New Year and a New You: 11 Keys to the Mental Side of Weight Management

As the holiday season comes to a close, many of us begin to think about the New Year and making New Year’s resolutions. One of the most common resolutions made is to lose weight.
There are many steps in any given weight management plan: food journaling, meal planning, kitchen makeover, food shopping and preparation, supplements and special food products, exercise regimes, tracking your weight and/or specific body measurements like your waistline. If this sound intimidating, then it’s no wonder that weight management is one of the most challenging New Year’s resolutions to keep.

But you often miss the most important first aspect to weight management.
Mental preparation for weight management involves a deep and honest examination and evaluation of yourself. This can be a very daunting task, but it is a necessary component to your weight management.

As you go through these mental preparations, it is important to write down your answers to these questions. Having these answers to refer back to will help you achieve your goals.

1. Why do you want to lose weight?
Your motivation for losing weight should begin as an act of self-love. Your body is your own, and you get to decide what to do with it. This also involves a close examination as to what you do not like about yourself, physically and emotionally, and what you want to change. Whether you want to be able to play with your children or grandchildren, have a medical risks, or just improve your physical appearance, you motivation must be meaningful to you.

2. Examine the negative things that you associate with weight management.
You’ve been conditioned to think that weight management is scary, difficult, and painful. But weight management, though challenging, is an opportunity for positive growth to your physical and emotional well-being. Convert the idea of the pain of losing weight into the idea of the pleasures associated with no longer having that weight. Additionally, if have you ever attempted a weight management program, was it the right one for you? Why did it not work for you? Do those negative associations to weight management still resonate with you?

3. Are there emotional restrictions or stressors affect your weight management?
Is it work or school? Relationships with others? Relationships with food? Do you have positive ways to address these issues? Being able too free yourself from unnecessary strife will allow you to direct that energy to more positive aspects of your life.

4. Identify behaviors that contribute to weight gain.
Whether it’s being a couch potato munching on unhealthy snacks, the daily trip to the coffee shop for the latest seasonal beverage with whipped cream and syrup, or walking past the ice cream aisle in the grocery store, examining your routine will help you identify behaviors that you may amend to meet your weight management goals.

5. Assess if it is the right time. 
This may seem arbitrary. There is never a bad time to start taking control of your health. But if you think your resolve will crumble because you decide to begin just before a vacation or the holidays, then it may not be the right time. Acknowledging your potential weakness is a sign that you’re mentally preparing yourself for the challenges ahead.

6.  Clearly define your weight management goal.
Goals, like life, can change. What you start with may change midstream. And that is okay. Whatever your goal is, be clear about what you want. Once you’ve created your end game, create smaller goals to help you get there: 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year. Accomplishing these mini-milestones do wonders for your morale on your weight management journey. At each milestone, reassess your end goals and amend your strategy to achieve them.

7. Visualize your future self and act as if you have already reached this achievement.
Realistically envision what your ideal weight will look like as well as the positive associations in your outlook and attitudes of your future self. Do you have an ideal target weight or body transformation? Keeping the idea of who and how you want to be in your mind’s eye is incredibly emotionally motivating. When you act as if you have already made these achievements, it is also incredibly motivating to continue with the activities that will help you achieve your goals.

8. Take responsibility.
Obesity may run in your family, but you can choose to focus on your weight management. You can make healthy choices in the grocery stores and restaurants. You can avoid fast food restaurants. You can ask for help. You can forgive yourself for slipping up. Being prepared to take responsibility for your choices make will help you acknowledge the changes that you want to make.

9. Be ready to commit.
Commitment takes an inner resolve to meet the challenges ahead. Focus on every step in your weight management journey, from food journaling to meal planning to exercise. Maintain the energy you will need to make these steps happen, including managing stress and sleep. Shift your mindset to a can-do attitude. With this drive, you’ll continually recommit yourself to your goals.

10. Revisit your responses throughout your weight management journey. 
Like any journal, revisiting how you perceived your former self can be very enlightening. You can see where you were, and how far you have come. When you are doubting yourself, you can remind yourself of your aspirations.

11. Never give up.
Weight management can be a tough endeavor. Forgive yourself if you slip-up. Use the opportunity to recommit yourself to your goals. If you’ve tried many different weight management programs, then you have the most basic mental requirement for weight management: the recognition that you want to change.
Your body, your health, your happiness and freedom from illness and ailments are the paramount for your ultimate well-being.

Take the waning days of the year to mentally prepare yourself for the New Year, an optimal time to begin your weight management journey.

Once you’ve analyzed all of your potential mental hindrances, contact the experts at the Metabolic Medical Centers to develop a weight management plan tailored specifically for you.

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