Boss Lady

How a business mindset can help you lose weight


Have you tried for ages to get fitter, drop a dress size, or eat more healthfully ¾ but without success? Well, guess what? As a businesswoman, you may actually have an arsenal of skills crucial to achieving your goal ¾ skills you’re already using successfully in your business life.

For perhaps the majority of people who want to achieve a healthy weight, diet and exercise simply aren’t enough. There also needs to be a mental attitude that gets you through the inevitable psychological challenges. Without your mind supporting you, motivating you, accepting you when you don’t do so well, even the best diet and exercise strategies will fail.

Does that sound at all familiar ¾ the idea of needing the right mindset to get through tough times and business challenges? When diet and exercise aren’t enough, these four mental strategies that you already use in business can help to you achieve your health goals too.

1. Find your internal motivation

Successful businesspeople have passion, a motivation that goes deeper than simply going through the motions to please other people. Sometimes people decide to lose weight to please their doctor, spouse or friends. Or they think they should be slimmer.

Losing weight for external reasons might motivate you part of the way. But when it’s raining right before your gym class ¾ or it’s been a lousy day and you want to discuss your feelings with a value pack of Tim Tams ¾ you need something more powerful.

The best motivation for getting through tough times is internal motivation … the desire to do it for you.

Maybe you want to look good in flattering outfits, or feel like the old, fun you, or be able to walk up stairs and not pass out. It doesn’t matter if the voice in your head says your reason is vain or shallow or selfish. That voice has not served you well in the past ¾ so turn down the volume.

Ask yourself what your internal motivation is, why you want to lose weight. Let that desire power you through the hard days.

2. Choose progress over perfection

In business there are ups and downs, triumphs and disappointments. Success is never a straight, upward line. And it’s exactly the same with health and weight loss goals.

Instead of aiming for something that’s not possible and then feeling miserable when you predictably fail to achieve it, decide to retain your precious sanity and give up perfection. Instead, aim for progress.

Make tweaks to your diet that you can live with. You’ll feel good, and be motivated to make more changes and achieve more success. And it will be sustainable over the long term.

Do any exercise you don’t hate. You’ll get fitter and want to increase your intensity and frequency. And then you might experiment with other types of exercise.

Progress makes you feel successful and motivates you to do more. It’s an upward spiral. Progress is achievable. It feels so much better than the recurring disappointment of perfectionism.

And best of all, over time, it gets you to your goal.

3. Expect to get it wrong sometimes

There are times we all fail. We mess up a presentation. Make a poor decision. Handle a situation with a client badly.

It’s the same with weight loss. Sometimes we bail on a workout. Have a third ¾ okay… fourth ¾ glass of wine. Seek comfort after a bad day with an industrial-sized binge.

If you expect to be imperfect (aka human) then when you inevitably fail you’ll say, ‘d’oh!’ and feel frustrated. And then you’ll pick yourself up and return to your plan.

But if you expect to be perfect, then things will take a very different turn. You’ll go on a week-long binge or stop exercising completely, or fall into a pit of self-loathing.

In the scheme of things, very little damage gets done by slip-ups. Your weight loss has its short-term ups and downs, but continues on an overall positive trend.

Perfectionism, however, does major damage. It causes guilt and self-loathing and large-scale dietary derailments. It contributes to fat gain way more than the inevitable lapses and detours.

If you want to be a healthy weight and also sane, then you have no choice but to let perfectionism go.

4. Don’t be a martyr

We all know someone who’s a martyr. They put everyone and everything before themselves. They feel constantly rushed, harried, put upon. It’s no way to live. It makes it hard to do what’s needed in your business. And it makes losing weight almost impossible.

Martyrdom provides the perfect excuse to dodge exercise. There’s so much to do for everyone else ¾ how could you abandon them for Lycra leggings and a Beyoncé playlist?

It also makes us extra vulnerable to comfort eating. After putting yourself last all day long, surely you deserve a treat? A great big cream-filled one.

Self-pity buys a lot of indulgence. When people see themselves as the victim of forces beyond their control, when they refuse to believe there are choices, when they’re convinced they can’t change anything ¾ they tend to stay martyrs. Unfortunately, chubby ones.

But if you give yourself a dose of reality, you can say, ‘I want to be a role model for my kids. I want to be a happy, fulfilled businesswoman. I want to be an attractive, confident partner in my relationship. And that means I’m going to make myself a priority, I’m going to make the time, I’m going to take the focus, I’m going to do this for myself and the people I care about.’

Don’t let yourself play the martyr game. You’re guaranteed to lose. But it won’t be weight.

The mindset and mental resilience you use every day in your business life are also incredible assets in any goal to lose weight or have a healthier lifestyle. Make sure you use them!

How a business mindset can help you lose weight

This advice is excerpted from Michele Connolly’s new book, How  to Be Thin in a World of Chocolate.

About Michele Connolly

Michele Connolly has a Bachelor of Commerce and has run a successful marketing communications business. She also has a Bachelor of Psychology and has written a thesis on personality and happiness. She is the author of How to Be Thin in a World of Chocolate. Website Book:

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