8 Essential Mental Steps to Successful Weight LossPosted: July 22, 2019 in Healthy Eating, Lifestyle by Craig Primack MD FACP
If losing weight was as easy as eating less and exercising more, there wouldn’t be a multi-billion dollar industry built around slimming. You need more than those basic truths if you want to see genuine and lasting results.
The mental approach you take to your diet is just as important as the specific plan you follow, and here are eight ways of maximizing your success.
1) Do Your Research
There are many wild and wonderful theories about weight loss to find online. But don’t let yourself get carried away with every new idea that promises amazing results.
Check out the information that’s given on major, trusted websites, and see which tactics, strategies, and diet plans are the most widely recommended. If a self-proclaimed diet guru guarantees miracles from a revolutionary new diet plan, take their claims with a large pinch of salt.
2) Set Achievable Goals
It’s much easier to stick to a diet plan if you set yourself solid, achievable goals. Try to do this in terms of food portion size, the number of calories you consume, or other things you have direct control over.
Even with your best efforts, your rate of weight loss will vary from week to week, so setting pounds dropped as a goal will often lead to disappointment and disillusionment when you inevitably have a bad week.
3) Have a Long-Term Weight Target
Nonetheless, it’s helpful to have a long-term weight target in mind. This lets you visualize your future self and gives you a solid goal to work toward. However, make it a realistic one – you can always set a new, more ambitious target once you’ve achieved your first.
4) Plan Your Menus
It’s important to plan a full week’s meals in advance rather than improvising day by day. Doing this helps in two ways.
First, you’ll never be stuck for something to eat and so grab a pizza or sugary snack out of desperation.
Second, you can be more organized and disciplined when you shop for groceries. If you make and stick to a list, you’ll buy fewer tempting treats in the first place. Removing easy temptation is one of the most effective things you can do to keep your diet plan on track.
5) Keep a Food Diary
You can be even more organized by noting down every morsel of food that passes your lips. You’ll soon see which are the worst regular culprits for unnecessary calorie consumption, and also at which times of day you’re at your weakest.
6) Plan for Cravings
No matter how much self control you have, you’re going to have food cravings and moments of weakness from time to time. Plan a coping strategy in advance, such as carrying sugar-free gum with you to chew on until the feeling passes, or simply counting slowly to ten to increase mindfulness and build resistance.
And if you do falter, don’t let giving in to temptation derail your diet completely. Don’t kid yourself that just because you’ve had a wobble you might as well take the rest of the day off from your diet.
7) Explore Substitutions
Often, you can swap your favorite treats for healthier, more diet-friendly versions. The most obvious example is switching to diet sodas rather than regular ones, but you can also usually find low-fat versions of cookies and other sweet treats.
Making such small changes might not seem important, but every little helps, and allowing yourself an occasional less-damaging treat will help keep you committed and moving in the right direction.
8) Long-Term Motivation
Write down the real reasons you want to lose weight. This doesn’t mean simply ‘I want to be thinner,’ but rather the real-world advantages that being slimmer will bring.
Whether this means fitting into smaller clothes again, feeling more energetic, or making you feel more attractive and confident, you need a compelling and emotionally resonant vision of your future to keep you motivated.
Losing weight is never easy, but it doesn’t need to be an ordeal. If you plan your mental approach with care, you’ll find the difficult moments are less frequent and your long-term success more assured.