It’s not exactly a secret that diet and exercise are key when it comes to weight loss, but don’t overlook the hidden powers of your mind! There are six mental strategies to help you reach your weight-loss goals.
6 Mental Strategies for Weight Loss
Refuse to Get Discouraged
First, be aggressively patient with yourself! Say it’s week one of your weight-loss plan and you’re off to a great start. You’re eating healthy meals, you’ve cut out desserts, and you’re working out daily. The end of the week comes, and the scale shows a 1-pound drop. Same story the following week.
Don’t listen to that little voice telling you it’s hopeless. Tell that voice to take a hike (and maybe take one yourself!). One of the best things you can do for long-term weight loss is to be satisfied with your pace and not let it throw you off your game. If you’re sticking to a smart diet and exercise plan, you will succeed.
Make Yourself Accountable
Tell your family, friends, and coworkers about your weight-loss goals and ask for their support. Then check in on Facebook each time you go to the gym, and let your support system know each time you hit a goal. It’ll make you feel accountable to someone aside from yourself. A 2014 study found that being accountable to someone else and receiving support is a great motivator for women who are trying to lose or maintain weight. Makes sense!
Don’t Worship the Scale
Although it’s a symbol of dieting, the scale can be your worst enemy if you give it too much power. Daily fluctuations are common and often have little to do with actual weight loss. Weighing in every single morning can be a real mind game, affecting your attitude and food choices for the entire day.
Instead, weigh yourself once a week. Do it the same time of day each time and in similar clothes (or no clothes at all!). And remember, the numbers on the scale don’t tell the whole story. It’s entirely possible that your body is getting stronger or losing inches even if it’s not shedding pounds every week. Pay attention to how your clothes fit, your overall appearance, and, of course, how you feel.
And if the weeks are going on and the number still isn’t budging, make sure that you’re not making common mistakes that prevent weight loss.
Set Small Goals
If you’re trying to lose weight, you probably have an ultimate goal in mind. It’s great to have a target but it’s also important to set small, manageable goals throughout the process. If your aim is to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year, first focus on losing five pounds by next month. If you want to be a size six, start with dropping one size. If your goal is to give up your 3-cups-a-day soda habit, begin by cutting back to one daily cup. Setting smaller goals will help you recognize your progress and keep you motivated, and they’ll eventually add up to your ultimate goal!
It’s all about positive reinforcement, people! Every time you meet one of those small goals, give yourself a little reward. But don’t defeat the purpose by celebrating with half a pizza and a hot fudge sundae! Stick with non-food-based rewards. Treat yourself to a new pair of pants once you hit that smaller size. Or reward yourself with an at-home spa day, complete with a DIY facial and guilty-pleasure magazine reading. Whatever floats your boat…
How about rewarding yourself with a super-cute refillable water bottle? It’s handy and an easy way to increase your water intake.
Use Your Writing Skills
Last but definitely not least, it’s important to check in with yourself on a regular basis. At the beginning of the week, make a list of the meals and snacks you plan to have. Then use that as a checklist, and make sure your kitchen’s stocked accordingly. It’s easier to make healthy choices if you have a bowl of delicious fruit sitting on the counter and that list is what’ll get it there! Then, each day, write down everything you’re planning to eat and everything you do eat. Be honest, and write down everything. This will keep you accountable to yourself, and reviewing your lists will help you identify any recurring problem foods.