If you want to lose weight this year, your mindset matters. You need to believe in yourself.
Smart man, Mr. Ford.
Belief alone isn’t enough, of course. It’s not like the pounds start oozing off the moment you visualize it. Sustainable weight loss is the product of a good system, which includes a healthy diet, regular exercise, and plenty of sleep.
Yet this system depends entirely upon a human being: You. For it to work, you need to get your mindset handled. This article will show you how.
Redefining Success for Weight Loss
The typical weight-loss plan looks something like this:
Lose X pounds by [fast-approaching date].
The plan occasionally works. With some aggressive calorie-cutting, the person may hit their target. And for a moment, the sweet smell of victory fills the air.
But it doesn’t last long. After the glow wears off, it’s like... now what? Set a new target? Stagnate? It’s not clear what to do next.
Your success is reduced to mere days, maybe hours. And then it’s back to striving again. And that’s the best-case scenario, in which you’ve achieved the weight-loss goal.
Consider thinking about weight loss differently. Consider shifting your mindset to redefine weight loss.
Two Quick Mindset Hacks for Weight Loss
- Consider any amount of weight loss—or even the absence of weight gain—a success.
- Put your emphasis on diet, sleep, and exercise. If you’re checking these boxes, you’re winning.
Our minds like winning. The more we win, the more likely we’ll continue a behavior. And healthy behaviors are the key to sustainable weight loss.
5 Ways To Promote A Success Mindset for Weight Loss
All success—including physical success—starts in the mind. Let’s explore five ways to put your mind in success mode so you can achieve your weight loss goals.
By simply reading this article, you’re priming your mind for success. You're reaffirming (to yourself) that you’re the kind of person who cares deeply about your health.
This is no small thing. As neuroscientist Donald Hebb once said, “cells that fire together, wire together”[*]. The more time you devote to studying success, the more your brain becomes wired for winning.
More practically, reading is how you learn how to eat for weight loss. For instance, if you want to go Keto, there is no shortage of useful resources (like the Carb Manager blog and app) out there.
When you’re reading, you’re learning. Keep it up.
When you write something down, you’re more likely to follow through. It’s a quick and easy way to hack your psyche.
Details help. In one study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology, researchers found that people who wrote down where, when, and how they would exercise were two to three times more likely to exercise than controls[*].
How does this apply to weight loss? Let’s say you’ve gone Keto to slim up. In your journal, write up a meal plan daily, including meal timing. Even if you’re not Keto, you can use the same basic strategy. And of course, feel free to use the Carb Manager app as a journal if you’re more the digital type.
By journaling, you take willpower out of the equation by creating a plan for yourself. Take advantage.
#3: Try self-affirmations
A journal is also the perfect place for affirmations. These positive messages reinforce who you are and where you’re heading.
If you’re skeptical about affirmations, that’s understandable. It seems to reek of new-age mysticism and scammy gurus with flowing robes and expensive watches.
Yet, believe it or not, there’s a growing literature on self-affirmation. In one study, for instance, participants who affirmed their values beforehand were more receptive to health messages on the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle[*]. Plus, they became more active the following month.
Why do affirmations work? They may just be a clever way to focus the mind, but nobody knows for sure.
#4: Tell others what you’re doing
If you want to harness the full power of human psychology, don’t keep your weight-loss mission a secret. Tell as many people as you can.
When you publicly commit to something—a new diet, for instance—your brain works hard to maintain that commitment. This phenomenon is called consistency bias.
We like being consistent with our words and actions. We avoid inconsistency like a steaming pile of dog poop in the middle of the sidewalk.
Commitment is one reason why Carb Manager’s Groups are so effective. It’s a big friendly crew of supportive people on a similar path who provide an instant boost to your accountability and motivation.
#5: Use incentives
Think of your brain like a Labrador Retriever. If you train it properly, it will happily comply with your wishes.
If your wish is to lose weight, you’ll want to reward fat-burning habits and activities. An example will help illustrate.
Through a variety of mechanisms, intermittent fasting can be effective for weight loss[*]. Not only do you have less time to snack on problem foods, but you’re likely eating fewer calories overall.
But fasting probably isn’t on your top 10 worldly pleasures list. The solution? Insert pleasure after the fast.
This pleasure can take the form of a delicious meal, a hot shower, or even a square of dark chocolate. Eventually, your brain will associate fasting with pleasure, and you’ll no longer need the reward.
Make Your Mind Your Friend
Healthy living isn’t about 14-day resets or aggressive weight-loss targets. It’s about finding a sustainable system that steadily moves you in the right direction.
Psychology and mindset is central to sticking with your system and ensuring that it functions smoothly. It’s training your brain—through journaling, reading, affirmations, community, and incentives—to be a helpful companion on your quest for better health.
In other words, make your mind your friend. It will pay off big time.