Losing weight can be tough. Even with dramatic lifestyle changes, getting those last few pounds off can be quite a challenge. While there are countless products promising quick results, the best way to achieve your goal weight is with a healthy diet and exercise. But you can speed up the process and it starts with the mind, Inc. reported.
When it comes to weight loss, many people are motivated either by a negative self-image or by factors such as health risks linked to obesity, but research has suggested that harboring concerns about body image may actually make it more difficult to shed the pounds. In fact, people with positive feelings towards their bodies can lose up to three times more weight!
This was demonstrated in one study of 239 overweight women which found that by improving body image, the participants were able to successfully lose more weight.
“Results suggest that improving body image, particularly by reducing its salience in one’s personal life, might play a role in enhancing eating self-regulation during weight control,” researchers noted. “Accordingly, future weight loss interventions could benefit from proactively addressing body image-related issues as part of their protocols.”
Jeff Haden, the author of “The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win” and Inc. contributing editor, agreed with the study’s results.
“[T]he less you fret about how you look–and the less you fret about how other people may think you look — the more likely you are to make positive changes,” he wrote.
However, it is not as simple as telling yourself you love your body, he said. Success is the best way to a better self-image.
“Improving builds self-esteem. Success — in losing weight, or in your profession, or in your personal life, in anything you try to do — builds self-esteem,” he said. “Despite your current customer base. Despite your current revenues. Despite what you currently see in the mirror. Success, even tiny successes, make you feel better about yourself.”
This, Haden said, will lead to confidence, which can unleash a person’s full potential.
“Forget the self-talk. Forget wishing and hoping you felt better about yourself. Action is the key to building confidence and self-esteem,” he said. “So do this. Commit to following a healthy diet for two weeks… Then make sure you log everything you eat. Science shows people who track their food intake lose twice as much weight as those who don’t. Then stick to your plan.”
Then Haden recommended celebrating every small success.
“Not just when the scale shows you’ve lost a little weight, but more importantly every time you only eat what you plan to eat for a certain meal or snack,” he said. “Within days, you’ll see progress, both in terms of weight loss but also in terms of habits adopted. Both of which will boost your self-esteem and help you stay the course.”