Weight Management: Using Positive Thinking


Support systems like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can work wonders for patients dealing with a wide variety of health problems, from depression to insomnia. But CBT can also have effects on your diet and weight-loss goals. Requiring a patient to actively identify the triggers of their negative thinking, CBT encourages the practice of alternative, positive responses. Cognitive therapists promote this positive thinking as a way to change eating behaviors.

And its not just talk: A 2005 Swedish study found that participants in a 10-week cognitive therapy treatment program maintained their weight loss or lost more weight 18 months after the program ended, while participants who did not receive the therapy gained weight over the same time period.

Weight loss is a difficult process, but simply having a positive attitude will make the challenge easier. According to a 2003 study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, as self-efficacy improved in young adults, eating habits improved and weight loss increased.

With time and patience, you can change how you think about weight loss. Try these three tips to use your brain in the battle of the bulge.

Be realistic. Studies have shown that when weight-loss patients set unrealistic goals, they don't lose as much weight. Instead, set attainable goals, like losing five pounds in a month.

Don't beat yourself up. If you cave in to that cupcake craving, don't obsess over it or let it trigger a binge. Instead, get back on track right away and vow to eat more veggies at dinner.

Stress less. People often use food to deal with stress. Start by analyzing what's causing the stress in the first place, and then come up with a plan that involves something other than food. If a negative comment from your boss has you running for the vending machine, next time try watching a funny YouTube video, emailing a good friend, or simply going for a walk outside; many different tactics can be used. You may even consider seeing a mental health professional or someone who deals with stress-management techniques.

Read more about how to train your brain to create a thinner, happier you.