Psychology of Weight Loss
If you are sincere about wanting to lose weight and keep it off, then you have to focus on changing your mindset first, not your diet.
Changing your attitude about losing weight is the single most significant predictor of whether or not you will be successful. Your intention, inner resolve, and acceptance of yourself are all crucial for you to effectively change your behavior and your life for the long term.
Losing weight is not about fixing yourself. It’s not about focusing on what’s wrong with you or what you need to change. That is a negative mindset. Instead, successful weight loss happens when you embrace the goal of lasting health, which will enable you to enjoy your life, live longer, and pursue the activities you want.
You can learn new habits and develop creative ways of thinking about eating. It just takes time, practice, the right mindset, and a focus on what is essential.
It’s all about getting your mind right so that your lifestyle choices can follow.
Here are our top strategies for changing your mindset so that you can change your life.
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Prepare Yourself Emotionally And Mentally For Your Weight Loss Journey
With weight loss and its challenging journey come changes;
- Dealing with challenges
- Changing habits
- Coping with cravings
- Attention from others as your body changes
- A total change in lifestyle
- Saying goodbye to an older version of you
- And more…
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Find Your Heartfelt Desire
Real lasting motivation always comes from your heart, not from your head. A deep heartfelt desire goes a long way to sustainable weight loss.
Motivation varies from person to person, it may be a desire to look good, or a more negative one that stems from fear, such as the threat of heart disease or type 2 diabetes that results from obesity.
Make 2 Lists
- List all the negative consequences of not losing weight.
- List all the positive outcomes of losing weight.
Make sure to be thoughtful and detailed in your listings, motivation is crucial in lasting success. Those who have total motivation enjoy lasting weight loss success.
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Change Certain Thought Processes And Behaviors
To have the proper mindset and the correct psychology for weight loss, you must change your thought process towards a healthier lifestyle:
- Learn to feel content with just being satisfied after a meal and not stuffed.
- Learn to identify real hunger versus a mental desire to eat (for other reasons).
- Be able to overcome your cravings.
- The ability to regulate and monitor food intake. This includes portion control and mindful eating.
- Develop healthy coping skills for negative emotions and stress.
- Be comfortable with and embrace the fact that food restrictions and portion sizes are a natural part of a healthy weight.
- Accept that lasting habit changes are needed for lasting weight loss, and this means that healthy thinking must be maintained for life.
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Address Poor Self-Esteem
One of the biggest obstacles to achieving weight loss is poor self-esteem. Poor self-esteem is likely a substantial contributing factor to you being overweight and, therfore, it is also one of the main blocks to losing weight and keeping it off.
If you don’t feel that you deserve to be healthy, then it is difficult to do what you need to get there. It’s as simple as this; when you love yourself, you want to take care of yourself, and do the best for yourself. Being overweight or obese does not comply with those needs. In fact, it can be viewed as a form of self-abuse.
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Learn From Your Mistakes
Instead of using your mistakes as a reason to berate yourself, learn from them.
When you fail and let’s face it, you will have slips, learn from those, let them prop you up instead of tearing you down. Seek self-knowledge to avoid the same mistake in the future.
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Get Stress And Negative Emotions Under Control
“Stress eating” and “emotional eating” can block your weight loss efforts. Learn to manage stress and uncomfortable feelings in healthy ways.
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Get Comfortable With Discomfort
Fear of or lack of comfort with discomfort is a tremendous psychological block to weight loss. All change in life involves some level of difficulty, and a weight loss journey presents a lot! It is, therefore, imperative to get comfortable with discomfort. This is a life skill that can also help you in many ways throughout life.
Practice is critical, so spend 10 minutes each day in some type of discomfort. Sit outside in the cold without a jacket, take ice-cold showers, skip dinner, whatever makes you uncomfortable, just do it!
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Make Your Goals Attainable
Instead of focusing on big goals like losing 50 pounds, break it down into smaller goals of 10 or 5 pounds at a time. Those big goal numbers can be overwhelming and deter motivation to continue since it can take a long time to get there.
Another mindset shift that helps in this regard is instead of thinking, “I need to lose 50 pounds,” say to yourself, “Today, I will focus on changing bad habits, so I will enjoy a salad for lunch, instead of a cheeseburger.”
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Change Your Goals
Your goal should NOT be simply just to lose weight, but should instead be developing the more sustainable and vital healthy habits you want to adopt in your life over the long haul. And your daily goals should be things you can accomplish each day to help make those new habits a reality. Instead of focusing on losing three pounds this week, focus on eating a minimum of five servings of fruit and vegetables daily for a week.
Instead of worrying about the scale, ask yourself if you are drinking enough water each day or getting enough sleep?
Goals should be about your health, not about your weight. The scale does not define you. It informs you. DON’T forget that!
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Practice Self-Control And Self-Discipline in All Aspects of Your Life
Self-discipline isn’t something you should just focus on when it comes to your food choices. It is something you should be practicing in all aspects of your life.
Self-control is a skill, like any other in your life. The more you apply it, the easier it becomes to use it and the stronger your willpower. Self-control is a muscle that has to be strengthened for it to be stable and grow.
Every time you resist temptation, you develop your self-control.
Resisting temptation is essential in all aspects of your life if you want to be healthy, so learn to exercise your self-discipline in many ways, and you’ll see how it pays off when it comes to your eating.
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Identify And Stop Self-Sabotage
Self-sabotage stops your efforts.
Identify your self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors.
Seek therapy to identify deep-seated issues that lead to self-sabotage.
Address your self-esteem.
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Learning to be more grateful can actually improve your chances of successfully losing weight and living a healthier life. When you have more gratitude for the positive things in your life, you behave in more positive ways and feel better about the opportunities you have.
Being grateful also has been shown to reduce the presence of stress hormones in the body, which can make you feel stressed and lead to binge eating and other unhealthy habits.
Start each day by acknowledging your gratitude to help make your healthy changes permanent.
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Forgive Yourself And Others
Your regrets, grudges, and anger could be what’s really weighing you down. Carrying around unresolved feelings, whether about yourself or other people, can keep you from staying positive and committing to the healthy changes you need to lose weight successfully.
All those vivid emotions you feel during the day, including your suppressed road rage and your uncontrollable irritation at the barking dog next door, are coming from somewhere. And that place is where all your negative emotions go to hide. It’s also where all your bad habits feed.
When you learn to forgive, you are much more likely to become healthier, feel less stressed, and remain focused on the positive goals you have set for yourself. Fixation of these negative emotions is a sign that you have not dealt with some of your feelings, which is crucial if you want to achieve health and wellness.
Let it go, and you’ll start to feel lighter.
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Find Fulfillment in Life, Not Food
Eating preferences and patterns become much simpler to change for good when you are getting what you want and need out of life in other ways. It’s no coincidence that many people have successfully and permanently lost weight when they have changed jobs, pursued a dream, or removed themselves from an unhealthy relationship.
Once you are happy in other areas of your life, you no longer need to find happiness in Food.
You are not unhappy because you are fat. You are fat because you are unhappy. Knowing this means you can make the necessary changes you need to create more joy and spark more satisfaction in your life, which can help you make the kinds of healthy changes required to change your body for good.
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Becoming healthier is a way to take care of yourself. It’s not a reward for good behavior or punishment for poor choices.
Being healthy is rewarding. In the same way, Food should not be used as a reward, and exercise should not be considered a punishment.
These are two things you do to care for yourself, which allows you to be the best person you can be.
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Build A Community
Making significant changes in your life is difficult, especially when you are on your own. You are the only one who can make these changes, but you don’t have to make them alone.
That’s why it’s always helpful to become part of a community that is dedicated to the same healthy lifestyle that you are. Your community can also focus on emotionally, mentally, and spiritually healthy habits that help to improve your overall wellbeing.
Those who have help from a supportive community are much more likely to achieve their weight loss goals. So, stay connected if you want to suceed.
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Focus and Breathe
Establishing an intention in everything you do can help you to stay focused on your goals and what you believe is important.
Start each day, each activity, each meal, and each workout with a moment of reflection.
Take a couple of minutes to breathe in and out deeply, to think about what you want to do and why you are doing it, and then begin.
Purposeful breathing and setting of intentions make it clear that you are choosing each of your behaviors.
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Break Up With Your Critic
We know how influential that inner critic can be. If that voice is controlling your life, then it’s time to break up.
Identify the negative thoughts that most often get you into trouble when it comes to your healthy eating choices and make a plan for how to change or stop them. When you hear that voice, say, “stop!”
Say to yourself out loud the positive things you want to tell your critic that are reminders of why you are making these choices. Repeat this often, every time you hear the voice. Break the chain of thought, and it is less likely to return.
Repeat frequently, and you’ll notice that, over time, that voice will disappear.
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Learn From the Past
Instead of focusing on the times you have tried and failed to lose weight, let your past be your guide. We all fail from time to time. What is most important is that you learn from these missteps as you keep moving forward.
What can you learn from your past successes and failures that you will apply to your present situation? Don’t beat yourself up about breaking promises to yourself in the past.
Use those experiences as opportunities to gain self-knowledge, so that you don’t have to repeat your mistakes.
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Become a Friend to Yourself
It is easy for many people to be hard on themselves when it comes to their weight or appearance. The standards you hold yourself to are likely much stricter than any that others would even consider asking you to uphold. And you are probably much harder on yourself than you ever would be on someone else. Why the double standard?
Learn to treat yourself in the same way you would a friend struggling with the same issues.
Treat yourself with compassion and respect if you want to learn to love and accept yourself.