Your thought patterns around weight loss may be the key to long-term success.
If simply changing our thoughts was all it took, we'd all have reached our weight loss goals and be keeping the pounds off effortlessly! But that's not the case.
However, one weight loss expert says there's something there. Dr. Gary Foster, the chief scientific officer at WW (Weight Watchers), says your mindset around weight loss may be the key to lasting change. In his new book, he gives you seven simple ways to change your thought patterns — and finally see long-term success.
Click the link below to read an excerpt of Foster's book, "The Shift: 7 Powerful Mindset Changes for Lasting Weight Loss."
And pick up a copy for more details on these seven steps and how you can make the most of them in your weight loss journey.
1. Take Small Steps for Big Results
Keeping big goals for yourself can be good tools to guide you through your journey, such as, "I want to be around for my grandkids." Foster says they are effective North Stars, but they're not specific enough to help actually get you there.
In addition to your North Stars, set small and tangible goals for your everyday activities: I will eat 1,300 calories a day. I will walk 10,000 steps a day. I will eat dessert only one day each week. So on, and so forth.
These goals are the actual steps you will be taking to reach your North Star.
2. Be Kind to Yourself
So many of us can be controlled and even set off track by the negative thoughts we have about ourselves. I'm not good enough. I have nothing to offer. But would you ever say these negative things to a friend? If not, then don't say it about yourself.
How you think about yourself plays a key role in your success. Self-compassion beats self-criticism any day, Foster says, and having negative self-thoughts only leads to negative thoughts about your journey. And that can cause you to lose motivation and confidence. Instead, tell yourself all the things you are doing, you are good at, and you can achieve. Positive self-talk for positive results.
3. Celebrate What Your Body Can Do
Just like Foster says you should be kind to yourself, you should be kind to your body as well. It's easy to fall into societal pressures that our bodies should look or act a certain way. We can be left thinking this is too big or that is too small. And that negative thinking is a recipe for negative results.
Instead, celebrate all the things your body can do: My arms can hold my grandkid. My legs can walk to the store. My feet can keep a beat!
4. Join a Community of Others on Similar Journeys
Having friends experiencing the same things you are can help you process your journey. You can get inspiration from each other, share success tips for your small daily steps, and be sounding boards for each other's struggles. And this support system can help sustain you through your journey and beyond.
5. Do Things You Enjoy
Your journey shouldn't be miserable. So choose activities that get you moving and that you enjoy. There's water aerobics, mini trampoline workouts, or beginner ballroom dancing classes. Or you could hold your favorite TV show to watch for when you're on the treadmill, or only listen to your podcast's new episode when you're walking outside.
6. Don't Expect Perfection
Expecting perfection throughout your journey — and having negative self-talk when you hit a setback — sets you up for non-success. Instead, know there will be times when you don't meet a daily goal, and then prepare yourself to respond to them positively.
Have a second helping of chips at lunch? Acknowledge it, forgive yourself, and get back on track at dinner. One step off track does not define your journey and does not determine your success.
7. Recognize Your Habits
Think about what daily habits you've formed. Do you grab a salt snack from the break room every time you pass by? Do you work from home and often munch from the kitchen table? Combat this by bringing your own healthy snacks to work instead of relying on what's in the break room. Or, separate your home work area from the eating area to avoid mindless snacking.