How a Positive Attitude Can Help You Lose Weight

Diet and exercise are important, but what’s just as important is how you think about losing weight. Studies show that when you think positively, you’re more likely to reach your weight-loss goals. When you keep your mind on a successful outcome, more often than not, you’ll achieve victory.

Expect good things

Happy woman standing agianst the wall

Happy woman | iStock.com

If you’re perpetually cranky, you can remedy that by taking on an attitude of expectation. When you expect something good to happen, this mindset can position you to achieve the goal you’ve been reaching for. Research shows that when you have a positive attitude, you have a better chance of realizing reach your weight-loss goals. A study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found participants who were habitually expecting something good to happen experienced increased enjoyment, improved mood, reduced anxiety, and a better workout experience.

You are your thoughts

beautiful happy woman on a sunny day

Happy woman on a sunny day | iStock.com/Tverdohlib

Dr. Donald Hensrud, a preventive medicine physician affiliated with Mayo Clinic, says that when it comes to weight loss, attitude is everything.  If you think you’re defeated, you’ll live like you’re defeated. Consequently, your actions will reflect your thoughts, leading to a negative outcome. If you tell yourself dieting is hard, you’ll be more inclined to miss a gym class or reluctant about starting a new meal plan. This is because you’ve already decided your efforts won’t work. You’ll approach these activities with less enthusiasm. However, you shouldn’t be surprised if you fail, because you’ve created a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The solution is to cut out the negative thoughts and association with deprivation. “This approach is destined to fail sooner or later because it isn’t sustainable,” Hensrud said on the Mayo Clinic health blog. “It’s like you’re constantly trudging uphill toward an elusive goal. A better approach is to focus on the positive aspects of undertaking lifestyle changes that can lead to better weight management.”

See your future self

Woman's feet on weighing scale

Woman stepping onto a bathroom scale | iStock.com

If you have trouble envisioning a thinner version of yourself, try creating a vision board. A vision board is a collage representing a goal you’d like to achieve. All you have to do is gather a few pictures of yourself when you were at a healthier weight or even pictures of celebrities who are at or near your goal weight, and pin them on a board.

Author and speaker Dr. David R. Hamilton says he has seen the positive impact of visualization with his clients. “I have come across many people who have used visualization as part of their weight-loss strategy. Part of the reason it works, I believe, is that the brain is tricked into thinking that the fat is reducing and so it subtly alters our behavior, cravings, motivation, as well as, perhaps, even how the body stores fat and where it is stored,” Hamilton said in his blog post on visualization and weight loss.

Surround yourself with positive people

friends enjoying a night out

Friends at a bar | iStock.com

A positive attitude won’t make much of a difference if you’re surrounded by toxic people. Make sure to have supportive people by your side, cheering you on. If you have someone constantly putting you down, making you feel bad about your weight, this could negatively impact your self-esteem. Consequently, you might lose the motivation to exercise. Enlist someone who can become your gym buddy and accountability partner. This way, you’ll have someone to share your challenges with. When you’re tempted to cheat on your diet or skip a couple of days at the gym, you’ll have someone to help get you back on track.

Follow Sheiresa on Twitter @SheiresaNgo.