Jacqui Lewis - April 2021
10 tools for Promoting a “Healthy Mindset”
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t- you’re right”
- Henry Ford
Mental health plays a major role in our overall well being, and our success in losing weight and gaining health after WLS.
There are a wide range of effective tools we can implement to promote a healthy mindset, from exercising to meditating.
Here are 10 things you can try to ensure you are promoting good mental health to keep you firing on all cylinders toward your WLS goals.
1. Eat Well
Research supports the notion that a highly processed, nutrient reduced diet will play a significant role in not only your physical health, but your mood, energy levels and overall resilience when you do go through times of stress or “busy-ness”.
Ideally, healthy living will prevail whatever is happening because it is what underpins your ability to keep going.
If your healthy food choices and exercise regime fall apart every time you get busy, you will just be adding fuel to the fire.
Good nutrition and regular movement allows you to feel good from the inside out.
2. Surround yourself with positive people
Take time to make meaningful connections with friends and family and the people around you. By surrounding yourself with positive people you will feel happier and supported. If you haven't yet found “your tribe” look for ways you can connect with like minded people, or if you are trying to change your outlook, or mindset - hang out where people with those traits would be likely to show up.
There is a real method behind “fake it till you make it!” if you are looking to level up your health and mindset - immerse yourself in people, books, podcasts and events that people you are aspiring to be like, would be investing their time. Gradually, your mind will catch up and your outside world will start to reflect these values as well.
3. Take time to practice gratitude
Remember how far you have come, and think of ways to be grateful for the opportunities that have come from your situation. A “cup half full” approach is a sure-fire way of emitting a more positive mindset rather than always looking for the “problems” you may have. We all have problems, that is just a part of life.
It’s how we manage these that is the real test of our healthy mindset and winning attitude. Journaling about your ‘wins’ and the things you are noticing about yourself is a great way to keep the “growth mindset” alive.
4. Avoid self-comparison
Comparison can take its toll for many people, resulting in lowered self-esteem or a lower sense of self-worth. Try to remember to stay in your own lane - remembering that we all are on our own journey. Generally what looks like overnight success is a huge compilation of good habits applied often, and many many failures.
As Lionel Messi, World’s best soccer player said “My overnight success only took 20 years”. There’s so much about other people that we don't see.
Success doesn't land in anyone’s lap without the mindset to make it happen and attract the “right things at the right time”
5. Find a hobby you love
A balance between work or study and spending time doing things that make you happy can make a big difference to having a healthy mindset. It is also a way to meet like minded people you would like to emulate in some way.
Try something new or pick up a class to help you feel fulfilled.
Use the “Meetup” app to find things that interest you and “show up” - nothing changes until something changes, and it starts with you, your surroundings and the things you fill your time with that build an inner satisfaction and keep you in a flow of creating the life you want to live.
6. Give something back
Giving back to the community can help build meaningful connections with those around you but can also be so powerful for your mindset.
Find opportunities to volunteer within your community or show small acts of kindness to those around you during the day and you will feel better and happier as a person.
The best way to shift the focus from your woes is to help others with theirs.
7. Talk about your feelings
It’s important to share how we are feeling with people close to us. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your feelings with anyone, sometimes a personal journal can help you to express what you’re experiencing. If something is happening you can't quite work out a way around, then seek some professional advice from a health coach or psychologist.
In life we all need support, and coaching - this is what helps us to see our blindspots and opens doors to new ways of thinking.
We all have times of stress and uncertainty or overwhelm, and working out ways of restoring and regrouping is important. No-one has the resilience to simply keep charging along without periods of downtime and rest.
The WLS journey can be taxing, there's a lot to learn physically and emotionally. Make sure you are scheduling in times of rest and recuperation, especially straight after your surgery. Sleep is important for your wellness
Feeding yourself well nutritionally and emotionally is the key to your long term success. Many of us have never learned to put ourselves first, so learning to communicate your needs and wants now is paramount so that those around you get to know the new you.
There are many studies that support the idea that exercise is very powerful in supporting mental health.
According to Knapen et. al. (2014) exercise can improve body image, resilience, quality of life and can even assist in cases of mild to moderate depression. It doesn't mean you have to be running marathons - quite the opposite really.
Regular low impact exercise is the key to being consistent, and has far reaching benefits for both physical and mental health If you have not been a regular exerciser - find a trainer who specialises in exercise for weight loss surgery patients, and get them to map out a program for you that is effective and safe.
10. Use failure to encourage success
Failure can be the cornerstone to personal growth and development.
Remind yourself to pick yourself back up again and try again!
Every day is a new opportunity
BHSc Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine