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Think Healthy Weight: Your Brain's Role in Weight Loss

What you think may be contributing to your unhealthy weight!

The truth is that your brain may be the biggest thing standing between you and weight loss. From your ability to make healthy decisions to your stress levels, your brain is working overtime when you are in weight loss mode. And if your brain isn’t on board with your weight loss goals, you can’t expect to be successful.

Why is that?

This is because your brain is the key player behind how you feel and how you decide to act and those two determining factors are everything when it comes to weight loss. To successfully get to a healthy weight you have to adopt a healthy weight mindset. You have to learn to develop a relationship with food that isn’t based on guilt, comfort, or boredom. And for most people struggling to lose some weight, that means rewiring their brains for slimmer thinking.

How do you learn to think like a person at a healthy weight?

There are really three basic concepts that anyone trying to lose weight should learn to embrace;

First, change your negative thought patterns.

Second, learn to focus on fitness / health, not weight.

And third, love your whole self.

Training your brain to do these three tasks will result in better weight loss and a stronger likelihood that you will maintain your loss in the future.

Change Your Negative Thought Patterns.

There is an inherent link between what you think, how you feel, and what you do. Once thinking goes sideways, feeling sad, shameful, angry, or guilty usually follows, and those emotions cause us to overeat and or make poor decisions that result in an ever growing waistline and more guilt, shame, and anger. It’s a bitter cycle that doesn’t leave much room for hope.

Some of the negative patterns to be aware of include:

All-or-nothing thinking—that crazy judgmental thinking that leads us to eat ice-cream all day because we made one poor choice in the morning, or skip working out altogether because we only have half an hour, or give up our efforts to lose weight completely because we didn’t lose ten pounds in the first week.

Emotional eating—using food to comfort, to celebrate, or to punish ourselves based on how we feel.

Blaming—identifying weight as the cause for all of our unhappiness and assuming that if we were at a more healthy weight, we would have no problems.

Comparing—judging our own success and failure based on others.

Playing the numbers game—linking our happiness or sense of self worth to numbers on the scale or the tag in our clothing.

These old habits are all learned behaviors. You learned these self-defeating behaviors and you are fully capable of learning new, uplifting behaviors. Your brain wants to make things simple. It wants to create neural pathways that streamline your thinking. For some people, therapy or counseling might be necessary to tackle the negatives holding them back, but many people can be successful just by getting their brain on board.

Make your brain help you lose weight. Here’s how:

First, get motivated. Find the reasons that you really want to get in shape. Be clear and specific and write them down. Use those reasons to stay on track every day. Review, re-read, and commit. Over and over and over. Put a post-it note with your goal and/or reasons in a prominent place that you will see daily.

Second, plan EVERYTHING. Stop flying by the seat of your pants and get yourself organised. A half hearted effort at taking good care of yourself is reaping exactly zero rewards. Time to make yourself a priority and plan what you will eat and how you will get your activity in everyday. Losing weight is serious business and serious business requires serious action...they can be small actions and changes, but still serious.

Third, stop self-sabotage. Your own thinking is the real reason you can’t lose weight and keep it off. In order to get to the healthy weight you deserve, you have to stop giving in to poor choices and using the sense of failure that goes with it to keep yourself from succeeding. Accept that you are a work in progress and give yourself the support you need to reclaim your health.

Fourth, learn to deal with being hungry. Losing weight means eating less and that may mean you experience some hunger. Actually, hunger is a good thing, and you should be getting hungry before your next meal, just not ravenous as that may cause overeating. However, you need to train your brain to distinguish between hunger and cravings. More often than not what we experience on a weight loss diet isn’t actually hunger at all. It’s our brain longing for the quick highs it’s come to love like sugar, fat and carbs.

Focus on Fitness / Health, not Weight

Healthy people don’t need to worry about losing weight. That frees up a lot of time! That allows them to think about their overall wellbeing rather than how to shed pounds. People trying to lose weight often give food more power than it deserves, using it as a coping mechanism rather than a nutrition source. Imagine how much healthier you would be if what you thought about wasn’t calorie counts and deficits but nutrition and fitness.

Fitness is so much more than a number. If you want to be healthy, start thinking about your fitness as a whole and stop reducing your success to what the scale says. Healthy people don’t worry about the scale. They focus on strength, endurance, and how they feel.

We often judge ourselves based on what we see in the mirror. We get so focussed on how thin or fat we think we look that we nitpick ourselves nearly to death. That focus on weight neglects the real goal behind achieving a healthy weight, which is to live a fuller, happier life. Often small, incremental changes in your habits can help you on your path to a truly healthy weight, not just weight loss. Look at the bigger picture.

Love Your Whole Self

And finally, the most important thing to train your brain if you want to lose weight and live healthy is to value and respect yourself. You are more than your body. You are more than your weight.

As women we often tie our self-esteem to our appearance, sadly reinforced by the media, and now we have the internet and social media, we end up getting bombarded. Our body image controls how we feel about ourselves. For the person who is overweight that can be overwhelming and depressing.

Remind yourself regularly that you are a whole person. Think about your many accomplishments and embrace everything that is in you. Your tight pants don’t define you. You are worthy of love and respect, especially your own.

Losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle is a challenge but one that you are totally up to. You can learn to make better decisions. You can teach yourself to prioritise self-care. You can achieve every one of your health and fitness goals. If you read this far then there's something in you that knows you are capable. You may just need some support in getting there.

You deserve success. You deserve improved health.

Contact me on for a free 'What's It All About?' session to see if coaching may be the way forwards to help you on your path to a healthier, more vibrant lifestyle!

Please note: This article is intended to be for educational purposes only, and does not constitute medical advice or replace professional assessment or personalised advice.

I do not hold responsibility for the information on any links to external websites within this article and information within these links/websites may change at any time or no longer be accessible. Any website pages/links added are also for education purposes only.

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