How to lose weight by thinking differently

Do you play mind games that keep you from losing weight? Do you always have a conversation with yourself that manages to sabotage your most recent Monday weight loss efforts? If so, you most likely have a dialogue in your head that needs to change. If you have the following personal conversations, it is better to change your dialogue. Changing your self-talk is a great first step when you feel like you can’t lose weight at all.

The clean plate game to lose weight

You know this game: eat it all because some people are starving! If you eat all your food when you are not hungry, you are not helping anyone who is hungry! Or paid for it, so you must eat it. At home, put less food on your plate. In a restaurant, ask for the box of people before digging into the large plate of food. Recognize that while you still paid for it, you now have food for another meal so you doubled in value. This is a difficult habit to break, but it can be done with practice. These portion control strategies will always help when you are having trouble losing weight. Portion control automatically reduces your calorie intake. It is such a simple concept that it is often overlooked.

Skipping breakfast can delay weight loss

You think you’ll eat fewer calories overall by limiting what you eat in the morning. Many studies indicate that when people do this, they are able to consume more total calories in a given day. In other words, this eating strategy can backfire for some people. Other studies show that when people consume substantial calories in the morning, they use those calories to meet energy requirements more efficiently and store less of that energy in fat cells. Consuming most of your calories at the end of the day is therefore theoretically less efficient for your body weight and overall energy levels.

However, I will add that some studies also suggest that whether or not someone eats breakfast has no impact on weight status. That said, skipping breakfast and eating lighter throughout the day can put you at some nutritional risk. It is very difficult to meet general nutritional requirements with almost no food during the day and only eating dinner. And if your blood sugar plummets during the day, you are at risk of bingeing.

Be careful with food prepared elsewhere

Do you really know what’s going on in the kitchen of your favorite restaurant and take-out place? I would guess that this food has far more fat, calories, and sodium than you would find in your own kitchen. Try to limit dependence on outside sources for your meals unless you can confirm from nutrition labels that it is a healthy choice. When you go out to dinner, at least try to check the nutritional information in advance. There are so many websites and apps available for the consumer to pre-plan for healthier options. HealthyDiningFinder is a site where you enter your zip code and nearby restaurant options are listed.

Check the menus in advance

While not all restaurants can make their nutrition information readily available, you can at least take a look at the menu online. That way, you can start thinking about the best food options before entering the restaurant. This helps you avoid impulsive snap decisions on your selections. Once socializing with friends at the restaurant, your planning strategies for choosing healthy options may fail. Thinking about what to order ahead of time will keep defensive eating tactics in play.

It’s for a “company” game

There are many variations of this: there are also “It’s for kids”. Do M & Ms really need to be in a bowl for their grandkids and yell at them all the time? I have grandchildren too, but I wouldn’t have a bowl of candy sitting all the time. I certainly like chocolate too and couldn’t look down on it. Get goodies for kids, grandkids, and company, but keep a limited stock that is purchased just before your arrival. Or hide it from yourself. Better yet, get a gift that doesn’t pose a great threat of temptation to you! The less you like that treat, the better you can resist it.

Willpower to lose weight

I don’t think most people with long-term weight loss success can use the concept of willpower. In the long run, they should think of “smart” eating strategies: keep a clean kitchen free of tempting foods, keep small amounts or controlled portions that you think of as treats, or if the food is too tempting to avoid once in your kitchen, just don’t put it in your shopping cart in the first place. Willpower, in my opinion, is not a good long-term weight loss strategy.

Reflection to lose weight

Taking a step back to assess how you think about eating may be the solution to weight loss problems. By controlling your thoughts in conjunction with your eating environment, you can start down the weight management path without stumbling too much. As summer ends, the holidays are just around the corner. Thinking differently could be the torture-free weight loss solution you need when you think you can’t lose weight. Anyone can lose weight with the right tools. After you change your mind, you are ready for any additional steps necessary to lose weight.

Written by Sue Rose

September 5, 2020
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