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The Mental Side of Weight Loss

For some people, struggling to lose weight is a result of insufficient education or misinformation—they simply don’t know what they need to do to achieve a healthy lifestyle. However, many other people who try and fail to lose weight know what they should do, but they consistently have a problem implementing that knowledge. If you know about proper diet and exercise but still haven’t been able to achieve and maintain weight loss, it may be helpful to take a closer look at the psychological obstacles that stand in your way. In other words, what are the thoughts you have that make it difficult for you to lose weight?

Thoughts that Thwart Weight Loss

  1. You can’t lose weight because there is something wrong with you. Do you tell yourself that you’re overweight because of a personal flaw or characteristic? Are you weak? Do you believe that you don’t have enough will power? People who are unsuccessful at losing weight tend to believe that there is an internal reason for their failure, and an external cause for success that they simply haven’t found yet. On the other hand, people who are successful tend to externalize failure and internalize success.
  2. You believe the problems keeping you from losing weight are permanent. You may think that whatever is “wrong with you” is always going to be wrong with you. You’ll never have more will power, for example. However, people who successfully make lifestyle changes that allow them to lose weight view their personal shortcomings as temporary obstacles that can be corrected with education, practice, planning, support, or personal growth.
  3. The things that prevent you from losing weight prevent you from succeeding in every area of your life. If you believe that your lack of will power, for example, is a permanent problem that prevents you from losing weight, you may find confirmation of that belief in other areas of your life. Maybe you set a goal to save money and fail to meet it, and then you remind yourself that it’s because you don’t have enough will power. The problem with this cycle of negative thought is that it can become very difficult to identify behaviors that aren’t working and learn from them so that you can make positive changes.

If these thoughts sound familiar to you, it’s time to change the way you talk to yourself when no one else is listening. Remind yourself of successes you’ve achieved in life. Affirm that you can learn to change old behaviors and create new ones. Taking control of your inner monologue is the first step toward changing your outward appearance.


2 responses to “The Mental Side of Weight Loss”

  1. Michelle C. Avatar
    Michelle C.

    I know we have all seen the SNL skit “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog gonit people like me.” This really is a good examle of positive self talk. You are the only one who controls your thoughts and feelings about yourself. You have all of the power. Choose to have positive feelings about yourself. The more you do it , the easier it becomes.

  2. Positive self talk is so important – I am on the schedule for lap-band surgery 9/30/10 and am in a place where I am really wanting to surround myself with positive. I am cleaning out my office, my bedroom, etc. and not having “junk” laying around – I want to be more conscious of what I am thinking and feeling. I am blessed because I work for the state and am able to have some counseling during the year if needed and I am hoping to use that to help me with my “mental” habits.

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