It might seem strange to think about attitude tied to weight loss. Our outlook makes a big difference in all of our goals. Optimism and pessimism can make or break our ability to accomplish our weight loss goals. Think about it….if you have a pessimistic outlook about weight loss, how likely will you be to follow through? If you don’t think you can get what you want, you will likely lose motivation quickly. You may even start to sabotage yourself because you don’t think you are capable of following through. People with an optimistic outlook tend to take obstacles in stride and have the flexibility to adjust. This allows them to keep moving forward without getting discouraged. On the other hand, people who tend to be pessimistic feel like failure is inevitable and struggle to recover when faced with difficulty. This can lead to a lot of “all or nothing” thinking. If you aren’t perfect in your weight loss journey, you automatically tell yourself that you are weak, lazy or worthless because you haven’t done it well enough. If you can’t do it perfectly, there comes a point where you believe there is no use in continuing to try. The reality is that anyone can make changes to achieve weight loss. Let me repeat that….ANYONE can make the changes necessary to lose weight. It just comes down to a few things:
1) Make it a priority. Are you willing to do what is necessary even when it gets hard? Are you willing to delay gratification and look at the bigger picture? By keeping the long-term goal in mind, you can allocate energy to maintaining the goal.
2) Be flexible. When we get stuck in rigid patterns, it gets increasingly difficult to maintain our healthy lifestyle behaviors because life happens and we cannot plan every detail. When we try to do it perfectly, we will inevitably face difficulty because a wrench will be thrown into the plan. By allowing flexibility, we can roll with what comes our way.
3) Think realistically. Weight loss is not a goal. Weight loss is the outcome of accomplishing behavioral goals. If you start the process thinking that you will lose 20 pounds per month, as soon as you miss a 5 pound loss in one week (which you will because this is not realistic unless you have had bariatric surgery), you will give up. By keeping goals realistic and focusing on small changes in eating and physical activity, your goals become more realistic.
4) Believe you can do it. If you don’t believe weight loss is possible, you will NEVER achieve it. Most people simply cannot sustain the energy to accomplish a goal if it won’t be possible. It defies logic to put forth time and energy in something that has no hope. By adjusting your attitude to think optimistically, you are able to problem solve when faced with obstacles.