fat loss

It’s All In Your Head: a Mindset Makeover for Lasting Change

It’s All In Your Head: a Mindset Makeover for Lasting Change

“I know what to do… I know how I should eat and how to train, but… I just can’t seem to actually do it.” 

I hear this all of the time, and there simply aren’t enough font altering options to emphasize just how much I understand. 
You can have a wonderful training program and a fantastic nutrition protocol, yet unable to execute them due to certain thought processes and mental barriers that are holding you back – many of which we may not even realize are happening!
Maybe you’re obsessing over the next meal, or when your next indulgence will be, and worrying about which foods you can or can’t have. When things don’t go as planned, you’re dealing with guilt and negative self-talk, which eventually leads to labeling things (food, days, and ourselves) as “good” or “bad”. All of this starts to eventually pour over into other areas of your life, and pretty soon, you find yourself avoiding things that should be fun, such as social situations or vacations, simply because you aren’t sure how to handle them, which ultimately ends up affecting the quality of your life, and that is not okay. 
It saddens me to admit this, but…  I’ve been there. It isn’t fun, and can be quite consuming. 
For years when I was trying to make changes to my physique, I allowed myself to become trapped in the restrict-binge-guilt-restrict cycle that often accompanies really restrictive dieting. I would diet hard, indulge, feel guilty, and then try to “make up for it” by being even more strict with my food and intake, and the entire process would repeat itself over and over. Never thinking I looked quite good enough, and wasting an embarrassing amount of time dwelling on my flaws, I suffered from a wicked case of “If, then”. “If only I could get to x body fat percentage… if only my abs were visible…. if only I wore smaller jeans….  then I would finally be truly happy!”

It’s All in Your Head 

Mindset, how we think about things and react to them, is the foundation upon which lasting change is built. Without permanent habit change – which entails getting to the root of the issue – results are only temporary.

Let that one sink in for a moment. 

It is easy to tell somebody, “Stop eating those cookies every night” or “Stop caring what other people think of you” but how well does that usually work out?
Often times, it isn’t realistic to expect somebody to alter their behavior just because you tell them to. If it was that easy for them to just “stop”, then they probably would have done it by now.
Instead, we must dig deeper, and learn how to look at things from a different perspective.
A good coach – whether it be for nutrition, training, or life –  knows that their job is just as much about the mental side of things as it is dishing out (see what I did there?) which foods, how much of them to eat, and which exercise protocol to follow. . 
Often times we know the end result that we desire, but there is something that is preventing us from being able to execute. 
My friend Jill Coleman knows all about this. As a former fitness competitor and model, personal trainer, coach, and mindset aficionado, she understands the mental games that we play with ourselves to both justify and perpetuate certain thought processes that prevent us from meeting our goals, and more importantly, being happy with ourselves! 
In honor of the launch of Jill’s 10-Week Mindset Makeover, I had the chance to ask her a couple of questions about where so many women are going wrong in regards to mindset, and how her program can help make lasting health and physique changes. Here is what she had to say: 

Mindset Makeover

I’ve followed your stuff for years now, and it’s been incredible to witness you evolve and shift your focus from solely diet and exercise topics, to the deeper things that affect our health and physique, such as mindset and habit change. 
What made you realize that lasting change involved more than just which foods we ingest and the workouts we do? 

Love this question! 

The JillFit blog has been around for almost 4 years now and contains 500+ blogs, so luckily for me, it’s been really fun to watch the content change over the years as my own journey has shifted. I started out as a figure competitor and fitness model, engaging in solely physique pursuits for years. It was an amazing experience, seeing the body transform, but no matter how lean I got or how many tearsheets I collected, I never felt at ease or happy in my body.  

Dieting constantly was misery, and when you are in that mental space, you cannot see out of it. I spent many years berating myself for not being perfect with my eating, and then disgusted with myself for being what I perceived to be “weak” or “undisciplined” or frankly, just not good enough. My mindset was just always: leaner, more muscle, less sugar, more cardio, be better, stronger, thinner, etc AND THEN you can relax and be happy.  

And so, I thought it was the diet and the exercise that mattered most. If I just found “the best meal plan” and did the best workouts consistently, then of course I’d get the body of my dreams and finally like myself!  

Welp, it doesn’t work that way because information does not equal transformation, and just because I had “the diet” and “the workouts” didn’t mean I’d be able to do them perfectly or consistently. 

Implementation is everything. For the most part, people know WHAT to do, they just can’t do it. And not because they are lazy gluttons who “don’t want it enough,” but because we are human and willpower is exhaustible. Plus, we have many focuses: kids, partners, jobs, home life, school, whatever, and the only people who can get and stay super lean are those who focus on it exclusively, like pro competitors and models who are getting paid to look that way. And even they struggle and the pool of those individuals is very small anyway. So for the average multi-tasking woman to compare herself to that is frankly absurd. And yet we all do it, and it doesn’t serve us. 

The final piece for me came when I realized that hating yourself into positive change is impossible. Guilt, shame, remorse and self-digust are terrible motivators.  

Who’s healthier: the person who’s 12% body fat but hates themselves and is completely body-obsessed? Or the woman who is 25% body fat but loves who she is, wakes up excited to workout and eat healthy and doesn’t waste a million hours stressing that she’s not good enough according to some arbitrary number? I’d say the second woman every single time.

How important is mindset when it comes to making change, whether it be modifying physique, enhancing health, or changing the direction of one’s life in a positive manner? 

Mindset is everything. I kind of sort of hate the word “mindset” because it feels really overused, but also somewhat esoteric. What I really mean by “mindset” is actually PERSPECTIVE. I’ve known women sitting at 10% body fat who are painfully insecure and I’ve also known overweight women who wake up every day killing life and loving every inch of their body. Perception is everything. You literally create your reality in every second with how you choose to see the world, how you see others and how you see yourself.  

In general, when I talk about mindset, it’s to contrast two specific models:

  1. The Victim Mindset and 
  2. The Empowered Mindset. 

When we play the victim, we feel like life is out to get us. We say, “Why is this so hard??” and “How come so-and-so seems to do this effortlessly?” or “Why am I the one this bad stuff always happens to??”  

Can you see how these statements take our power away? They create the perfect scenario so that we get to continue being the one “done wrong” and unfairly treated. Playing the victim leaves us helpless to make a change. And it’s also a choice, by the way 🙂  

The Empowered Mindset, on the other hand, is also a mindset that we can CHOOSE, and when we do, we get to be the creators of our life. When we perceive that we get a say in how our life unfolds, we are more likely to TAKE ACTION to make it so. Even when in situations that aren’t ideal, people who choose an empowered mindset always feel like they have a choice. Is it always easy and pleasant? No, but they know that by choosing their attitude and their effort, they can change their circumstances. 

It’s that simple. 
The Empowered Mindset is about possibility and achievement. The Victim Mindset is about staying small, scared and helpless. It’s 100% your choice. 

Today is an exciting day, as your wildly popular program, The Mindset Makeover, opens up! In this program (which I have gone through), you ask some really interesting questions, and challenge our current perspectives, which leads to looking at things in a completely different way. 
How can somebody know if your 10-week Mindset Makeover is right for them, and what are some of the topics that they can expect to work through? 

Awesome! Yes! My 10-Week Mindset Makeover launches this week, and we’ve had over 500 women go through the program so far, and I’m pumped to have it out of retirement for the week! 🙂  

The program is for women who have exhausted all other options and are honestly ready for a huge mental overhaul. Meaning, they are sick and tired of stressing out about their physique constantly and wondering if they are ever going to be good enough/thin enough/successful enough/whatever enough. It’s a game we never win, and certainly not by “dieting harder.” 

The 10 week educational program takes the participants through 5 modules including intro to mental awareness, beating your inner victim, active acceptance and how to talk to yourself more effectively for physique change plus boosting body esteem, how to choose your attitude in every moment for success and putting it all together into a doable long-term strategy for physical and mental change. 

It combines the latest in positive and change psychology, with some of the new age personal development insights plus some unique takes on the fitness industry as it relates to body esteem and self-confidence. 
JillFit’s motto is “You can have a cookie and still like yourself after,” and this program is all about teaching you how to interact with your environment, other people and most importantly–yourself–to become the best version of you. 

What kind of time commitment is expected to participate in the program? 

I’m not going to lie–this program is not for someone who wants to merely dabble. This is a hardcore mindset change program. I’ll often be asking you to take 10 minutes out of your day and complete some exercises to get at the core of you, your beliefs and the places you are stuck. 

The program is 100% educational in nature, but it involves the participant doing the work. I want each woman to know themselves better than ever at the end, and truthfully, that’s going to take some time, introspection and the desire to unearth some potentially hard and scary truths about themselves. Each email takes a couple minutes to read, and then some exercises can take 5 minutes, while others will take more.  

Obviously, the more you put into the program, the more you get out of it. I’ve had plenty go through the program and learn a ton without doing any of the exercises, but ideally, the program is best for those who want to make real, sustainable change and stop wasting time looking anywhere outside themselves. 

This program is 100% about the individual. And of course I share plenty of embarrassing, open and super vulnerable stories from my own past so that everyone knows they’re not alone 🙂

You’ve had a ton of people successfully complete this program with outstanding results. What are some of the biggest changes that people have reported? 

The biggest and best outcome is a complete mindset shift away from The Victim Mindset to an empowered one. 

I love getting emails from participants afterward saying that they’ve completely taken control of their life, their body, their career, their relationships, whatever. Ultimately, this program is about creating a life you love and feeling like you have a say in how it all plays out.  

The program can get emotional for people, and I’ve had women write and say they got back in touch with an estranged loved one or the program saved their marriage or they made a complete career change. It’s been amazing to see. 

My personal goal? For each woman to appreciate who they are in the world, 100% and show up authentically and powerfully, as a result of going through this education 🙂

While almost everybody has tried to make alterations to their diet and activity levels at some point or another, I’ve found that diving headfirst into the mental aspect of things can be far more challenging. If you could give anybody a piece of advice as they embark upon your program, what would it be? 

Yep, I agree totally, Jen. Mindset change is so difficult! 

Usually, focusing on diet and exercise is easier because it’s clinical. You’re either compliant or you’re not. And when you’re not, it’s easy to point the finger: “My coach is the worst!” or more common: “I’m the worst! I can’t even follow this freaking diet for a week!”  

Negative self-talk is the biggest waste of time and energy, yet it’s it’s also the most effortless thing on earth–we all do it, and then wonder why we’re not getting results. This is humanity’s natural default state–to blame others or ourselves, which is really just one big distraction when it comes to outcomes. Blaming and complaining is a crutch. And it’s also not a solution. Emotions are important, but action is what moves us. 

Mindset work is tough because it requires us go beyond the human default state. It requires we TAKE 100% RESPONSIBILITY for everything in our lives. Our thoughts and actions, the situations we find ourselves in, even if they were a result of someone else’s actions. Doesn’t matter, because regardless of whose “fault” something is, the bottom line is that we can never wait on others to change in order to be happy or accomplished. We have to do the leg work ourselves. 

The key with mindset work is ownership. And ownership takes courage and looking inward. Shining the spotlight on those not-so-useful parts of ourselves like the feelings of not-good-enough and the real reasons why we need to get thinner. This is hard, and sometimes painful. We have to give up the story that we’ve been done wrong or that life has “happened” to us. 

Mindset work requires taking 100% responsibility in every moment. And though it can be scary and uncomfortable, the alternative to doing this work is staying small, scared, insecure and never feeling like you have a say in your life. And I don’t know about you, but the latter sounds a lot worse! 🙂

Thank you so much, Jen, for having me! Your readers are the best! Honored to be taking up space on your blog today!  


If you are ready to make lasting change to your health, physique, and happiness, you have to start with the foundation, which is your mindset. 

10-Week Mindset Makeover

Also, Jill is doing two free webinars today, Tuesday, July 22nd, at 12pm EST and 9pm EST, titled “Five Female Mindset Insights for Physique Change”

Jill will chat about the things that typically trip women up when it comes to reaching their physique goals, and how to shift your perspective to keep you moving forwards. 

1 Comment

  • Reply
    December 16, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Great post! Thanks for sharing!

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