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How to Start a Weight-Loss Program

How to Stay Positive About Weight Loss

What do your thoughts have to do with weight loss? Plenty. We talk to ourselves all the time. We call this silent conversation that we have with ourselves "self-talk." And what we say influences what we do...including whether or not we lose weight.

Self-talk is very powerful. By repeating the same thoughts over and over, the mind actually comes to believe they're true. We tend to act in ways consistent with our deepest internal beliefs. So, frequently, the statements become self-fulfilling. For example, if you tell yourself every day that losing weight is hopeless, eventually you will feel powerless to make changes. Simply put, you can talk yourself into doing something -- such as losing weight -- or talk yourself out of it.

How's your self-talk? Listen to that voice in the back of your head. Is it positive and moving you toward your goals? Or is it destructive and undermining your weight-control efforts? Remember, even negative self-talk can be changed by positive thinking.

Here are a few examples of how you can change your self-talk so that it works for, not against, your weight-control efforts.

Negative Self-Talk
Positive Self-Talk
I'm a hopeless failure. It's been over a week, and I haven't lost a pound.
I may not have lost weight, but I did exercise and plan my meals. If I keep making these small changes, I'll read my goals.
My mother and father are both overweight. I guess I'll always be fat because it's in my genes. My genes aren't my destiny. I know I can lose weight with healthier habits.
It's not fair that I have to eat diet food when everyone else can eat what they want. Lots of people are watching what they eat. I'm not alone in choosing healthful, nutritious foods that my body deserves.
It's time for my daily punishment for being fat. I have to go to the gym. Once I finish exercising, I always feel re-energized and in control.
I have no willpower. Weight loss takes skillpower, not willpower. By identifying my habits, planning ahead, and thinking positively, I can tackle my weight problem.
Life is no fun when I'm on a diet.
I make my own fun through friends and activities. Food is only fuel for my body.

As you can see, positive self-talk is a valuable skill that will enhance your self-image and lower the barriers between you and your goals. While you're learning this skill, write down your self-talk. It will help you to think more objectively about yourself and your weight-loss efforts.

You can also use a diary to record a mental inventory of your successes at the end of each day. What did you do well? Focus on the positive ("I went for a walk three times this week and felt great!"), not on the negative ("I missed walking one day.") And think about how you can make tomorrow better. Be sure to praise yourself for every one of your successes, even if it seems small.

Remember, weight control is much easier if you believe you can do it. Many of us have some doubts about reaching our goals, and this is natural. But by replacing our doubts with positive thoughts, we build belief in ourselves. And that belief can help us achieve our goals.

You cannot suppress the urge to snack even if you are trying to lose weight. You can, however, fight off the urge with another activity. Learn how in the next section.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.