Most of us have probably tried to lose weight or go on a healthy diet at some point or another, and realize how difficult it is to stay on track. There are so many factors that influence our eating behaviors, such as culture, society, family, personal preferences and finances. One helpful strategy to help you succeed in your weight loss goals is to focus on positive thinking and healthy self-talk.
What does this mean? For starters, employ positive coping self-statements as opposed to self-defeating thoughts. Positive coping self-statements are those that address your feelings and behaviors head-on and focus on healthy change and empowerment. They can help you cope with the inevitable challenges of maintaining a diet. Here are some examples:
“I know that I am eating too much. I need to think about how I can change this behavior.”
“Am I really hungry or is this just a craving? I should wait to see if this feeling passes.”
On the other hand, self-defeating thoughts are self-accusing, hopeless and laced with frustration. They are counter-productive, and might leave you feeling powerless, depressed and unmotivated about your new diet plan. Self-defeating thoughts might sound like these:
“I will never be able to lose weight. I am not cut out for this diet!”
“I did not make it to my target weight. I have failed.”
“I hate my body.”
Here are some ways to approach your weight loss goals and make sure your self-talk stays positive:
- Realize that weight management requires lifestyle changes which will take time. Don’t expect quick results so you are not disappointed when the progress is slow.
- Create a realistic action plan and reward yourself as you meet your set targets. But not with food!
- If you’re cutting down on certain foods, don’t dwell on those. Instead, focus on foods that you enjoy that are still part of your diet.
- Stay connected with your friends and family and let them know about your lifestyle goals so they can support you on your journey.
- Keep track of your lifestyle changes (including your food intake, exercise, emotions and weight measurements). Being accountable will help promote positive behaviors and minimize unhealthy ones.
So if you’re looking to shed some pounds this summer, start your journey by thinking positively!