Want to Lose Weight? Stop Saying These 5 Things

Article posted in: Lifestyle
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It’s easy to talk yourself out of sticking to your diet. The world around you is full of temptations, it’s difficult to drum up t he motivation to lose weight, and you can be your own worst enemy just by listening to your own inner conversation—especially if you tend to be hypercritical of yourself. Here are a few self-defeating phrases never to utter again if you really want to lose weight:

1. Any sentence that contains the words “can’t,” “don’t,” “always” or “never.”

As in, “I’ll never be able to stick to this long enough to lose weight,” or “I can’t eat anything I really like,” or “I know I’ll blow it—I always do,” or “I’ll always be fat.” Psychologists call this negative self-talk and all it serves to do is create its own reality. Believe you can’t, and you can’t. Believe you’ve always been and you always will be. In her research, Kristin Neff, Ph.D. associate professor of human development and culture at the University of Texas at Austin, found that treating yourself with kindness—she calls it self-compassion—is a better motivator than self-criticism. “Many people think that self-criticism is necessary to motivate themselves, and that if they’re too self-compassionate they’ll just sit around all day watching TV and eating ice cream,” she writes in her book, The Science of Self-Compassion. The reality: Being more compassionate to yourself makes you far more likely to do what’s good for you, like eating right and exercising. We’re much nicer to people we like.

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2. “I’ll exercise later.”

For exercise to become a habit, it can’t be something you fit into your day if you have the time. You need to take the thinking out of it. A study by researchers at Iowa State University found that the people who were the most consistent exercisers were those who jumped into action when triggered by a cue, like their alarm going off at the same time every day. The idea is to make exercise automatic, not a daily decision.

3. “I need to lose weight for my reunion.”

If your reunion is a year away, that could be a great goal, but if it’s in six weeks, you may have unrealistic expectations about how many pounds you can actually drop before you meet up with your old cheerleading squad. In fact, many experts say the best motivation for losing weight for most people isn’t looking better in their clothes—though that’s bonus—but in feeling better and being healthier. Setting unrealistic goals—like losing 30 pounds in six weeks—can leave you disappointed and depressed. And that can lead to unhealthy emotional eating. Experts at The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute—who want you to lose weight for your heart–recommend setting two or three manageable goals that are “specific, attainable and forgiving (less than perfect).”

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4. “Sure, wherever you want to eat is fine.”

Really? You’re going to be okay at the all-you-can-eat diner breakfast bar? No, no you’re not. When you’re dieting, you’re better off choosing the restaurant. According to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, you should pick a dining-out spot where you’ve investigated the menu online and know there are dishes that meet your diet plan while making your dining companions happy too.

5. “I’ve totally blown it!”

You overindulged. A lot. You feel disappointed in yourself and defeated. The problem is, you’re likely to follow up by saying, “Oh, the heck with it” and overindulging some more or by skipping meals the next day. Both wrong moves. Experts recommend just getting back on track by following your eating program and exercise regime as if nothing had happened. And you might even lose weight. That little blip of overeating—as long as it doesn’t continue—might boost your metabolism slightly (one study found a range of 8 to 40 percent) to burn more calories. Just be forewarned: Overeating consistently can trigger a brain response that makes you want to eat more and more, according to a study in mice published in the journal, Cell.