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Losing weight using the power of psychology

Too often, when resolving to lose weight, people think exclusively about diets and calorie-counting. That’s good in itself, but not enough, because it doesn’t really prepare you – or help you maintain – your resolve.

Using your mind and understanding how emotions work for you in your quest to lose weight is central to your weight-loss goals.

Be mindful of your weight-loss resolution
If you’re resolving to lose weight, you’re probably resolving to overhaul your health. Too often, when people begin with vague resolutions, they end up back at square one.

It’s important to be specific enough in your resolutions to keep you on track.

Researchers at New York University found that the solution to keeping your resolution is setting ‘when, where and what’ plans.


Here’s a tip:
Write down for yourself all the obstacles and opportunities you may face – and how you can respond to each one. By writing these down, you make it visible and this can keep you more accountable.

Ask yourself the following questions:


By setting yourself these questions to ponder and work with, you reduce conscious mental effort. In doing this, you work towards making healthy and positive weight-loss behavior automatic.

Use visualization
Researchers at the University of Birmingham in the UK found that remembering our last meal actually reduces appetite and curbs our desire to snack.

Two groups of university students were given tasks, one was food-related, the other not. One group of students was asked to write a detailed description of what they had for lunch. The other group was asked to recall their journey to the campus. When offered a selection of sweet foods afterwards, the group who recalled and described their lunch ate less than students who hadn’t recalled their eating.

It appears that evoking a vivid memory of your last meal activates the hippocampus, the area of the brain which influences decision-making and appetite regulation.

Read more about the skills and strategies you can use in your quest for mindful weight-loss in Think Yourself Thin: The Psychology of Losing Weight.

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