How to Change Our Mindset to Stay on Track With Weight Loss

By Melinda Maryniuk, MEd, RD, CDCES

Many of us feel like we hear voices in our heads when it comes to food, like there’s a battle between the dieting devil and the healthy eating angel in our minds. The dieting devil whispers, “Oh, just eat it. What difference is it going to make?” and gives us permission every time we feel tempted.

These are what experts call “permission thoughts.” These thoughts give us all kinds of good reasons why eating a little more won’t really matter until we give into a craving. The way to manage permission thoughts is by using “restraint thoughts,” positive messages that help you stay focused on what REALLY matters to you in the long-run. Restraint thoughts can really help you fight back against permission thoughts. Here’s how to use them:

  1. Notice that you’re having a permission thought and identify it as a permission thought.

  2. Ask yourself, will giving into the permission thought really give me what I want in the long-run? (And don’t forget to tell yourself the “full story” which looks like asking yourself a few more questions like, “I might feel good for a little while, but how will I feel in a couple of hours? What about tomorrow morning?”)

  3. Center yourself. Remember your long-term goal (losing weight, feeling better, etc.) and use a restraint thought to counterbalance the permission thought.

A few other tips to help:

  • Plan ahead and practice. Think of the situations you may find yourself in over the next week where you might face challenging food choices. Plan ahead and decide if you’ll be choosing just a small sample or passing it up all together. Practice what you might say and do.

  • Remind yourself why you’re doing this. Losing weight is hard work. Putting motivational reminders on the refrigerator like a photo of your grandchild, or places you’d like to travel and explore, is a great strategy. When you feel tempted, remind yourself of the bigger picture to get back on track.

  • Be kind to yourself. It is true that positive thoughts lead to positive actions. If you think negatively about yourself and put yourself down when you overeat, you’ll have a much harder time sticking with a balanced eating plan.

Diet and exercise alone aren’t enough
to help many people reach a healthier weight. Medical treatments are needed to address the biological changes happening in our bodies that can drive weight regain. To find a physician near you who specializes in weight management, click here.

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This article was sponsored by Novo Nordisk Canada. All content is created independently by My Weight – What To Know with no influence from Novo Nordisk.

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