Losing those extra pounds is often seen as a simple concept: expend more calories than you intake, and voila! Weight loss made easy. Nevertheless, individuals who have set foot on this path understand that it can be more intricate than initially perceived. The process of shedding weight requires not just physical effort but also mental resilience. Our minds are intricate systems, making it difficult to maintain the necessary motivation to reach our weight loss aspirations.
Fortunately, with the help of psychology-backed strategies for losing weight, you can maintain a successful path toward your goals. Keep reading to discover eight effective psychological techniques for weight loss that will empower you to embrace a healthier and more joyful existence.
Here are some psychological hacks to achieve your weight loss objectives:
1. Replace unhealthy snacks with nutritious foods that resemble indulgent treats
According to Jonathan Alpert, a psychotherapist, and author of the book Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days finding a healthier substitute that shares similar qualities to the fatty food you’re craving can be helpful.
For instance, if you’re longing for the crunch and saltiness of potato chips, consider making a batch of crispy kale chips. If you find yourself eyeing the carton of ice cream in your freezer, try preparing a delicious smoothie bowl packed with a variety of fruits instead. Alpert suggests that with time, your taste buds and brain will adapt and develop a preference for these healthier alternatives. Virtue map reviews by redditors indicate that developing healthier habits takes time and conscious effort, but the long term benefits are worth it.
If none of those options prove effective, you may consider following a dite plan like Nutrisystem as an alternative. Nutrisystem is a prepackaged, user-friendly, and reasonably priced dietary program. It eliminates the need for calorie tracking and the challenges associated with designing a well-rounded eating regimen.
2. Gain an insight into the origins of obesity
A higher number of obesity cases are attributed to choices regarding one’s lifestyle rather than being predominantly influenced by genetic factors.
A recent US National Library of Medicine research paper revealed an interesting discovery regarding the association between genes and obesity. The study suggests that emphasising the role of genes in causing obesity could potentially amplify the belief in genetic determinism while reducing the inclination to adopt healthier lifestyle practices.
Individuals who attribute obesity primarily to unhealthy habits tend to be proactive and more inclined to reconsider their behaviors.
3. Avoid using non-transparent food containers
Neil O’Nova, the renowned author behind the popular book 7-Minute Skinny Jeans shares valuable insights on avoiding consuming food from opaque packaging such as containers, boxes, or bags.
“Our brains rely heavily on visual information. We intuitively gauge the amount of food consumed based on visual cues, enabling us to determine when to cease eating,” O’Nova explains. “However, when the visibility of our food intake is obstructed, the absence of visual feedback results in excessive consumption.”
A helpful tip to prevent overeating is to measure out your portions and transfer them into a compact dish or onto a serviette.
4. Picture yourself enjoying a meal
A study conducted by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in 2010 found that imagining the act of consuming a bag of candy can lead to a reduced intake when you actually begin eating it.
Participants in the study who mentally simulated eating 30 M&Ms before being presented with a bowl of candies ended up consuming fewer M&Ms compared to two other groups who envisioned consuming only three candies or no treats whatsoever. The researchers suggest that the crucial factor lies in actively contemplating the act of eating the food rather than simply thinking about or visualizing it.
5. Place a wager on it
Consider placing a wager if you’re seeking a reliable method to shed some pounds. A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic in 2013 indicates that financial incentives can serve as a driving force for weight loss. Individuals who took part in a weight loss program and received monetary incentives, such as rewards in cash for achieving specific goals and contributing funds when failing to meet expectations, demonstrated a higher probability of achieving weight loss compared to those who solely received education on weight loss and programs focused on modifying behavior.
Interestingly, the group with financial incentives managed to lose an average of 9.08 pounds, whereas their counterparts who solely received weight loss education and behavior modification programs only lost 2.34 pounds.
6. Trick your eye
Opt for smaller plates. According to Beck, even a moderate portion on a big dinner plate can appear diminutive. “One aspect of experiencing contentment is derived from visual gratification. Another aspect is the gradual reduction of hunger. Therefore, make a commitment to consume your entire meal while sitting down, taking your time, and relishing every morsel.” Additionally, a study conducted by Cornell University suggests that keeping unhealthy snacks out of view and confining eating activities solely to the kitchen or dining area – not in front of the television – may assist in weight loss.
7. Avoid making it about the scale
Here’s an interesting mental strategy to keep yourself motivated. Refrain from relying on the scale as your primary source of motivation. Instead, research conducted in December 2013 at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business suggests finding enjoyment in your workout is more beneficial for weight loss. You can sustain your motivation by concentrating on the physical activity itself and the satisfaction it brings you, such as participating in an exciting dance class or engaging in a vigorous spin cycle session.
8. Caution against dependence on fitness trackers
If you rely excessively on your fitness tracker as your sole source of accountability, you may not achieve the desired outcome. Research conducted at the University of Pittsburgh revealed activity monitors should not be considered dependable instruments for facilitating weight loss.
After a span of two years, researchers discovered that individuals who utilised the trackers alongside engaging in a behavioral weight-loss programme achieved comparatively lower weight-loss results compared to those who solely participated in the behavioral weight-loss program. The group using trackers recorded an average weight loss of 7.7 pounds, whereas individuals who received only health counseling reported an average loss of 13 pounds.
Adam Mulligan, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.