3 Weight Loss Mindset Shifts: Ditch the Short-term Dieting Thoughts

Posted: November 2, 2021
Woman stepping on a scale to see weight loss | weight loss mindset
Weight loss success is more than just about the food you are eating, it’s also about your mindset

Understanding the importance of shifting your weight loss mindset from short term dieting to long term healthy eating habits is your first big step in creating lasting consistent results.

Reframing your thoughts around food is, in my opinion, one of the hardest but most important things you can do on your health journey.

This is because you are shifting your focus from just food and the external shape of your body to the bigger picture of health which includes: lean muscle mass, movement, sleep, stress management, healthy gut and a healthy mindset.

In the dieting industry, most of the focus is on losing weight as fast as possible and achieving a smaller sized body. This usually leads to having a bad relationship with food and your body and you get stuck in the diet cycle.

3 Weight Loss Mindset Shifts: Ditch the Short-term Dieting Thoughts

1. The all-or-nothing mindset

The first step in your weight loss journey is working on changing your weight loss mindset because your thoughts create your actions and therefore your reality. Read that again.

In other words, the thoughts you think and the story you tell yourself is the way your brain decides to take action. With years of dieting, your thoughts around food are most likely negative and coming out of this takes time and awareness.

This can best be explained in a story: one of my clients used to think she ruined her progress every time she has ice cream. So every time she eats ice cream, she ends up bingeing on all the other foods she has been depriving herself of for the week like chips, cookies, brownies. This is because every time she eats ice cream, her brain quickly thinks “this is a bad food, you ruined it, you might as well eat everything else that is bad.” Her thought around ice cream causes her to sabotage her progress and causes her to binge.

This way of thinking is called the “all-or-nothing mindset.” Thinking that you need to eat perfectly to see and maintain progress reduces motivation and consistency.

If you think about it, most of the diets you have been on has always had a set of rules for you to follow. Naturally, when you break the rule, you feel like you need to restart, otherwise you won’t see the results you’re looking for.

This all-or-nothing mindset is draining on your physical and mental wellbeing and can lead to disordered eating.

So how can you work on reframing this thought?

Give yourself permission and flexibility to enjoy all the foods you like in a mindful way, rather than being more restrictive. Instead of eliminating foods, find ways to ADD to your meals and snacks. Here is a blog post explaining this.

Understanding that the food is there whenever you want it and that it is actually your thoughts and old patterns around food that are causing these foods to be very tempting is key.

When you allow yourself to enjoy these foods without all the rules and understanding that enjoying these foods occasionally will improve your relationship with food, you can now enjoy the foods that once made you feel out of control without it holding any power over you.

2. Shift your weight loss mindset from quick short-term results to sustainable long-term habits

Usually, the main reason that women go on diets is to lose weight and see results as quickly as possible.

The problem with this is you end up regaining the weight and then some.

Because it took time (months or even years) for the weight to come on, it is going to take time for it to come off.

You need to give yourself time to build new habits and shift your thoughts from short term quick results to lifestyle habits. And habits take time to create.

Here is how to shift your focus from quick short-term results to sustainable long-term habits:

Change your goals from a specific number on the scale to making goals that revolve around creating eating habits that are supportive and sustainable for you on a daily basis.

By shifting your focus from dropping weight quickly to focusing on the small action steps you can do on a daily basis, you are looking at the overall picture.

Like I mentioned before, health is not just the food you are eating. It is also your mindset, gut health, movement, stress management, thought management and sleep.

This means your goals need to be well-rounded and not only focused on the number on the scale.

weight loss dietitian journaling about weight loss mindset
Taking the time to journal and get clear on your weight loss goals is important for taking intentional action

Here is an exercise that can help you gain clarity on your overall health vision. Grab a piece of paper and write the answers to the following questions. Be as specific as possible. 

Ask yourself:

  1. What  are your specific health goals and why? Choose 7-10 health goals total.
  2. How do you want to feel a year from now?
  3. What are the steps you need to take on a daily basis to help you get closer to each of these goals?
  4. What are the top 2 action steps you can start doing today that will help you get started?
  5. How will you incorporate these action steps into your life right now?

This helps you gain a clearer picture of what it is you actually want and helps you become more intentional and aligned with what YOU want. PS usually your weight loss goals are much deeper than wanting to fit into a smaller size jean.

For example, people tend to think that losing weight will cause them to be happier when in reality they are lonely and are longing for a friend or spouse and weight loss will not help fill that void. Or losing weight may help you use the stairs without feeling winded, or allows you to play with your toddlers until THEY are done not when YOU are tired.

Really think through your goals and what you truly want. This also helps you understand the gaps in your life and gives you clear steps to helping you close the gap. 

Finally, ask yourself if the action steps you have decided on will support your body, lifestyle, and the vision you have for yourself in the long-term.

3. Tune into your body to really understand how you feel 

Another weight loss mindset shift that needs to happen is letting go of feeling like you need to follow diets even when they do not feel good. This is especially true for women who follow low carb and low calorie diets thinking that it will get them the best results but makes them tired, cranky, shaky and other negative side effects.

Click here to read the blog post I wrote about women, dieting and hormones.

Instead of following someone else’s food rules, you need to learn how to listen to your own body.

If eating a very low carb diet doesn’t make you feel good, then that is not a diet you need to be following. 

Take the time to tune into your own body and listen to the signals of how different foods make you feel. When eating, remove all distractions and see how you feel before, during and after your meals and snacks.

Finding a way to eat a balanced, healthy meal while being able to enjoy your favorite foods without feeling out of control around them is what you want, isn’t it?

That’s where most diets fail you. It’s because they restrict or eliminate foods you typically enjoy to eat and that is not sustainable.

In my signature program, the goal is to be able to eat ALL of your favorite foods without any restriction or elimination because your eating habits need support you for LIFE, not just the short term.

Unfortunately, even when you do the hard word of changing your weight loss mindset, your old beliefs and thoughts may still linger in the back of your mind and can pull you back into old ways of thinking. It is very important to become aware fo these thoughts because with awareness, you can quickly catch the thoughts and reframe them to something more positive and productive.

For example, when you think that eating chocolate is bad, you can quickly change this thought by stating, “there are no good foods or bad foods and I can enjoy a piece of chocolate mindfully without feeling out of control around it.”

Being able to trust yourself and gaining the confidence to make the best choice for your body is so empowering and that’s what I want for you. Know that it is possible to live a life where you live around food with peace, feel amazing in your body, look great physically and be able to enjoy all of life’s beautiful moments. 

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