Positive thinking plays a significant role in your weight loss efforts. Perpetual negative thoughts can lead to self-defeating behaviors such as going off your diet, overeating and skipping your exercise routine. Positive thoughts, on the other hand, can increase your motivation and energy level.
Positive Thinking and Weight Loss
Positive thoughts are empowering. A negative attitude can set processes in motion that makes losing weight difficult, if not impossible. Berating yourself every time you eat the wrong foods, constantly focusing on what you cannot eat and approaching your exercise regimen with dread are all ways that negative thought patterns can sabotage your weight loss efforts.
When you hold a negative image of yourself, you rob yourself of much-needed energy. When feeling powerless, depressed or unmotivated, it’s easy to skip your daily workout or eat a bag of potato chips to feel better. However, tuning into how you feel, acknowledging those feelings and transforming those thoughts into something more positive can actually help you to achieve your weight loss goals faster.
Strategies for Increasing Positive Thinking
A common response to those who tell you to think more positively is often: “I feel what I feel. I can’t help how I feel.” Positive thinking is only effective if it is in alignment with your true feelings. If you sincerely feel down about your body weight, telling yourself that everything is okay will often create internal discord.
The trick is to tap into those feelings that ring true for you. For example, keep a daily journal in which you write down your negative thoughts and feelings. If you feel you are lacking in willpower or just can’t overcome your cravings, write those thoughts down. When you acknowledge the darker emotions, they often tend to have less power over you.
It is important to then make a conscious effort to transform your thoughts. It may be true that you often cannot overcome your food cravings or stick to your diet. However, if there are times when you are able to stand strong, then focus on those moments and celebrate the triumphs. Maybe you put less sugar in your coffee today and said no to a second slice of pizza. Giving attention to the positive things will help to create greater self esteem and motivation to continue with your weight loss efforts.
Positive Thinking and Setting Manageable Goals
One of the ways that a negative attitude can prevail during dieting is if you have set unreasonable goals for yourself. Trying to exist on an extremely low-calorie diet or setting your weekly weight loss goal at an unattainable number often sets you up for failure.
To increase weight loss success, set achievable goals. Losing one or two pounds per week is a reasonable goal and can generally be achieved without extreme measures. Weigh yourself weekly; every week that you reach your goal, acknowledge your success. This will perpetuate positive thinking. Before long, you’ll find that your motivation and energy have increased, and the pounds are coming off.
The Excuse Buster: With almost every weight loss attempt, there is an underlying sense of “walking on eggshells”. Have you ever felt like you must do everything exactly right or be doomed to failure? Have you ever worried that “this time” would end up being like all the rest of the times you’ve tried to lose weight and couldn’t stick to it?
This line of thought stems from fear and it is more destructive than you can imagine. Why? Because the more you fear or worry about something, you are more likely to act in ways that perpetuate it. For example, if you fear that one wrong move will ruin your diet completely, what do you think will happen if you do slip up and eat a food that is not on your plan? Most likely you’ll conclude that you have failed and throw in the towel. Underlying this fear of failure is the belief that you will fail no matter how hard you try to succeed.
Don’t allow fear-based thinking to destroy your attempts to create a better life. Begin today by expecting success with your healthy habits and everything else you want in life. Learn to see minor slip-ups as learning experiences. Analyze them and understand why they happened, and come up with ways to prevent them from happening again. Develop a better awareness of your own strengths and weaknesses, and strive to improve in all areas – not from an unrealistic expectation of perfection, but from a desire to do the very best you can in everything you do.
Start each day with a positive expectation of success. Believe you are already successful, and you are becoming more successful every day. Just like fearing failure makes it more likely to happen, expecting success make it much more likely to happen. You just have to choose which one you will give most of your focus to.
IÂ used to be the queen of excuses when it came to weight loss. â€śIâ€™m big boned.â€ť Iâ€™d say. â€śJust look at my rib cage. Iâ€™m thick.â€ť I remember uttering those exact words to a friend in the midst of my yo-yo dieting cycle of hell and fat talk era. Itâ€™s true, I am not petite by any means, but that didnâ€™t really account for the extra 30 pounds I was carrying around, and then the 20 more I gained. At that time I needed to latch onto an excuse. It was easier than changing my bad habits and admitting the truth: I ate too much and I moved too little. Now, Iâ€™m not saying that is necessarily true for others who arenâ€™t svelte according to societyâ€™s standards. Lord knows there is a gradient of healthy body sizes, all of which we do not see in traditional media on a regular basis. Beauty has been defined for us as tall, slender, cellulite-free and pretty much underweight. That image of the â€śperfectâ€ť female form is an illusion, and I think we all know it, yet itâ€™s what drives so many of us to continue the yo-yo dieting cycle of hell. Now, if we throw the image of the â€śperfectâ€ť body out of our minds and stop the pursuit of a particular body shape (and even to some extent a specific number on the scale), what is stopping us from eating a bit consciously and moving a little more? Iâ€™m convinced that feeling bad about our bodies is on top of the list of things that keep us from losing weight. Itâ€™s the root factor that drives people to look for other excuses not to be a bit more responsible with their food choices and take an active role in their overall health. The following are 10 excuses I have used (or have heard others use) to explain why weight loss is impossible when really, I think, it comes down to a bad body image. 10. Eating healthy is too expensive. I donâ€™t buy it (pun intended). Sure, eating organic can cost you an arm and a leg, but there are many other choices. It may be the harder choice to skip the fast-food dollar menu but as a good friend of mine said on Facebook recently â€¦ 1. Two bananas 2. Six eggs 3. 1/2 pound brown rice 4. An avocado 5. 1 pound dry black beans 6. An apple 7. A bag of frozen vegetables All are either under or around a dollar. There are other options than the dollar menu at fast food restaurants. And if you really, REALLY want the fast food, there is nothing stopping you from making a better choice there as well. I once wrote a post about how to eat cheap and light at McDonaldâ€™s. It is possible. I do it all the time.
9. I donâ€™t have any time. No one has time. No one. We all work, have families and homes to clean. We all only get 24 hours a day. We all make time for the things that are important to us. I wrote a post last year about this. Instead of saying â€śI donâ€™t have time to eat healthyâ€ť say â€śeating healthy is not my priorityâ€ť and see how that sits with you.
8. Itâ€™s too hard. Yes it is hard. Iâ€™m not going to lie. So are things like going to school and working and raising kids. Life is hard. I woke up at 5:25 this morning so I can get to the gym because it was the only time I had today. I have chicken legs cooking in the Crock Pot right now because I know I wonâ€™t have time to make dinner before the 8-year-oldâ€™s Scout meeting. Would it have been easier to skip the gym and hit a drive-through on our way there? I guess, but Iâ€™ve made it a priority to work out and cook more meals at home â€“see No. 9 above.
7. If I just look at a brownie I gain 5 pounds. This is one of my favorites because Iâ€™ve used it hundreds of times. The truth is I had no self control around brownies because I was stuck in a cycle of deprivation and binging. I had to learn that the brownie (or whatever) had no power over me. Iâ€™m not cursed with some miraculously slow metabolism that absorbs calories through my eyeballs. I just had to learn the brownie isnâ€™t worth it. And if it is, then I my next meal should be a little lighter.
6. I donâ€™t know how to start. Yes you do. Just make your next choice a better one. Donâ€™t think todayâ€™s going to be your last day eating junk because youâ€™ll be perfect starting tomorrow. There are no â€ślast mealsâ€ť unless youâ€™re on death row. (Are you on death row? I didnâ€™t think so.) Stop using the â€śI donâ€™t now how to startâ€ť excuse and order a darn salad for lunch.
5. I have no willpower. Again, I donâ€™t buy it. Itâ€™s not about willpower. It comes down to a state of mind. I will bet there have been times you had willpower. You said no to that office cookie. You made it to the gym when you didnâ€™t want to go. What was different then? Iâ€™m going to bet it was Jan, 1 or the day you decided you were going to start some new diet. You had that motivated state of mind and you can get it back; it just takes some work and confidence. Stop saying you have no willpower and making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
4. No one supports me. Let me guess, your spouse eats a lot of junk food. He/she doesnâ€™t want to lose weight. They like being lazy. Welcome to my world. You canâ€™t wait for anyone else to make these kind of changes for yourself. If you arenâ€™t getting the support at home, reach out online. If you donâ€™t like social media, find a group at your gym. There is support out there; you just need to take the first step and find it.
3. I donâ€™t like exercise. Again. Do. Not. Buy. It. Sure, maybe you donâ€™t like the gym â€” I can understand that. I hated the gym until a few years ago. Maybe you donâ€™t like running. OK, I get it. I wasnâ€™t always a runner either. Hereâ€™s the thing: exercise doesnâ€™t mean you HAVE to go to some gym to pick things up and put them down. It doesnâ€™t mean you have to suffer through a step class if it isnâ€™t your thing. It means you MOVE YOUR BODY. Iâ€™m guessing you are a human being and therefore your body likes to move. I donâ€™t care what you say â€” your body craves exercise, all you need to do is find the activities you like. Really have no idea? Start with walking and go from there.
2. I love to eat. Really? ME, TOO! Nice to meet you. Can we be friends? Seriously though, there arenâ€™t too many people I know who donâ€™t like to eat. What do you love to eat and why? I know for me, when I grab a bag of Doritos out of the pantry or order an entire pizza for myself itâ€™s not a love of food driving those decisions.
1. Why bother? Iâ€™m just going to gain it back. NOOOO! Thatâ€™s because you are thinking of this as a diet. ITâ€™S NOT A DIET. Stop thinking that way and continuing the on-plan/off-plan mentality. Make conscious food choices, move a little more and accept the fact that you will probably never look like an airbrushed Victoriaâ€™s Secret model. Then whatever weight you do lose will be permanent and you can break out of the yo-yo dieting cycle of hell for good. Disclaimer:
*This post isnâ€™t written to shame anyone into losing weight. Iâ€™m specifically talking to those who want to and are currently stuck in the yo-yo dieting cycle of hell. Iâ€™ve been there. It sucks.*