Psychology of Successful Weight Loss

Here is a short article with 4 great tips on creating a healthy mindset and an audio interview I did recently on Weight Loss Psychology. weight loss psychology, goal setting, mindset, how to lose weight If you want to get healthy, you have to think like healthy people do. We don't diet, we don't 'start new programs' or give a shit about calories. We find the weight loss & fitness industry to be mostly comical or completely absurd. We think differently, we teach our clients' to think differently - our most successful clients do not struggle with weight loss or body image issues and yes, you can too...

It’s rather easy to get healthy and lose weight; the greatest problem most people face is their own minds.  To get out of your own way, here are four introductory concepts of a healthy psychology related to food & weight loss:

1) Desire

Many people who make resolutions to lose weight, are in fact, simply trying to ‘keep up with the Kardashians’ – that’s my euphemism for trying to conform to what society deems appropriate for body image. This inevitably leads to mental conflict & giving up because:

a) The goal is not yours; you will lose interest or experience confusion

b) Society’s ideas of body image and weight loss methods are inherently flawed, obsessive and self destructive

c) The concept of ‘weight loss’ is embedded with attitudes and strategies that are incongruent with health

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This is your brain on drugs.

If you want to get rid of belly fat and experience long-term health, make sure the goal is genuinely yours and that you’re not trying to conform.  There is a lot of pressure in society to play this game. And it can be hard to see this if you haven’t thoroughly examined your motivations.

Take some time each morning and ask yourself WHY you want this. Make sure the desire is yours and not of your parents, your spouse or society’s idea that you have unknowingly injected or are being pressured into.

Questions are powerful, ask yourself:

  • Why do you want this goal?
  • What is your core reason?
  • What are the many benefits of this goal?
  • How bad does it suck to feel like crap every day?

Make a list of 100 benefits in other areas of life that you will experience from successfully losing weight. Own the desire and be ready to make a few small simple changes.

I suggest making your goal to enhance the quality of your life, not to lose weight. Make your goal personal, meaningful and true to your heart.

Own it and go for it!!!

2) Hormonal Balance

Weight gain and weight loss are the result of a properly balanced hormonal equation. It is not as elementary as ‘calories in = calories out‘ (having a caloric deficit is only part of the story and much less important than balancing your hormones).

Some of you will be able to get fantastic results with just a few small changes. But for those that have gone on several diets or have a history of eating disorders or disordered eating, you may have some type of hormonal imbalance.

You can have the right mindset, and still not get results when your metabolism is slower than normal or hormones are imbalanced.

So if you’ve tried to diet and haven’t lost or gained some weight, consider reaching out to an expert to help you figure it out and restore balance. The updated Healthy Urban Kitchen 2.0 will contain my Metabolic Makeover program to help these people restore balance and heal their metabolism. Current customers will receive all updates – the new version should be released next week.

Not all, but a good percentage of women I’ve worked with over the years have long-term hormonal imbalance (usually from dieting or other long term stress). For these people, attempting to lose weight will exacerbate the problem and make long-term weight loss close to impossible.  This requires a new psychology before weight loss will happen – shifting to a ‘healing the body’ mode and forgetting about ‘weight loss’ is the first step for these people, but for the rest of you…

A few simple ways to maintain hormonal balance, which will make weight loss easy:

  • Do not skip meals
  • Do not diet
  • Eat 3-4 times per day
  • Make sure each meal has a protein, fat and carb
  • Eliminate processed carbs (cereal, bagels, breads, pasta, etc)
  • Make Saturated Fat the majority of fat in your diet (coconut oil, butter, ghee, animal fats, eggs from organic, grass fed farms)
  • Get to bed on time
  • Don’t abuse coffee or cardio like New Yorkers do

3) Reframing

A frame or ‘frame of reference’ is a schema (complex diagram) that we use to find meaning or make sense of the world. We understand an idea within the frame or context of several ideas combined to make sense of the world. Think of the packaging that surrounds an idea.

As a toddler develops and their brain grows, they start out by learning single words/ideas before they learn complex connections of ideas, for example: ‘dog’ is a first word/idea. As the baby grows, they learn other ideas they can tie together (schema) to make meaning of ‘dog’ in this world: a dog is also an animal, a pet, a family friend that provides companionship & unconditional love, they are fun and need to be walked, eat food and bark to protect, etc).

Weight loss is often packaged (framed) with bad ideas surrounding it: weight loss naturally means you ate too much and need to restrict calories (diet) and expend more (exercise, especially cardio). That is the larger framework most people have when thinking/discussing the single idea of ‘weight loss’, for example.

In order to lose belly fat for good – meaning not ever having to diet again – people can benefit more from reframing their ideas than they will by joining a gym.

image duck rabbit illusion Psychology of Successful Weight Loss

Is it a duck or a rabbit?

Most adults, have other ideas tied to (schema or frame) weight loss that are unnecessarily difficult and in some cases, don’t even make sense. Since most people are not experts in the topic, they don’t see this and follow an accepted path for weight loss that include deprivation/starvation, excessive amounts of exercise or types of exercise they don’t enjoy, mental conflict and physical suffering in order to achieve weight loss.

Simply changing the way you view or perceive ‘food’ and ‘weight loss’ is empowering and creates a change in mindset which is healthier, will encourage progress, consistency and eliminates stasis or regression.

Reframing can be explained by this simple concept: Think This, Not That.

a) Deprivation

If you believe ‘dieting’ is a form of deprivation, you would be right. So don’t think ‘diet’ or ‘deprivation’, think about eating food that satisfies you but not going overboard except once a week. To change your thinking about food or dieting, start by asking yourself new questions:

  • What must I eat to get healthy and lose weight?
  • What foods burn fat and give me energy?
  • What foods make me fat, sick & depressed that I can avoid?
  • Which foods nourish my body??How can I reduce stress and enjoy eating more?

These questions will help you reframe your understanding of food & weight loss.

Avoiding food that makes you bloated or gassy is not ‘deprivation’, unless you are addicted (physically or emotionally) to eating it.

b) Eating fat makes you fat (or causes heart disease).

Reject this idea and instead eat some facts about fat:

  1. Fat gives you satiety
  2. It helps us enjoy meals
  3. It energizes us throughout the day
  4. It’s really hard to overeat fat from real food, but its easy to overeat processed foods made of flour, sugar and trans fats.
  5. Fatty acids are essential parts of all body tissues, they are a major component of cell membranes.
  6. Saturated fatty acids are the preferred fuel for the heart
  7. Fatty acids are used as a source of fuel during energy expenditure
  8. Actually increases HDL concentrations
  9. Modulates genetic regulation
  10. Prevents cancer
  11. Antiviral agents
  12. Effective as an anticaries, antiplaque and anti fungal agents
  13. Useful to actually lower cholesterol levels
  14. Beneficial effects on thrombogenic and atherogenic risk factors

Saturated fats: what dietary intake? American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 80, No. 3, 550-559, September 2004

Use these facts of ‘fat’ to reframe your understanding of fat so you can enjoy eating real food, including saturated fat, to improve your health, balance your moods and lose body fat.

d) Rule #32 Enjoy The Little Things.

You can’t spend all your time worrying about where your next Twinkie is going to come from, so follow rule #32 and Enjoy The Little Things.

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If you live the 80/20 rule or 90/10 rule – you will have plenty of time (10% – 20% of your meals) to party, cheat or eat crap. So enjoy it when you do it! Eliminate any guilt & shame you have surrounding food & eating now!

The majority of your meals (80% – 90%), when you eat real food, are a great sense of pleasure for healthy people. We enjoy eating, and boy do we eat! We freaking LOVE food!

Also, when you eat, take your time, chew your food well and appreciate the meal.

Learn to appreciate and enjoy sleep: getting ready for bed, climbing under the covers and waking up refreshed with a sense of appreciation helps you enjoy the journey and get radical results in health & fat loss.

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule or the law of the vital few) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.In other words, you don’t have to ‘work hard’ to get results.

A few small steps will bring great changes:

  • Don’t count calories
  • Keep a simple a food journal of what you eat and what time – use a smiley face, a neutral face or sad face after each meal based on your response from that meal
  • Eliminate gluten & dairy (except butter) for 30 days
  • Eliminate flour products for 30 days
  • Drink more water throughout the day
  • Sleep at least 8 hrs each night
  • Associate with like minded people who support you
  • Simplify your workout to 30 minutes, using total body exercise and stretching or rolling in between sets

Even applying one of these small steps is an ultra-simple way that brings tremendous rewards for health & weight loss.

How simple is it to get to bed a little earlier, avoid foods that make you bloated & gassy? How much of this process can you enjoy?

If you know a few simple things that will bring great results, it will make it easier to achieve and you can actually enjoy the process. Your desire must be true to your heart, you may need to change your brain, and you must balance your hormones for long-term health & fat loss results.

Here is the audio for Erin Huggins radio show Shape Shift on Weight Loss Psychology:

Listen to internet radio with ShapeShow on Blog Talk Radio



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