Before Losing Weight, Get Your Head Straight


“I know what to do, I just have to do it.”

Sound familiar? As a private practice dietitian/nutritionist working mainly with clients who have spent most their lives yo-yo dieting, it’s a sentiment I hear quite frequently. If I had a quarter for every time someone uttered that phrase to me, well, I wouldn’t be rich, but I would definitely have enough to pick up those Frye booties I’ve been eyeballing.

When a client says those words, what they’re really saying is “I don’t have the willpower because I really don’t want to do this.”

And why would they? Most popular diet plans call for giving up your favorite foods or maintaining a near starvation level calorie deficit. So many exercise programs focus on burning calories, not having fun or pushing your body to see what it can accomplish.

The trick to moving from “I know what to do” to actually doing it isn’t about getting more willpower. It requires changing your mindset so you actually want to eat and live differently. Try these strategies:

Crowding Out

Losing weight and improving health doesn’t require giving up all your favorite foods entirely…but it likely involves eating less, especially if those favorite foods are high in added sugar or heavily processed. Instead of focusing on less, think about eating more. More fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. By filling your plate with plenty of real, whole foods, you’ll have less room for the not so healthy stuff.

Trying New Foods

Think of changing your eating habits as an adventure and an excuse to try new foods. This is an especially helpful mindset switch for you foodies. After discovering more foods you love that just happen to be good for you, losing weight stops being about deprivation and becomes just eating.

One Step at a Time

Knowing you need to make big changes to your eating habits can be overwhelming, which can paralyze many people into inaction. Instead of trying to change everything at once, start thinking of how you can take one step at a time and gradually change your eating habits. Start with the goals that are easiest then move on to the harder stuff. The positive feeling you get from achieving a goal boosts confidence and will make you want to move on to the next one!

The End Of The Day

How amazing do you feel at the end of a day spent nourishing yourself, having quality time with the ones you love and fun moving your body in ways you enjoy. Pretty great, right? Use that as your motivator, not a number on the scale. Feeling fantastic is infinitely more motivating than hitting a goal weight.


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