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The Mental Complexities of Trying to Lose Weight and How to Harness Them for Good

The power of the mind can’t be underestimated – research is continually proving the link between how we think and how we behave: our thoughts really can have a profound influence on how we see ourselves and how we set goals and strive to meet them.

Use this innate power to your advantage by using the tips and hacks below to support you on your weight loss journey and make long-term, sustainable changes to your routines for a happier, healthier life.

Letting Go of Limiting Beliefs

This is a big one for many people concerning different aspects of their life, and it’s linked to the sort of self-sabotaging actions that can lead to a string of failed diets and, subsequently, a lack of motivation and damaged self-esteem.

Start by taking some time to quietly reflect; it can help to journal this process as, often, writing down our thoughts can help to clarify them or bring them into the light for inspection. Perhaps you believe, deep down, that you don’t have the willpower to lose weight. Maybe, subconsciously, you are wary about making such a big change to your life and are thinking about how your relationships with the other people in your world may change as a result of a successful diet. You could be harboring doubts about your worth and feel that your ‘foodie’ or ‘bubbly’ personality traits are intrinsically linked to your current weight. There are almost limitless different types of self-limiting beliefs, but all of them can be successfully challenged with a little work and time.

Once you’ve identified these subconscious beliefs, you can do what’s needed to change them. Rather than believing that you have no willpower, think of a time when you have successfully worked through obstacles to achieve something. List these occurrences if it helps. And then write out some affirmations to support your new beliefs – such as ‘I have the ability to achieve my goals’ – and repeat them to yourself throughout the day. This is a simple but powerful technique to help you overcome any thoughts that may be holding you back.

Rethinking Portion Size

Changing mental attitudes towards portion sizes is another way to promote successful weight loss.  When asked about the recommended portion size of a serving of pasta, for example, the vast majority of people believe that the actual size is much larger than it is. This can lead to our brains feeling deprived if served a portion that we believe to be much smaller than we’ve come to expect.

One method to easily tackle this is to simply use smaller plate sizes. This tricks the brain into thinking it is receiving a full portion, and your mind responds to this; those who regularly use smaller-sized plates consistently consume fewer calories on a daily basis and don’t tend to feel the cravings that can be our brain’s response to feeling that it’s being deprived of food.

It’s a really good idea, too, to read up on portion sizes to help you better understand how much protein, carbs, etc., you should be putting on your plate to continue losing weight. For some people, weight loss groups or plans can be helpful in terms of supporting proper portion control and offer access to various calculators or tools to assist you in measuring out the right amounts at mealtimes. Have a look here for the best weight loss plans of 2022; there is a range of options here to support you to lose weight in the way that works best for you. 

Set Achievable Goals

One of the main reasons for the failure of many diets is down to the disappointment of not seeing fast results. Take this off the table by deciding that you’re making a lifestyle change rather than going on a diet and that the results will be consistent, but not overnight. Remind yourself that, even if your weight loss journey is slower than you’d like, you will be getting all of the health benefits that come with living a healthier lifestyle, and slower weight loss is, in most cases, a healthier and more sustainable way to getting the slimmer frame you’re aiming for. Often, diets that result in losing weight extremely quickly also result in the weight going on again just as quickly.

Set yourself an achievable weight loss goal based on what is right for you and not what you think a generic ‘ideal’ weight should be. Break this goal up into smaller targets to help you maintain motivation and track your progress. Celebrate every time you successfully meet one of these targets; book yourself in at the spa for a Pedi, head to the cinema with friends, or treat yourself to a mini shopping trip. 

Think Yourself Slim

Using the tips above can help you to both lose weight and keep it off long-term. Simply shifting some of the key ways you think about food and the emotions that may be connected to eating can transform how you approach dieting, freeing you to successfully embrace the lifestyle you want.  


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