The Psychology of Weight Loss
To create an effective mindset for losing weight you need to begin the habit of thinking positively.
This means that you must discern the deep-seated motivation behind your desire to lose weight. Of course, all of us want to look better, but the inner desires might include wanting to participate in
sporting or recreational activities or wearing designer clothing, things that you wouldn’t be able to with the extra weight.
Unfortunately, many people draw their motivation for weight reduction from a dissatisfaction with themselves. Although this can initially be a strong incentive, it can also lead to self-sabotage
and self-hatred. So, most weight loss experts suggest that your focus be on how much better your life experience can be if it comes from a place of health and strong self-esteem. Rather than seeing your weight loss as remedy for not accepting yourself, see it as a vehicle to create a new you.
Adopting life-changing behaviors is demanding, therefore, success is more likely if done in small doses. One behavior at a time is preferable. In most cases, you’re setting yourself up for failure by trying to do everything all at once. Simple changes like cutting out dessert one week, then adding exercise the next week, followed by substituting water for soft drinks the next, etc. is an easier way to ensure success.
Support is a Good Thing
The weight loss process will be easier if you don’t go it alone. Whenever you make any kind of huge shift, a support group of some kind is invaluable.
This type of support, whether formal or informal, provides positive feedback and encouragement as well as anchors you into your own commitment. The gym provides an excellent source for this kind of optimistic feedback. Online groups or exercise clubs are great too.
Finally, keep in mind that your body and mind are linked. Both nutrition and exercise have enormous physiological impacts upon you which effect your psychological well being. Both affect the hormones responsible for communicating brain-body messages and regulating metabolism.
Just as ridding yourself of emotional barriers to weight loss makes it easier to eat right and exercise, it is not unusual for people to start feeling more energized, optimistic and motivated overall.
Think About It
1. Have you defined your motivations and values around losing weight? Have your visualized and documented your ideal body and your life as a fit, healthy person?
2. Are you approaching weight loss from a positive perspective (the desire to reach your greatest potential and happiness as a person), or from a negative one (the assumption that you are not “good enough” as you are, and that only by losing weight can you become “okay”?)
3. Are you aware of how certain aspects of your psychology might be playing a role in making or keeping you heavy? What action are you taking to deal with them?
4. Have you developed a clear, realistic, gradual weight-loss plan -- one that guides, encourages and rewards action but that also observes obstacles and adjusts for setbacks? Do you have a support group or guide to help you monitor progress and overcome hurdles?
Here’s to Getting Ahead in Your Head,