There is a strong link between weight loss and psychology. Like many things we do for ourselves, we need to consider our brains and what they need. We may also need to understand why we are doing this thing for ourselves. What is the point? What is the goal? What is the best way to get to this milestone? What journey is the most long-lasting? How did we end up in this situation? What forms of fitness do we enjoy? What should we actually be eating? There are many questions but the answers don’t have to be complicated.
Weight loss is typically achieved with the proper balance of exercise and eating habits. Both of these things are controlled by our brains. Let’s dig a little deeper here. Here are ten things to know about the psychology of weight loss.
Lifestyle is everything.
A desire for weight loss is typically a result of someone’s lifestyle. However, it should be noted that sometimes people’s weight is a result of a health condition or a medication. Aside from this, lifestyle choices can lead to this desire or need. Successfully losing weight is also determined by lifestyle choice. It is an all around commitment. It changes physical activities, daily food intake, sleep schedule, and so much more. Our lifestyle choices are a representation of where we are at psychologically as well as where we want to be at.
Learning healthy eating habits is the biggest feat.
Obesity can be a result of unhealthy eating habits. These unhealthy habits can be formed at any age and can exist for many different reasons. Some parents never make healthy food a priority or teach their children about these things. Some people never learn to cook or do the research on what they need. Often times…life is busy! This can result in always choosing quick and easy food to take on the go. However, all these things can be easily fixed once we learn and practice good habits. Because at the end of the day…when we eat well, we feel good.
Discipline isn’t always the best option.
One of the major psychological links for successful weight loss is moderation. Losing weight shouldn’t feel like a military program. Strict diet fads don’t work long term. They tend to result in unhealthy cravings or binge eating once the diet is over. Discipline for exercise routines can be nice but it also shouldn’t feel like torture! For most people, making small adjustments over time is the best way to continue to lose weight. It is the healthiest option for both physical and mental health.
New food can be exciting!
As we mentioned before, the desire for weight loss is typically found because of poor eating habits. So when looking to lose weight, we need to leave our comfort zones with our meals and snacks. While this can be intimidating, it can also be exciting! Vegetables, healthy grains, protein, and clean snacks are the goal but what are the most delicious ways to consume all of those things? A new diet can mean buying new cook books, finding inspiring food blogs, trying out recipes with friends or a partner, and learning what works with what. Once our brains make the switch, the fun begins!
We are psychologically trained to over eat.
Throughout evolution, our species has learned that eating means survival. Because of this, our ancestors may have over eaten to fulfill their hunger. When we are struggling to find food every day, our brains are essentially starving as well. This may lead to over-eating.
Now, if we are fortunate enough…there is food all around us. It is easily accessible – whether it be a grocery store, farmer’s market, restaurant, fast food chain, or a food delivery website or app. Food is all around us! Plus, the portions are huge! This only furthers our psychological impulse to over-eat. When this isn’t properly managed, obesity can easily become a problem.
Obesity is not uncommon.
Obesity is not a rarity in our modern world. As mentioned in our previous point, many of us are surrounded with an abundance of food. And with humans’ history of struggling to find enough food, of course having this abundance means we have succeeded. With the ability to grow, create, and sell food just about anywhere now, this also means that our economy is reaping the benefits. Food is now made cheaper and quicker with the help of poor quality ingredients. This isn’t helping when it comes to obesity or losing weight.
Being able to consume enough food to cause obesity means that we are no longer struggling. However, just because obesity is not uncommon does not mean that is healthy.
Meal prepping helps keep our brains on track.
Meal prepping has been shown to not only physically help with weight loss, but it also helps mentally. Meal prepping helps us save money, spend less time grocery shopping, and help us manage our time more! When healthy meals are ready to go, our unhealthy options are limited. We are less likely to give into cravings. It also helps us to mentally know what we are going to eat and when we are going to eat it. When our path is right in front of us it’s way easier to continue traveling down it. There are fewer road blocks when there are fewer question marks.
The other advantage to cooking your own meals is that it creates a psychological bond with our food. We created it, we payed for it, we savor it.
We all get cravings but there are healthy replacements.
A food craving is a strong desire for a certain type of food. However, a craving doesn’t mean that we are just hungry. A craving means that our bodies are lacking a certain type of nutrients. This is key when it comes to weight loss. Simply giving into our cravings may not help us on our weight loss journey if the food we are craving is unhealthy for us. Learning the nutrients our bodies are actually desiring is the goal. Finding a healthy way to feed that craving is the goal.
You don’t need a full meal to satisfy a hungry stomach.
When our brain tells us that we are hungry, it doesn’t mean that it’s time to cook a three course meal. We need to psychologically understand what type of hungry we are. Depending on the weight loss journey, there may not be many large meals throughout the day. This means snacks! This means healthy snacks! This can mentally be a challenge at first, but understanding that our stomachs do not need a ton of food to feel full is key. Small snacks also give us more energy and keep our brains sharp and active.
Getting off track is okay as long as it’s recognized!
Weight loss can be a difficult journey. It can be a psychological journey, as well as a physical one. And with any mental journey, there may be slip ups. It’s okay to not be perfect. It’s okay slip up sometimes. However, there may be a reason why that craving won. There may be a reason why the gym hasn’t been our friend lately. There may be a reason why meal prepping just didn’t happen. Falling off track is totally understandable, but we may want to analyze why it happened! If we do that, we may be able to avoid it in the future.