*This is a guest post. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect my own.
For years, I was like everyone else. I made New Year’s resolutions to get healthier only to fail one week in. But this year, I did something different and lost over 80 pounds in 2018. I changed my approach and mind to the weight loss resolution and it worked. Today, I can proudly say I am one of the 8 percent who actually succeeded with my weight loss resolution.
So, how did I do it? I changed the way I think of food – with these 7 psychological habits.
- I learned to identify the relationship between my emotions and my cravings.
In 2018, I finally learned to identify what emotions of mine trigger specific cravings. I’m now aware of the fact that certain moods I experience (i.e. being sad) make me more prone to craving sweets, while other moods (i.e. being bored) spark a thirst for beer. Overall, this psychological habit helps me pinpoint why I crave specific foods, helping me overcome my cravings.
- I got rid of the word “forbidden” from my vocabulary.
In the last year, I’ve let go of the idea of “forbidden” food. In fact, instead of getting rid of specific foods from my diet, I’ve actually added foods over these past few months. That said, I have met my goals by largely overhauling – and paying more mind to – what I eat. Still, I continue to have occasional indulgences here and there… and have really enjoyed them!
- I found my inspiration.
In order to lose weight, you’ve got to find what inspires you. For me, it’s scouring the Internet for before-and-after weight loss success stories in blogs and YouTube. It’s so valuable to me to see other people who have accomplished similar goals. Plus, I get to learn some tips from them as well.
- I became mindful of how environment impacts behavior.
Where you are influences how you behave – and eat. As a result, my weight loss journey has made me more mindful of how my environment affects what I consume. For instance, I now know that if I choose to go to a happy hour after work, I will not only drink at least two cocktails, but probably snack on some savory-but-not-so-healthy appetizers. For this reason, I now only limit myself to two happy hours a month.
- I trained my mind – and body – to plan ahead.
My new mantra in life is: Plan, plan, plan! Meal prep has been one of the biggest strategies for me to eat healthier and more mindfully. Rather than relying on fast food near my office, I now prepare lunches for the week every Sunday and have those ready to grab on my way out the door every morning on the way to work.
- I found a partner to help me through my moments of weakness.
Any time I’ve had a struggle with my resolution, I knew I had a great safety net of people who helped me regain my focus and push forward toward my goal. Namely, I’ve had a lot of support from my husband, Keith. In previous years, I failed at my weight loss resolution. This year, I changed my mindset and there is no doubt that it contributed to my success, along with my husband’s support.
- I got a personal health coach in my pocket.
Yes, this isn’t a psychological habit per se – still, having a personal health coach in the palm of my hand has provided me with not just the emotional support I’ve needed to complete my weight loss resolution, but with helpful tips and accountability for my actions. Specifically, I’ve had a lot of support from my health coach – Peppiina – with the weight loss program, Noom. Peppiina has my back, providing me with personalized eating plans, and giving me nudges when I begin to slack. For example, let’s say I go out to eat and have a big dinner with my husband that exceeds my daily calorie budget. The next day, I would discuss this setback with Peppiina, and she would suggest ways to improve for the next time I face that situation. Overall, I’ve never had a situation where I felt that the guidance I received from Peppiina was to eat less following a “bad” day.
Now that 2019 is right around the corner, I’m no longer pushing for more weight loss. Instead, I’m transitioning into becoming more fit though increased weight training exercises – and I’ll be applying these same tips to succeed yet again.
About the author:
Matt Moore-Waitkus is an Academic Advisor at The Ohio State University. A self-described nerd and bourbon aficionado, he’s a Wildcat transplanted in Buckeye Country.