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Weight Loss

From the effects of the hormone cortisol to the role of genetics in weight loss, this category is packed with everything that you need to know about losing weight the healthy way.

How to Get in the Mindset to Lose Weight

Looking for a long-term weight loss solution? Learn how meeting weight loss goals starts with getting in a healthy, positive mindset.

How to Get in the Mindset to Lose Weight


When it comes to a weight loss mentality, people often wonder how to get in the mindset to lose weight. The right mindset for weight loss has actually been looked into by scientists.

And great news! There is finally a clue to what works and what does not when it comes to a weight loss mindset!

Read on to discover the top tips (backed by science) for getting into a weight loss mentality. 

What Is a Weight Loss Mindset?

Weight loss can be a tricky subject to talk about, and it has often because of the tough thoughts surrounding self-esteem. Comments about weight can sometimes feel like personal attacks. 

The term "weight loss mindset" generally refers to one's thoughts or internal dialogue surrounding the story of their weight. As most people know, the number on the scale is hardly static. It can be a lot for the mind to cope with, especially for those raised with unhealthy patterns surrounding weight. 

Many cultures tie weight to beauty, which can make a balanced personal perspective on body image difficult. Science continues to look into tactics to better understand how a healthy weight loss mindset can intervene. 

The Link Between Healthy Thoughts and a Healthy Weight

A diet of restriction can also lead to restricting thoughts. Some things that happen when the body (and brain) are depleted of nutrients include: 

• Slow metabolism 
• Hormone imbalance
• Increased risk of disordered eating

While the mind may be focused on weight loss, the body sees restriction as a sort of famine. In this case, the body begins to send signals about storing more food and eating more to survive. Many studies show that attempts to starve or restrict eating actually lead to weight gain in the end, instead of weight loss.

Signals of Satiety

The human body works in signals, and the appetite is no exception. Satiety, or that feeling of fullness, can get skewed when one aims to deprive instead of to nourish. 

Even in patients of bariatric surgery, the stigma surrounding weight loss had a lot to do with their success. Studies show that those who do not implement truly balanced and healthier lifestyle habits after surgery usually end up gaining the weight back. 

Intuitive Eating

Research is building to back the practice of intuitive eating. This practice involves listening closely to the body's cues for prompts to eat and understand how to uniquely nourish. 

Intuitive eating has been shown to increase self-esteem and help people feel better about both their food choices and themselves. 

How To Get Into the Mindset to Lose Weight 

While it is not all mind over matter, thanks to genes and environmental factors, a productive, healthy, and positive mindset really does make a difference!

Try the following steps today, one at a time. It may help to deconstruct those negative thoughts that keep making weight loss difficult.

1. Stop the Cycle of Shame 

It is easy to feel a sense of shame, guilt, or loss of confidence after "giving in" to cravings. Instead, challenge those feelings by questioning them. 

Turn that internal narrative around by saying something like, "I'm choosing to nourish my body in a different way today" or "A truly healthy diet is about balance, and I'm allowed to eat treats."

2. Understand Food Has No Moral Value

This is a big one for many people. Food is not "good" or "bad" and actually is just that, food. It is okay to notice how one feels after eating a certain food but do not be too quick to toss it into a category. 

All food gives energy and has a tendency to help sustain the body, at least in the short term. Becoming educated about food choices can make a big difference. Instead of thinking of food as "good" or "bad", ask "How will this food serve my body right now?"

3. Study Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is more deeply tied to eating habits than one would think. Studies suggest that self-esteem can even predict dieting outcomes. To use this powerful tool to one's advantage, try: 

• A food journal to track triggering thoughts
• Self-affirmations in the morning 
• Reframing thoughts to be positive or helpful
• Steps towards self-compassion

Learning to untie food choices from self-worth is important work! 

4. Add Abundance Instead of Looking to Lack

As mentioned above, restriction often encourages, ironically, weight gain. So, instead of thinking about potential losses to foods one loves, find balance in what can be added. 

The following foods can be filling and nourishing additions to the diet that also promote weight loss: 

• Fruits
• Vegetables
• Lean protein (i.e. chicken, turkey)
• Nuts and seeds
• Whole grains

5. Create Coping Skills

As painful as it may be to hear this, failure is inevitable! There will be times when the mind plays tricks, saying "You have fallen off the wagon, AGAIN."

Instead of listening to that negative voice, reframe thoughts of failure as opportunities to learn. The mind will be nourished when looking for areas of improvement rather than restricting to one way of thinking. 

A Final Word on Weight Loss Mentality

Everyone's weight loss journeys will look different. However, mental hurdles can be hard to cross for each individual looking to lose weight! 

Find balance with these simple steps and start feeling an increase in self-esteem again. 

References:

Brassard C. Are There Good and Bad Foods? Team Nutrition. Published April 10, 2021. https://teamnutrition.ca/blog-nutritionniste-dietetiste/are-there-good-and-bad-foods

Dennett C. What does it mean to reject the diet mentality? Nutrition By Carrie. Published November 2021. https://nutritionbycarrie.com/2021/11/reject-the-diet-mentality.html

Frechman R. What a Healthy Weight Loss Plan Really Looks Like. Eat Right. Published April 2021. https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/your-overall-health/what-a-healthy-weight-loss-plan-really-looks-like

Gero D, Hulesch B, Bueter M. Mindset and Communication Barriers in the Diffusion of Bariatric Surgery. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2018;20:38. 

Spears W. Comparing Intuitive Eating to Traditional Weight Loss Approaches. Proceedings of Student Research and Creative Inquiry Day. Published April 2021. https://publish.tntech.edu/index.php/PSRCI/article/view/843

Weight Loss: How to Reset Your Brain for Success. Cleveland Clinic. Published December 30, 2021. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/this-is-your-brain-on-a-diet/.

Sydney Lappe's Photo
Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on November 07, 2012. Updated on January 19, 2022.

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