If you’re trying to lose weight, then you know how it goes. Sometimes it feels like you will never get the weight off, or like it’s inevitable that it will come back again. To make things worse, there are those people out there who seem to love to destroy your self esteem in the name of motivation.
What is Positive Thinking?
Positive thinking is about believing in yourself and getting into a weight loss mindset. By thinking positively, you can deal with those doubts and stay committed. Of course, it’s not as easy as all of that.
But if you can practice positive thinking, you can anticipate your success, and by anticipating it you bring it closer. You need to expect the best to happen and stay optimistic. If you continually think you are going to fail; then you will fail. The fact is that your body likes to put on weight as a defense mechanism; and if you think negatively you’re triggering its desire to preserve and increase body fat, it’s fear that it’s going to need it later.
How do you Start to Achieve Positive Thinking?
One of the biggest problems with positive thinking is that it’s sometimes natural to feel down. The wrong thing to do is start repeating mantras and lying to yourself; that creates a discordance. It’s commonly suggested, but it doesn’t always work. You need to acknowledge your feelings and then come up with a mantra that changes them.
You also need to accept realistic goals. For example, if one of your negative thoughts is “I can’t give up sweets, it’s too hard” you should respond with “I can cut down on sweets and make them more special treats than an everyday thing.” You may then be able to eventually achieve giving up sweets, or you might reach your goals by having “sweet days.”
The true start is to work out what your negative thoughts are so that you can transform them. Another important thing is not to listen to the Negative Nellies in your life. That starts with not being one of them yourself! You can achieve your goals, but you do have to believe in them.
How do you Sustain Positive Thinking?
Positive thinking has to ultimately be sustainable; and so does your diet. There are some important ways to achieve it, and the two things tend to lock in together. Some things to try:
- Set manageable goals. Don’t expect to lose weight at an unrealistic speed. Manageable goals keep you from being overwhelmed, but they also support positive thinking by giving you something to celebrate and helping you feel as if you are making progress. When you achieve a goal, reward yourself with some small (not food) thing that works for you; an extra episode of that show you’re binge watching, a funny YouTube video, etc.
- Don’t berate or punish yourself for slipping. We all do it. Instead, stay on track and remind yourself that one indulgence is not going to undo all of your progress.
- Throw modesty out the window. It’s not modest to put yourself down. Make a list of all of your accomplishments and whenever you are starting to get down on yourself, look at the list. For some people, it helps to write down physical things they can achieve with their body, and then replace them as you get in shape and your capability improves.
- Don’t be a perfectionist. This relates to not berating yourself, but it also means that you should not be so strict on yourself that you can’t not slip. A sustainable diet is not absolutely nothing you like ever, it’s controlled portions, healthier choices, and learning to enjoy things other than food.
- Use positive affirmations, but make sure they’re personalized. Random motivational posters are just going to create discordance. Say affirmations daily, ideally in the morning before you get up. Constantly remind yourself that you have value at any weight, and that you can achieve your goals.
- Visualize success. Imagine yourself making a healthy choice in a restaurant, completing your workout, or looking the way you want to look in the mirror. Just make sure you see this as an attainable goal, not a “dream.”
- When you have negative thoughts, acknowledge them and then set them aside. You are allowed to have negative thoughts, you just shouldn’t dwell on them.
- Remind yourself why you are losing weight in the first place. If it’s to get back into that dress that used to fit, look at the dress and remind yourself how awesome it is. If your goal is fitness, then remind yourself of the 5k you need to be ready for and why it will be awesome to finish it.
- Surround yourself with positive people who say good things about you. Ignore, avoid, or dump the people who put you down. So-called “fat shaming” is demonstrated to make it harder for us to lose weight, so don’t let people do it to you. Having a weight loss partner who can exchange positive comments and compliments with you can help both of you achieve your goals.
- Avoid reading articles about health problems from being overweight, etc; that can make you feel worse about your weight or your body. We know there are health consequences to carrying extra weight, but it is also detrimental to our health and well-being to dwell on negative thoughts.
Remember that your weight loss needs to be sustainable, which means it needs to be consistent and moderate; and the same goes for your attitude. Weight loss is an important goal for many people; but it’s very easy to fall into a negative cycle of thoughts that then turns into a downward spiral that can become a barrier to weight loss. Positive thinking is a vital part of sustaining your weight loss and fitness goals.