Psychological Approach to Lose Weight for Good

Psychological Approach to Lose Weight for Good

Tired of unsuccessful diets to lose weight? Do you gain all the pounds you have lost because you have started eating normally? Learn to take charge of your life and shed those extra pounds for good.

More than 80% of people who have lost pounds gain them all back within two years, according to a study from American Psychologist on eating disorders. And while running can be a good motivator to maintain a toned body or reach your target weight, why is it so difficult to be consistent and stay on track? The key to permanent weight loss begins and finishes with changing your mindset, not your body weight. Here are great tips on how to bite down on changing your mindset and kicking old habits. They have helped thousands of people to lose weight for good.

foods rich in vitamin D
Identify your eating habits and determine what you should change.

1 Take a look at your current diet and determine realistic areas for change

We are so different and there’s no universal way to success. Some people will be more at home with sharing their goals while others will want to go under the radar. Both strategies, however, are nothing without planning. You need to do your own research and determine realistic areas for change. Ask yourself: what do I actually eat? Do I really know what are the components of a healthy diet? What can or can’t I live without? Do I have a balanced diet but too big portions? Or do I need to change every aspect of my diet? Different studies suggest people have evolved to eat what is in front of them no matter how full they feel. Reducing portion size and waiting 20 minutes after finishing your meal will create the same ‘full’ response.

tricpes press
Decide and start doing.

2 Take that first step

First, it’s important that you determine for yourself why you want to change anything. Motivation for the majority of us is initially superficial, so we need to strengthen it. Identify what pain will stay or worsen if you don’t achieve success. It’s important to use pain (not just pleasure) as your lever.

Make being successful a must not a should. ‘Shoulds’ usually don’t get done so if you hear yourself saying: “I really should go for a run tomorrow morning,” there’s a great chance that you won’t go. Instead, say to yourself: “I definitely must go for a run tomorrow morning because I can’t miss it and I don’t have time in the afternoon. And if I miss my run I won’t hit my target weight and that leads to feeling frumpy, depressed, acting as a poor role model to my children, letting myself down…” You probably got the point. Promise to yourself you’ll become more serious.

Getting into regular exercise often has barriers. You enter a gym and you don’t know what to do or you join a running club and you don’t know anyone. But remember that everyone has to start somewhere and the majority of people at gyms and clubs are not elite athletes: they are ordinary people who had the same fears and doubts in the beginning as you do. Remind yourself that gyms and clubs wouldn’t function without new clientele – they cater for everyone!

woman exercising
Start slow to adapt your body to lifestyle changes.

3 Start slow to build consistency

To get and stay motivated you have to understand your past and your present so you can better influence your future. This includes recognizing thinking patterns and feelings and actions that have worked for and against you. If you have learned that your mind works against you in the evenings or on weekends, make specific strategies to target these danger times, rather than relying on general strategies. Consider joining a running club because it gives you social support. Having fun during your runs also helps combat the cortisol. So join a running club and run with people of a similar ability and enjoy it.

For some people, lifestyle changes are a challenge they thrive on and never lose their motivation. However, for the majority of people, it’s much more difficult than that. The first to fall off the wagon are those who dive in too deep to start and forget to remind themselves regularly why they are dropping pounds. People who are able to change their lifestyle while remaining happy are the ones who ultimately succeed. They have regular goals and aren’t afraid to celebrate them, and they can rationalize their commitment. They swap the old things that made them “happy but heavy” with things that keep them happy and support their new lifestyle.

greek yoghurt
Decide for healthy meals because you want your body only the best.

4 See “dieting” in a new light

The word “diet” makes many people worried because it’s associated with sacrifice and eating very little. But what diet actually means is “the kinds of food that a person regularly eats.” If somebody starts a diet, they should be able to commit to it forever – it’s a sustainable lifestyle change. When this is realized, the fear connected with the “loss” of food gets smaller and it becomes a much more realistic prospect. This also means that when someone reaches their target weight, they can continue with their diet without feeling the desire or need to start eating too much again. It’s exactly the same with workout. We all should exercise regularly to maintain good physical health and a healthy lifestyle. This means making a lifetime commitment and not the quick fix approach. Expect to see a change that’s equal to the effort put in to create it. It’s the dietary equivalent of Newton’s Third Law. In other words, there’s no quick fix and you have to work hard for success.

middle aged woman with a towel
Set a realistic goal and when you reach it, celebrate.

5 Set organic and realistic goals

There are two types of goals, action-oriented and outcome-oriented. Outcome goals give a sense of direction, for instance, lose 3 pounds in a month. Action goals are more powerful and drive your daily behavior because they relate to actions you can take today or tomorrow, or this week. For instance, reduce your carbohydrate intake to only 100g per day for four of the next five days. Establish daily action goals and make them must dos not should dos, and results will follow.

And don’t forget on rewards. So when you achieve specific milestones, reward yourself. And keep in mind the 80/20 rule from the start, meaning be good 80% of the time and allow 20% of the time to be human. This will ensure sustainability.

The changes you make in your attitude to diet and exercise will also have a greater effect on your physical and mental health. Steady blood sugar levels, the hormonal changes and positive body image, which result from being healthier, should suffice to encourage people who start out just wanting to drop pounds to maintain their change. The problem for some people is the plateau when they reach their goals – they don’t know where to go from there. The answer is simple: we should constantly move the goals and challenge ourselves to improve. There are opportunities everywhere to participate in events or start something new. If you started cycling or jogging to shed pounds, try to beat your times or improve your form. If the “new” you is invigorated enough, consider taking a judo or yoga class, joining a netball team or entering a triathlon. Weight loss is a very personal thing which results in changes in many facets of your life – it’s not just about physical development; it’s a very much a mental journey, too.

Use strong visualizations of what you want to achieve. This can be jeans you want to wear again or a vision board with words that relate to how you will feel once you achieve your goals.

woman exercising
Stay motivated.

3 TIPS TO MAINTAIN MOTIVATION

There are three important factors to maintaining motivation. You need to:

1 Increase your awareness about what you really want, the pain of not getting what you want, and the patterns you follow. So concentrate on how you have been thinking and feeling, and consequently doing. This awareness gives you power to do something about it.

2 Increase accountability. This means your decision to change must not stay in your head, but must be on paper and discussed with others to make it real. When a real decision is reached it’s followed by immediate, massive action. So, if you hear yourself say: This is it. Next week I’ll start! – you haven’t really decided!

3 Identify and remove all interference. This includes limiting self-sabotaging beliefs, patterns of past behaviors and sometimes environmental and social influence – determine who and what holds you back and address these areas.

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State control is essential

You can’t drop pounds in a stressed state, so control your stress hormone, cortisol, and learn some simple relaxation techniques to go hand-in-hand with your workout. The secret combination is exercise, nutrition and emotions! Work out to improve your metabolism and burn calories, nutrition to ensure you eat in a way to control insulin and allow fat metabolism, and emotions to regulate essential hormones of fat loss, namely cortisol in terms of stress.

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Establish realistic targets

The easiest and most effective way to lose weight is a slow, steady and permanent change to lifestyle, which is motivated by realistic and pertinent goals. Note that it says lifestyle, not diet. Because someone who truly desires weight loss will also desire a change to how they see themselves and their lives. If they think they can continue to do the things they did before but also lose weight, they’re not grasping the concept that change in lifestyle is needed to change appearance.

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Written by Camille Bennett

Camille Bennett is our nutrition expert interested in fitness diet and doesn’t run out of delicious ideas for healthy and nutritional meals.

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