It is no secret that losing weight requires dietary and lifestyle changes that help you create and sustain a calorie deficit. That said, there is an adage that we are who we think. This saying has been projected onto the weight loss concept, with several studies confirming that some mental obstacles do hinder effective weight loss. This also means that training your mind can maximize weight loss results. So how do you go about it? The following discusses simple mind imagery techniques that foster mental preparation for weight loss. Check it out!
Is Mental Preparation For Weight Loss A Thing?
Yes, it is. Because most weight loss guides focus on dietary, exercise, and lifestyle changes, you may have disregarded the effect of mental preparation for weight loss. Please note though, its impact is significant. You can find that going on a weight loss journey often may start with attending a counseling program.
In this program, people are asked to dig deep into their lives to identify their core motivation for their desiring to change. If not by this program, some may just call on themselves for a meeting and jot down their intention and motivation for embarking on a weight loss journey.
Believe it or not, this crucial first step signifies mental preparation for weight loss. According to Medical News Today, the simple yet highly overlooked step helps you visualize yourself after the journey, an action which trains your mind for the coming activities (4). So, yes, training your mind for weight loss is real.
7 Mindset Changes For lasting Weight Loss
Having a weight loss mindset is only half the equation. You need to equip yourself mentally with long-term weight loss tricks. Below are 7 psychological tricks to lose weight and keep it at bay for the long haul:
Have Realistic Expectations
One of the most significant obstacles to weight loss is wanting to shed weight too fast or, better yet, having unrealistic expectations. Blame it on celebrities who impact their audience with the notion that you can drop many pounds in a week or month.
Now you must understand that patience is vital if you are to keep the weight at bay for the long haul. It is okay to want immediate results, but that is not a healthy approach to weight loss. The Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) recommends losing only 1 to 2 pounds in a week (3).
We understand that you may want to lose 10 pounds a week, but unfortunately, such a rapid weight loss approach is unhealthy. In addition, at that rate you often lose water and lean tissue instead of fat (2).
WebMD reveals that weight loss becomes ten times more complicated when you lose lean tissue because then your metabolism slows down (2). So, set realistic expectations, for instance, a target to lose 1 pound a week, emphasizing exercise and a good diet. You will get the best long-term results when you set realistic expectations and are patient.
Set Small Achievable Goals
Unfortunately, because most of us want to lose weight fast we tend to set unrealistic weight-loss goals. A good example is a target to lose 10 pounds in one week. Not only is this goal unrealistic, but it is also overwhelming.
For example, you may turn to advertised weight loss pills that eventually turn out to be the bane of your life. Remember that these advertising companies may only want to market their products for a profit and not promote weight loss.
That said, avoid this pressure of dropping a size down a week by setting small and manageable goals that bring you closer to long-term weight loss (1). For example, set a goal to exercise four days a week for the next one month. The goal is realistic because it helps you burn extra calories and may help maintain a calorie deficit for weight loss.
Make A Commitment
Weight loss is a long-term commitment that requires focus, motivation, energy, and dedication (1). There may be quick fixes, but these will not keep the weight off long-term. The best thing you could do is be 100% committed to your weight loss journey.
Commitment cannot be instilled. Instead, it has to be developed internally. You are the only person who can decide whether or not you will be committed. Yes, you will run into problems, fall into temptations, and even forget to exercise or do the right thing now and then. But with commitment, you will always bounce back up. So, dig deep to determine your source of motivation because it makes you adopt positive behaviors that keep you on track.
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Have A Support System
A weight-loss journey can be overwhelming, nerve-wracking, and daunting, so we all need support. A great support system comes in handy, especially during tough times. It will encourage you to overcome the obstacles and even support you where you struggle (2).
For instance, some friends may join an exercise class to support you if exercise is not your thing. So, find a family member, friend, or colleague who you can connect with on matters about your weight loss journey. Besides support, you may also benefit from advice and tips that help make your weight loss journey more manageable.
Accountability is fundamental in any weight loss program. Unfortunately, it is sadly lacking because the only way to be accountable is to instill a responsibility mindset, which most people haven’t got. So, first work on being accountable for your actions. This prevents excuse-making for behaviors that may jeopardize your weight loss efforts, such as binge eating (2).
Once you develop accountability, you will recognize that some values come automatically. For example, when you are accountable, you track everything to validate that it is working to attain your end goal. Likewise, commitment comes easy when you have accountability and responsibility.
Always appreciate yourself whenever you accomplish the small goals you set. It is an excellent way of maintaining your mental and emotional well-being during your weight loss journey (2). The reward does not have to be food-oriented. It could be something you love or enjoy, such as a pair of shoes or a massage.
The idea is to help you feel good about your accomplishments and keep on track because the mini-goals lead to the overall weight loss goal. Similarly the rewards enhance motivation, making you more motivated to be healthier and lose weight.
Work With A Plan
One of the best ways of getting things done entails planning. Planning keeps you ready and aware of what is required of you and when. Likewise, it keeps your mind aware of the upcoming activities, making you equipped for the battle.
You also quickly adopt weight loss strategies such as exercising and fasting when using a detailed weight loss plan. This even makes you ditch old unhealthy habits that can compromise your weight loss efforts, such as unhealthy eating habits (2).
You can break down your plan into a weight loss meal or workout plan. Please note, these plans can be tough to design, so it would be best to recruit the help of a professional such as a dietitian and a trainer.
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The Bottom Line
Mental preparation for weight loss is a crucial component that is unfortunately overlooked. Yet, it is viewed as the backbone of physical preparation because without the right mindset, you will give up on your weight loss journey.
Some strategies that will help you develop the right mindset and stay mentally strong are setting realistic goals and small achievable mini-goals. In addition to these, find a support system, be accountable for your actions, celebrate small wins and work with a plan. All the best!
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- “It is not the diet; it is the mental part we need help with.” A multilevel analysis of psychological, emotional, and social well-being in obesity (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- 8 Ways to Think Thin (2007, webmd.com)
- Healthy Weight (2021, cdc.gov)
- Lose 5 times more weight by training your mind (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)