The Psychology of Weight Loss

The Psychology of Weight Loss

By Angela Escobar


Be mentally prepared to make lifestyle changes and always remember that you are in control of what goes into your mouth.  Losing Weight is 80% mental, 20% physical.  If your brain isn’t in the game, not even the best nutritionists and/or personal trainers are going to be able to help you in your weight loss ventures. 

You must strive to be realistic in your weight loss goals.  Start by setting smaller goals (say, eating a light breakfast everyday for two weeks) and keep working your way towards your larger long-term goals.  It is more do-able to make small realistic changes to your diet for two weeks than it is to make significant changes to your diet or a whole month.  Once your two-week goal has been met, go from there—plan for another diet modification for the next two weeks, and so on.  Small changes over a long period of time bring about BIG results. 

And remember:  It takes 6 weeks to break a habit and form a new one.  Once you get past that 6-week mark, it should get much easier to carry and maintain your new lifestyle changes from then on.

Stop feeding your feelings.  Are you an emotional eater?  Many of us eat out of pure boredom, when we are depressed, and/or when we are stressed out.  We even eat for positive reasons—to celebrate a new job, a promotion, a holiday, a graduation.  Next time you are in the kitchen searching for something to munch on, stop and take a few seconds to ask yourself if you are truly hungry.  Find alternatives to feeding your feelings.  Any time you feel upset or bored, find something else to lift your spirits instead of food.  Take a walk, ride your bike, call up a friend and have a long talk, paint, draw, write in a journal, or go visit a lonely family member or friend.  If you MUST eat, have a piece of fresh fruit— it’s fat-free, sweet, and easy to digest.  Fresh crisp veggies are another alternative.

Once again:  It takes 6 weeks to break a habit and form a new one.  Once you get past that 6-week mark, it should get much easier to carry and maintain your new lifestyle changes from then on.  Anytime you begin feeling boredom or depressed, you will immediately turn to your new hobby or interest instead of automatically heading for your fridge to search for food. 

Surround yourself with people who are like-minded.  They can provide encouragement and motivation, even inspiration.  If you are trying to lose weight, join a support group.  Join a gym and make friends who go regularly.  Find a walking buddy to make conversation with while you walk.  Invite your friends over for a healthy home-cooked meal on the weekends instead of going out to a restaurant to eat.  Remember that we tend to over-eat while in the presence of others, so if you are at a restaurant surrounded by friends, you may eat more than intended.  Take the time to search and try out new healthier recipes may not only inspire others to eat better, it is yet another step closer to reaching your weight loss goals.  Cooking the food you eat teaches you to truly appreciate food—it gives you a whole new perspective on the essence of food and the sustenance and nourishment it provides for your body, spirit, and mind. 

Don’t be so hard on yourself.  Of course, you will have bad days and may even relapse.  Perhaps you indulged in too many slices of pizza because you had a horrible day at work.  Don’t kill yourself over the occasional day or meal here and there.  You will not gain the five pounds you lost in that one day or sitting.  Remember that tomorrow is another day, a new chance for a fresh start.  Just dust yourself off and pick up where you left off. 

**Copy and Paste the Citation Below to Reference this Page:

Escobar, A. (2013). The psychology of weight loss. Psyche And Society, Retrieved from

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