Half the battle of losing weight is about being in the right frame of mind. It’s not just about eating less and moving more—it’s about shifting the way you think. After all, if you think differently, you’ll act differently.
For skills and techniques that help you make a mental shift, strengthen your resilience, stay motivated, make better choices, and keep going when the going gets tough, read on.
1. Identifying your thoughts
We all have thousands of thoughts a day, which is why it’s easy to develop an extreme thinking style that can cause us to undermine our progress with weight loss.
The good news? Recognizing — and revising — your thinking can make you more likely to succeed.1 Identifying your thoughts and working to shift them from unhelpful to helpful can boost your resilience, empower you to feel more sure of yourself, and even improve your mood.2 That’s a win-win, followed by more wins!
2. Being self-compassionate
Are your friends perfect? (No, right?) When they fall down, you pick them back up. Give yourself the same permission to be imperfect — just like every other human being. Self-compassion is a balance: You cut yourself slack when you slip up or if things don’t go your way — while still being accountable for your actions.
How does it help? Studies show that when you take your successes and failures in stride, you may find that you’re less afraid of failure and more satisfied with life.3 People who practice self-compassion are more likely to eat well, exercise, and take good care of themselves, even when stressed.4 They’re also better able to maintain their weight loss.5
3. Embracing happiness and doing more of what you love
Find joy by doing what you like to do. The more specific you can be about your plans, the more likely they’ll come to pass — and put a smile on your face. Start with the what, when, where, and who method to get started.
You can also measure happiness by doing things like paying attention to your surroundings more, writing down the things you loved about the day, and performing random acts of kindness. Just try it!
4. Living mindfully
“Be here now.” It’s not just a new-age slogan. A growing body of evidence suggests that paying attention to the present without
judgment can help you feel more optimistic, have higher self-esteem, and have happier relationships, all of which will enhance your life — and help your weight loss.6,7
1 Phillips WJ, et al. Thinking Styles and Decision Making: A Meta-Analysis. Psychol Bull. 2016;142(3):260–290.
2 Beck, Aaron T. Cognitive Therapy and Emotional Disorders. New York: New American Library. 1976.
3 Neff KD, Kirkpatrick KL, Rude SS. An examination of self-compassion in relation to positive psychological functioning and personality traits. Journal of Research in Personality. 2007;41:908-916.
4 Terry ML, et al. Self-compassionate reactions to health threats. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 2013;39(7):911-926.
5Mantzios M, Wilson JC. Exploring mindfulness and mindfulness with self-compassion-centered interventions to assist weight loss: Theoretical considerations and preliminary results of a randomized pilot study. Mindfulness. 2014 Jul 24;1-12.
6 Davis DM, Hayes JA. What are the benefits of mindfulness? A practice review of psychotherapy-related research. Psychotherapy. 2011;48(2):198-208.
7 Keng SL, et al. Effects of mindfulness on psychological health: a review of empirical studies. Clin Psychol Rev. 2011;31:1041-1056.
Do these sound like skills you could use help with? Click below to get started with Weight Watchers!