Everyone comes to weight loss with their own unique journeys, but there are also often commonalities in the highs and lows of the process. Many people experience fears and anxieties around the weight loss process. You might wonder what it will feel like to reach your weight loss goal. Will you feel different? The same?
Not having answers to the questions in our head can feel scary. Many people find the path to achieving a weight loss goal to be an emotional one. You might have tried to lose weight before and something stopped you or got in the way. For a lot of people food and eating are comforts. Sometimes being overweight feels like a way to hide or heal, so it can feel overwhelming to think about what your life would look like if you succeeded at your weight loss goal.
All of these feelings—fear, uncertainty, negative thoughts about whether you deserve to be healthy—are more common than you might think. If these kinds of thoughts are getting in your way, it might help to talk with your provider or a counselor.
Tips to shift your negative thoughts about weight loss
Thoughts, emotions, and feelings can affect your motivation. But with practice, you can shift negative thoughts to become more positive which can help you better achieve your goals. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Focus on the goal. Remember your aim and why you started this journey in the first place. Reconnecting with the reason behind the goal can be a powerful way to achieve it.
- Watch for common discouraging thoughts. When you know the common types, it’s easier to spot them when they happen. Here are a few to watch out for:
- Ignoring the positive. This happens when you filter out the good and focus only on the bad. For example, you may think, “I failed because I only lost half a pound this week,” rather than, “I’m having success because I’m closer to my goal.”
- The “should.” Thinking that you or others “should” or “have” to do something is a sign of this type of thinking. For example, “I have to exercise three times this week or I’ll get off track.”
- Overgeneralizing. This happens when you take one example and say it is true for everything. Watch out for words like “never” and “always.” For example, “This is hard for me and it’s never going to get easier.”
- All-or-nothing thinking. This is also called “black-or-white thinking.” It means that you think of things as either all good or all bad with no options in between. For example, “I didn’t follow my eating plan today, so the rest of the week is ruined.”
- Practice reframing your thoughts, by:
- Noticing the thought. Negative thoughts can pop up sometimes before you can stop them but learning to recognize them can help you shift them.
- Questioning the thought. Ask yourself whether it's helpful or true. Your answers can help you find more accurate ways to think about the situation.
- Replacing the thought. Ask yourself "What's something that is true and more helpful?" Use your answer to replace the discouraging thought. Here's an example:
- You might first think: "I can't believe I ate one of those donuts in the break room. I'm so weak. This is why I'll never get to my goal weight."
- You can replace your thought with: "I enjoyed the doughnut I ate this morning. And I know it won't get in the way of my larger goal, because I have the tools to keep making progress."
- Use a thought diary. Write down negative thoughts throughout the day. Then rewrite them to be more encouraging. Over time, choosing more positive thoughts in the moment will get easier.
To learn more about the resources available to you at PPG - Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery, including free seminars, call 260-425-6390 or fill out this form and one of our care team members will contact you with more information.
Copyrighted material adapted with permission from Healthwise, Incorporated. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.