11 psychological tricks to help you lose weight
Losing weight can be challenging, especially if you don’t have the right mindset to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Thankfully, a recent Quora thread lists helpful advice for people who want to train their minds to help them lose weight in the long-term, rather than wasting energy on quick, short-term fixes.
Here are eleven ways to change your outlook and help you lose weight healthily.
1. Revisit what you know about weight loss.
Quora user Wilfredo Thomas argues that understanding weight loss in the form of energy balance is the first key to achieving one’s ideal body.
“Energy balance is the science way of saying calories in versus calories out,” he writes. “Your body needs a certain amount of calories to maintain its current body weight.”
Once you understand energy balance, you might feel less tempted to eat more than you really need.
2. Steer clear of opaque food containers.
Neil O’Nova, author of the book, “7-Minute Skinny Jeans,” advises against eating out of food containers, boxes, and bags that aren’t clear.
“Our brains are highly visual. We take visual cues as to how much food we’ve eaten to help us know when we should stop,” O’Nova writes. “But when you can’t see how much food you’ve had, you never get that visual feedback and you end up eating way too much.”
Measuring servings and pouring them into a small bowl or onto a napkin will stop you from eating more than you planned.
3. Ditch dieting.
O’Nova also isn’t a fan of traditional dieting because he argues that it limits one’s mindset.
Once you’re off your diet and have lost weight, you might revert back to eating poorly, not exercising and ultimately regain pounds.
“Instead, focus on your long-term eating habits,” he writes. “This is the best way to lose weight and keep it off, the healthy way.”
4. Trick your stomach into feeling full.
O’Nova advises choosing vegetables such as carrots and celery over sugary treats when you’re having a snack craving.
Not only do they have less calories; they are also fibrous and can make you feel full faster.
5. Think of exercise as a fun activity.
Jared Haas, a geographic information systems coordinator, believes finding an exercise that’s fun matters most, because you’ll be more likely to incorporate it into your weekly routine.
“If you hate running, don’t run. It doesn’t matter that running has been proven to aid in weight loss,” Haas writes. “If you hate it that much, you’re not going to stick with it. If you’re not going to stick with it, it’s not going to yield permanent results.”
Moreover, working out with friends or in a group can be motivational, making exercise less of a chore and more of an enjoyable pastime after work or between errands.
6. Understand what causes obesity.
More cases of obesity are reportedly caused by lifestyle decisions rather than genetic factors.
In his Quora post, Thomas points to a scientific study published online by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, which found that “promoting the notion of genes as a cause for obesity may increase genetically deterministic beliefs and decrease motivation to engage in healthy lifestyle behaviors.”
Thomas concludes that people who believe that obesity is caused by unhealthy habits are likely to become proactive and re-think their actions.
7. Motivate yourself by asking challenging questions.
While self-affirmations can be helpful, consider tapping into your competitive side by turning weight loss into a challenge.
“Personally, I find it much more motivating to challenge myself with self-talk like this: ‘Can you lose this weight? Are you up to the challenge?'” O’Nova writes.
8. Be kind to yourself.
Pharmacist and health enthusiast Noor Ullah Jan said, “To get out from under old propensities, you have to see yourself in a positive light.”
“Envision your future self, six months to a year not far off, and consider how great you’ll look and feel,” he writes.
9. Get more sleep.
“When we are sleep-deprived, high-fat and sugary foods seem much more attractive, probably because they give us a quick burst of energy,” scholar Md Yousuf writes.
To avoid temptation, adults should strive for at least seven hours of sleep every night.
10. Lean on a friend.
Getting yourself to the gym is no easy feat, especially when you’re going alone. However, research says that including an “exercise buddy” can be instrumental for weight loss results.
11. Reduce your stress.
Stress is not only damaging when it comes to your emotional wellbeing but can adversely affect your weight loss goals as well. When we feel stressed out, our cortisol (stress hormone) levels go up. Cortisol collects fat from storage places in the body and moves it to the belly making it the enemy when trying to slim down.
According to Quora author Elizabeth Sienna, “Breathing, slowing down and bringing mindfulness into our eating and life are all powerful tools when it comes to shifting from stress to relaxation.”