Psychology of Weight Loss: How to Lose Weight & Make Your Results Last

    • March 7, 2019

    Before taking on any weight loss journey, the reasons for the change need to be plainly stated. However, people who look towards outside sources for those reasons or use external sources to uncover their reasons tend to fail. They tend to lose themselves in the process and become so consumed in their journey to lose weight that they overlook the person for whom the changes should be made in the first place: themselves.

    Tips for Sustainable Weight Loss

    Making lasting, positive changes for yourself is incredibly challenging, and it is arguably the most difficult thing humans in modern society can undertake. We are surrounded by a myriad of images and social representations, which enforce a certain ideal and demand that we make changes for a predetermined reason outside of our own motivators. As a result, we forget the real reasons behind “getting a six-pack” or achieving a certain number on a scale. Even for the fittest individuals who eat exceptionally well, these results are often impossible to achieve. True success in weight loss can therefore only be achieved when we look past airbrushed nonsense and instead look inwards.

    While this means something different for everyone, there are some overarching principles, which may be beneficial in starting your internally-motivated weight loss journey. Here are a few of the factors, which many people who lose weight and keep it off have credited to their success:

    Take time to define your goals as well as how to reach them, planning your goals in small increments can help increase your chances of achieving sustainable weight loss
    • Take some time to yourself. 

    Before you even begin to purse weight loss, take some time to sit down and really think about why you want to lose weight. Define your goals, but be realistic with them. Your weight loss goals can also encompass more than a number. For example, “trying more healthy recipes” or “finding an exercise class I love” can also be encompassed by your weight loss journey.Once you’ve defined your goals, it’s okay to reach out to external sources for help. Yet, the initial goals and reasons must come from you.

    Keeping your goals in mind with small reminders can help ensure your reach your goals, Sticky notes or alarms on your phone can keep you on track for sustainable weight loss
    • Keep your goals at the forefront of your mind.

    It’s easy to get distracted by day-to-day responsibilities and priorities, but this should now be one of your priorities. The decisions you make every day will enable you to meet your goals, so give yourself ample reminders of what it is that you’re pursuing. If you need to set an alarm on your phone to remind you to exercise, or you want to stick a note on your computer reminding you to eat more vegetables, then do it!

    Remember, these types of goals don’t take “breaks.” Achievement is a result of the culmination of your everyday decisions. Set yourself up for the best odds of success by thinking ahead. This could include planning your meals out for the week in advance and only purchasing the ingredients needed for them when you’re grocery shopping. Or, perhaps you feel like it’s easier to stick to your healthy eating plan when you prepare your breakfasts and lunches for the week in advance. Determine which strategies work best to help you reach your goals, then stick with them.

    Celebrate your small achievements with healthy rewards such as new workout clothing, Rewarding yourself with food can be dangerous for sustainable weight loss
    • Give yourself positive reinforcement.

    Don’t wait for someone else to give you encouragement. People are often consumed with their own priorities – and that’s okay. Remember your reasons for why you started this – they are yours and yours alone.

    Celebrate the small wins you achieve in your pursuit towards bigger milestones. Whether it’s eating a balanced breakfast, working out five days on a given week, or another small victory, recognize these achievements and give yourself praise. You might even want to incorporate healthy rewards along your journey, such as new workout clothing.

    Being selfish during your weight loss journey is okay, Being your influence for exercise and nutrition will ultimately positively affect the people around you
    • Be selfish in your endeavor.

    This is for you! You may have to sacrifice other things in your life to make time for healthy eating and exercise. Keep in mind that you must put yourself first in order to be a good friend, parent, employee, sibling, or any other role you may take on. Your success will ultimately have a positive effect on the people around you, but the process is all yours.

    An occasional cheat meal can help maintain psychological balance, A simple cheat meal should not be the end of your weight loss journey
    • If you fall off a bit, get back on immediately.

    Going into your journey, you should expect to have slip-ups. From special occasions to vacations, there may be moments where you indulge here and there. You can give yourself the freedom to enjoy these moments without guilt – as long as you know you’ll get right back into your healthy habits the next day. Research has actually shown that having the occasional “cheat meal” can satisfy appetite while maintaining psychological balance. Falling off every once in a while isn’t the problem, but staying off is. Just get back into it and focus your efforts on moving forward – it won’t do any good to look to the past and shame yourself for a mistake.

    Enjoy the weight loss process, Sustainable weight loss is a lifelong endeavor
    • Enjoy the process and take it slow.

    Weight loss is a journey, but weight management is a lifelong endeavor. Every meal, training session, and day full of healthy choices is a win. Enjoy these wins – you’ll have a lot of them during a lifetime of health and wellness!

    Achieving lasting weight loss isn’t simple, but understanding the psychological influences behind weight gain and failed diets is an important first step towards success. Once you know why it is that you want to lose weight and find ways to combat the influencers that have held you back before, you’ll have the greatest tool available for becoming healthier – and you can’t find that in any fad diets.

    Psychology of Weight Loss – In Conclusion

    Sustainable long term weight loss is achieved through mental toughness and being able to enjoy the process, Following fad diets for instant gratification can detour you from your long term weight loss goals

    Weight loss is one of the most commonly sought-after goals in our society. However, many fail because of stress, increased appetite through a release of ghrelin, and the outside influence of TV shows, movies, and people may have on our behavior.

    Long term weight loss is achieved by making lasting, positive changes for yourself instead of others. It is arguably the most difficult thing humans in modern society can undertake. Once you understand the reason(s) you want to lose weight and find a way to combat your external influencers, you’ll have the greatest tool available for becoming healthier!

    More Info

    This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources:

    Joshua D’Alessandro MS, CSCS, CISSN 

    Nutrition & Exercise Counselor at Cenegenics New York City

    The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation 

    The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

    Available for purchase here

    The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

    Available for purchase here

    Textbook Authors:

    Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

    Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.

    Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

    Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

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