The key to long-term weight loss success may not be the body, but the mind. Research shows that those who have a positive outlook on life are more likely to lose weight long-term.
BY SHARLENE EDWARDS, MPH, RN, CIC, Health & Wellness Coach
Does this sound familiar: Different diets, moderate success from time to time, life stressors, and discontent leading to binge eating and failed weight loss plans? There’s hope for you and others like you who feel as if they’re trapped on the diet carousel with no result and no real change.
The key to long-term weight loss success may not be the body but the mind. Research shows that those with a positive outlook on life are more likely to lose weight long-term. But how can you have a positive outlook when you’ve been burned so many times before? Is it possible to “will your way” to losing weight?
One technique that has been proven effective in sports training is something called visualization. For instance, a baseball player might visualize his bat connecting with a ball, leading to a homerun. A soccer player might imagine kicking the winning goal in a soccer match. And a football play might visualize scoring the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl.
The same technique can be used by those looking to lose weight. Visualize yourself as at your ideal weight. Picture yourself in that dress that is now two sizes too small. Imagine stepping onto the scale and being pleased with the result. Visualize yourself saying “no” to that piece of chocolate cake or that plate of Fettuccine Alfredo. These mind exercises can help to spur you onto weight loss.
When people learn they have cancer, they are encouraged to imagine their cancer cells being destroyed by healthy cells. You can follow the same technique to lose weight. That means imagining your fat cells being destroyed by thin cells. You can “think your way” to a healthy weight through such a method.
In addition, it is critically important that you maintain a positive attitude. Be forgiving of yourself. If you get off your plan, simply get back on course with your next meal. Don’t spend precious time “beating yourself up” over your failures. Instead, celebrate your successes.
For instance, when you reach a milestone — say you’ve lost 10 pounds — reward yourself with a trip to your favorite store or your favorite coffee shop. Marking milestones will give you a sense of accomplishment and that you are triumphing over food.
Another helpful technique can be prayer or meditation. Some support groups even offer Bible-based weight loss programs that use scripture verses to help inspire. Taking stock of your life and handing your weight loss problems over to a higher power can be releasing and may give you a sense of peace about your weight difficulties.
It has been said that a clear head leads to a healthy body. Try praying or meditating ten minutes at the start of your day. Chances are, you will feel refreshed and ready to tackle the weight challenges that come your way.
Mind over matter is not just a clever saying; it can actually be the solution to your weight loss problems. Using your brainpower can develop the techniques needed to make healthy food choices. When your mind and body are healthy, you have the best of both worlds.
Sharlene Edwards, aka Nurse Shar, is a public health practitioner and community advocate with a master’s degree in public health epidemiology. For more blog posts, visit www.mybetterlivingllc.com.