sentence
You have a superpower called metacognition, which is the power to think about your thoughts, but sometimes when we’re thinking about our thoughts, we’re not recognizing them as thoughts. We can hear them. We can argue with them. We know that there’s narration going on in our head all the time and we understand intellectually that if it’s in your head, it is a thought. And yet it always sounds like facts. So adding the phrase, “I think” can help you tap into that metacognition superpower, where you are recognizing that your thought is a thought.
Listen For/Find the Feeling That Each Sentence Creates For You
You probably already know how you feel about the whole situation, but each individual thought creates its own feeling, so it’s important to take the time to listen to each and every sentence slowly. The way that I do this particular part of the process is to start with my heart, and slowly do a full body scan. What do I feel, and where do I feel it? Describe your body sensations, and – if you can – write down the name of the emotion.
Decide if the Feeling is Good or Bad
Here’s how I know if something feels good: I notice that I’d like to continue feeling it. Generally speaking, a good feeling is that good kind of bubbly where my shoulders pull back and my heart and my chest feel expansive and open. On the other hand, something like my throat feeling squeezy or my stomach feeling like it’s churning is a feeling that I would not like to feel. That feeling has all the information that you need.
Write the Word HELPFUL or UNHELPFUL Next to Each Sentence
You have a second superpower called neuroplasticity, which means that your brain can rewire its neural pathways and think new thoughts. In fact, you can do this on purpose! No matter how much you might believe that you don’t like to change, you naturally have a growth mindset. As of right now, your brain has categorized every single thought you have ever had as helpful, because they have kept you alive. However, since some of your thoughts are not getting you to your intentional goal, you want to tell your brain in no uncertain terms, “Hey, this thought is unhelpful.”
Let Your Brain Work its Magic
Lots of us would love to take charge of this process and be like, “Okay, here’s an affirmation that I’ll think on purpose to get to my goal,” but that’s not how neuroplasticity works. Recognizing and labeling your unhelpful thoughts as unhelpful is all the work that needs to be done. In the background, your brain will offer you those thoughts less often and work on finding others in their place.
Journaling Will Get You Everywhere You Want To Go
Journaling is a skill, and it’s a formula that you can apply to everything. Every situation – no matter how thorny, no matter how sticky, no matter how difficult, no matter how angry you are, no matter how sad you are, no matter how happy you are. Journaling will help you get your goal.