15 Mindsets You Should Have For A Better Weight Loss

Published on September 11, 2019
measure tape for weight

Every weight loss plan has its advantages and disadvantages, but for something to really work, you have to get your mind right. Shifting mindsets about how you will go about losing weight is one of the biggest factors. Many people try to lose weight with the worst state of mind possible. They do diets out of self-depreciation. They get obsessed with quick and easy fixes, losing sight of the overall health and sustainability.

Not having the right mindset can be very destructive. Evidence shows that stigma experiences are correlated with body dissatisfaction. There is an increased desire to avoid exercise and it can decrease physical activity levels (1). The way you see yourself can predict your actions. Luckily, the mind is flexible. There are several ways to change your mindset and make your weight loss journey healthier, more enjoyable, and way more effective. Read on to know more.

Tips You Can Follow to Set Your Mind Straight for Weight Loss

1. Redefine the Reasons Why You Would Want to Lose Weight

List down the reasons why you want to lose weight. It will help you stay focused and motivated to reach your weight loss goals. Go through them daily and use them as a reminder. Whatever your reason is, motivation must come from within for weight loss to be successful (2). It should be for long-term success.

2. Set Realistic Expectations

Several diet programs and products claim easy and fast results. However, experts recommend only losing 1-2 pounds weekly (3). Setting unachievable goals can lead to frustration and you’ll likely give up. On the other hand, setting realistic goals leads to feelings of accomplishment. People who achieved their weight loss goals are more likely to keep the results long-term (4, 5).

What’s good is that even just a little weight loss of 5-10% of your body weight can have a huge impact on your health. It can help improve blood sugar, lower blood cholesterol levels, lessen joint pain, and reduce risks of heart disease and some type of cancers (6).

3. Focus on Process Goals

Many who are trying to lose weight only set outcome goals, which is typically your final target weight. But, focusing only on results can derail your motivation. They can feel too distant and make you feel overwhelmed (2). Instead, look into process goals, or what actions should you take to reach your desired weight. One good example of a process goal is exercising at least 4 times weekly.

One study proved that participants who focused on the process were less likely to deviate from their diets and are more likely to lose weight (2). Set SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based.

4. Be Committed

Evidence shows that those who make a public commitment are more likely to be successful in following through their goals (7). Letting others know about your weight loss goals will help you keep accountable. Talking to your loved ones and friends is part of being committed. You can also consider investing in exercise classes. You are more likely to attend if you have already paid for it.

5. Think and Talk Positively

According to a study, having positive expectations and feeling confident about your ability to achieve your goals can help you lose more weight (8). People who use “change talk” are also more likely to be successful with their plans.

Change talk is all about making statements about commitments to behavioral changes, why you want to do it, and the steps you are willing to take to attain your goals (9). So, start talking positively about your weight loss plans and journey. Instead of just fantasizing, start imagining reaching your target weight and then spend a few more minutes thinking about any possible obstacles that you may encounter along the way. Mentally contrasting has helped people ate fewer calories and exercised more (8).

6. Prepare For Challenges and Setbacks

Holidays aren’t going anywhere. Daily stressors will surely pop up. Finding ways to plan for them and developing the right coping skills will help keep you motivated. It is very important to start brainstorming about these possible challenges and setbacks to keep you from getting off track (3).

Many people turn to food for comfort. This can easily cause you to abandon your weight loss goals. You need to develop appropriate coping skills to prevent this from happening. Studies have shown that people who have better-coping techniques to handle stress have lost more weight and kept it off longer (10).

You can cope with stress by exercising, practicing square breathing, taking a bath, going outside for fresh air, calling a friend, and asking for help. Plan for your holidays, eating out, and other social events too! For example, search for restaurant menus in advance so you can find a healthy option. At parties, you can bring your own healthy dish and eat smaller portions.

7. Celebrate Your Successes

Losing weight is a tough task, so celebrating your successes to keep yourself motivated can be very helpful. There’s nothing wrong in giving yourself some credit when you accomplish a goal. But, food should not be your reward. You can feel pride in yourself by sharing your success stories in community pages and social media. This will help boost your motivation (2).

Also, remember to celebrate behavior changes and not just reaching a specific number on the weighing scale. For example, if you met your goal of exercising 4 times weekly, you can ask your friends for a spa date. Rewarding yourself can help improve your motivation (2). Again, pick appropriate rewards. Aside from food, avoid rewards that are expensive or insignificant.

Other good examples of rewards are seeing a movie, getting a manicure or pedicure, buying a new running top or shoes, etc.

8. Never Aim for Perfection and Be Kind to Yourself

You don’t need to be perfect to slim down. If you are doing the “all or nothing” approach, you are less likely to be successful (11). Be easy on yourself when you make a mistake. Self-defeating thoughts will negatively affect your motivation. Instead, let go, be flexible, and forgive yourself. A single mistake will not ruin your progress.

9. Appreciate Your Body

Evidence shows that people who do not like their bodies are less likely to slim down (10, 12). Taking small steps to improve your body image can help you lose more weight. Furthermore, those who have better body image are more likely to pick a diet they can keep and try new activities that will help them attain their goals (13).

To help enhance your body image, you should surround yourself with positive people, stop comparing yourself to others, and wear clothes that fit you well.

10. Take A Breath

Taking some time at the start of your workout, or even in the morning, to slow down and just focus on your act of breathing can help you set your intentions, connect with your body, and lower your stress response. Relax by lying on your back with your legs extended. Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold for 2, and then exhale through your mouth for 6.

11. Be Patient

Patience is also a virtue if you would want to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way. If you focus on meeting your process goals like taking 10,000 steps daily, there’s no need to be time bound. Every day comes with new, great successes.

12. Avoid the Scale

While weighing is not intrinsically bad, most have learned to associate it with self-destructive thoughts and actions. If you are one of them, it is better to avoid it until you get to a point where you realize that the number on the scale should not define your worth.

13. Treat Yourself Like How You Treat Your Friend

When it comes to ideals of beauty and body image, we are hard on ourselves. Our standards normally include punishing, which we’d never hold to our loved ones or friends. You deserve the same compassion and respect so treat yourself like it.

14. Use A Weight Loss Journal

Self-monitoring is very important to weight loss motivation and success. Experts found that people who regularly track their food intake are more likely to slim down and maintain their weight loss (14). Do the journal correctly. Write down everything you eat, which includes meals, snacks, and even a piece of candy.

You can also write about your emotions in this journal. This can help you pinpoint triggers for overeating and help you find better ways to cope. You can keep your journals on paper and pen or use an app. They are all effective (15).

15. It’s Never Wrong To Get Professional Help

Don’t hesitate to ask a professional for help if you think your weight loss strategy isn’t working so well. By feeling more confident in your knowledge and abilities, you’ll lose more weight. You can look for a dietician for healthier meals or exercise physiologist to teach you how to exercise properly (10).

If you are having problems getting yourself motivated, find a psychologist. Motivational interviewing has been proven effective in helping people achieve their goals (9).

The Bottomline

Getting your mindset right for weight loss is very important for long-term success. People find several factors motivating, so you have to know what may help you best. Remember to give yourself flexibility and celebrate successes. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed. With the right mindset, a healthy diet, good exercise, and support, there’s no way you are not reaching your weight loss goals!


(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18086724
(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21852063
(3) https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/guidelines/ob_gdlns.pdf
(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23767689
(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12445592
(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21593294
(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1308011/
(8) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1559-1816.2007.00189.x
(9) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25535015
(10) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15655039
(11) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3312817/
(12) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15287984
(13) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20409769
(14) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22795495
(15) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26028176

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