According to the Cleveland Clinic, 74% of Americans are concerned about their weight, yet only 43% have tried to make dietary changes. Why do you think that is? Losing weight is simple - burn more calories than you take in.
While losing weight may be simple, it isn’t easy for most people because many (perhaps most) roadblocks to weight loss are psychological.
“We can be offered a list of 100 or even 1,000 tips to help us lose the weight, but until our feelings and beliefs (our psychology) is in alignment with our desire to feel our best, it’s unlikely we’ll follow through with our well-intentioned health tips,” The Institute for the Psychology of Eating states. “We think it’s about willpower, but it’s not. The Psychology of weight loss is based on the tenet that there is more to losing weight than ‘eat this and don’t eat that.’”
You need to change your thinking to lose the weight.
5 Tips to Change How You Think About Weight Loss
- Make sure you’re ready. You don’t want to keep putting off weight loss because all the stars are not in alignment; however, losing weight (and keeping it off) is a long-term commitment. You need to ensure that you are ready to make that commitment. To help avoid disappointment, ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I truly motivated to lose weight (See tip 2)?
- Am I too distracted by other things going on in my life?
- Am I willing to change my eating and activity habits?
- Am I willing and able to make the time to create AND implement a plan (see tip 5)?
- Find Your Why. Take some time to think about why you (not your spouse, your parents, etc.) want to lose weight. Be as specific as possible. You have to want it for yourself, or it isn’t going to work. Is it because you want to have more energy, you want to be able to play with your kids, you want to look fabulous for a special event, etc.? You may have more than one why.
Once you find your why use it to keep yourself motivated. For example, remind yourself of your why(s) several times a day, create a vision board, try visualization, and repeat a mantra. Perhaps this sounds like hogwash, nonsense, or hokum, but many people use these techniques and accomplish great things.
If you are truly serious about losing weight, what do you have to lose (except perhaps a few pounds) by trying one or more of these techniques? BUT… and that’s a big “but” … you need to commit to doing the technique(s) diligently and try to believe it can help.
- Set Realistic Goals. Setting unrealistic goals is the quickest way to frustration and failure. For example, saying you want to lose 40 pounds in two months will only frustrate you and cause you to abandon any weight loss plan. Instead, create a realistic weight loss goal and timeline. Experts recommend you aim to lose one to two pounds per week.
- Self-Monitor. First, you should monitor your weight. “The scale helps you keep track of your own weight so that you can change behaviors before 1 pound of weight gain becomes 5 or 10,” according to the Cleveland Clinic.
As to how frequently you should weigh yourself, the Clinic says the key is consistency. “It should always be on the same scale, at the same time, and wearing the same thing or without clothes.”
“It’s also important to monitor what you eat. It can help you understand your eating habits and patterns, and help you identify the foods — good and not-so-good — you eat on a regular basis,” Harvard Health Publishing states. “Research shows that for people interested in losing weight, keeping a journal can be a very effective tool to help change behavior. In one weight loss study of nearly 1,700 participants, those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records.”
- Make a Plan. Finally, before you start your diet, make a plan. Determine what keeps you from eating healthy and exercising regularly and have a plan to overcome those obstacles. Decide how you will change negative self-talk, manage stress, and avoid psychological eating. Plan your meals and make sure there are healthy snacks on hand.
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