Track your weight
Weight Loss Mindset
There are two sides to any weight loss journey: the physical side and the mental side.
On the physical side, you need to understand calories, exercise and diet; work out, eat right and change your lifestyle. On the mental side, you must adopt a weight loss mindset that keeps you focused, committed and positive about the tasks and goals that lie ahead.
Is losing weight a mental thing? We’ll seek to answer this question and more as we look into the psychology of weight loss motivation and offer up some top tips and strategies for helping lose weight with the power of the mind…
1. Plot and track your journey
How we interpret things is generally dominated by visual perception1 and that can sometimes be a flawed way of assessment.1 That’s how it’s possible to lose weight and not notice. Or even think you’re putting on weight. This is, obviously, something to be avoided.
If you track your weight and keep an accurate diary of your exercise and diet, you’ll create a tangible record of your progress and discover what works for you and what doesn’t. You’re creating data and informing yourself. It’s future proofing and it’s smart.
2. Weight loss psychology
To break free from instilled bad habits, it takes a change of mindset. Does mindset affect weight loss? Of course. In fact, it could be key. One way to help achieve a weight loss goal is by picturing yourself as slimmer and healthier.
Take some moments for quiet thought. Imagine yourself looking slimmer and feeling better. Get a clear picture of it. Focus on the advantages you’ll be able to experience and benefit from. This is visualisation, a psychological technique proven to help people achieve goals and targets.2 Effectively, you’re more likely to succeed if you picture success before undertaking a task.2
3. Formulate a detailed plan of action
In order to fully immerse yourself in the mindset of a person that is determined to lose weight, you need to undertake one or two administrative tasks.
Not only does planning your meals and workouts make practical sense, but it’s also excellent brain training. You’re telling your psyche that you will eat well and you will exercise. You’re taking concepts and ideas and grounding them in reality.
4. Try to nurture a support group
Very often people attempting to change their eating and exercising habits discover that their weight loss and mental health are linked. One may inform the other; sometimes it can work both ways. So it’s important to surround yourself with understanding and caring people who are prepared to help you should you need it.
Studies have shown that people with strong and reliable social support groups are much more capable of dealing with any form of mental health issue.3
It’s important to seek support from those able and willing to give it. However, research has also shown that asking for help from friends, family or colleagues who are not understanding or prepared to assist can actually prove counterproductive.4
5. Set yourself small ‘sub-goals’
You have an overall target, of course. It’s to lose weight. You should have a weight goal in mind; that helps. What’s also useful is dividing your major target up into smaller little targets or sub-goals.
Change can be difficult when it’s seen as a daunting or intimidating task. By attacking your goal in stages, you make the completion of it far more achievable. There’s a real science behind goal setting5 and understanding and adopting it can really help you get into the weight loss mindset.
6. Set goals and reward yourself when you achieve them
Regular and realistic goal setting is important for adopting a positive and proactive attitude. Part of the reason they work is that our psyches strive for rewards, a little pat on the back. We can do so with our own little systems.
“If I lose three pounds this week, I’ll buy myself that jacket I saw.”
“If I hit the gym four times by next Saturday, I’ll get tickets to that gig.”
Those kinds of things.
7. Allow slip-ups and forgive yourself
Your weight loss journey will not be a glitch-free easing into slimness. There’ll be challenges, slip-ups and failures along the way. That’s why you need that strong mindset. It’s not about completely avoiding the misfires or errors; it’s about recovering from them.
If you have a slip, don’t give up. Understand why it happened, forgive yourself and pick back up where you left off.
8. Be patient – it’s a marathon, not a sprint
Expecting too much too soon is a surefire path to disappointment and wanting to quit. Before you begin, take a second to realise and come to terms with the fact that weight loss is a process; it’s a journey. One which may take some time.
Even if you’re strict and vigilant, you may only lose one or two pounds a week. Weight, sex, age, metabolism, genetics… There are lots of factors involved.6 Embrace the fact that it won’t be instant gratification and focus on your long-term target. This is a true weight-loss ethos.