Attitude and Weight Loss: Throw Away Negative Thoughts

January 28, 2013

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trash negative thoughtsWhen Henry Ford said, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right,” he wasn’t talking about weight loss, but according to a recent study on the effects our thoughts have on our actions, Ford’s quote couldn’t be more on target.

What thoughts come to mind when you think about your weight loss goal? For many people those thoughts tend to center around the many reasons they won’t or can’t reach their goal, rather than focus on how they will.

Some examples include thoughts about how difficult, uncomfortable, agonizing, or impossible the task of dropping excess pounds will be. Perhaps past failed attempts to lose weight come to mind.

Lurking even deeper might be fears of change, what others will think, or even anger or grief that being overweight is unfair.

Whatever the negative thoughts about weight loss or your ability to reach your goal might be, becoming aware of them is the first step in getting rid of these mental roadblocks that may be holding you back from success.

In the study, researchers had participants write down their negative thoughts. Then, they could either rip up the paper or edit it, replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, and save the paper.

To their surprise, the group that physically destroyed and discarded their written negative thoughts were much more likely to mentally discard them as well, while those who corrected their thoughts but saved them continued to harbor negative beliefs.

Researchers found the effect was far greater when participants wrote down their thoughts to throw away as opposed to those who imagined throwing their thoughts away.

So, how can all this help you achieve weight loss success? Try it yourself! Make a written list of all of the negative thoughts that keep you falling short of your goals. Then, rip your list up and trash it.

Likewise, you can also make a written list of upbeat, positive, and affirming thoughts about how you will reach your goals. Keep this list in a safe place.

Your attitude, made up of various thoughts and beliefs, is just as important as calories and exercise when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off.  And the good news is you are in complete control.

So why not get out a paper and pen right now and put this simple but powerful discovery to work? You’ll be glad you did!

Dr. Michael Kaplan

Founder and Chief Medical Officer

The Center for Medical Weight Loss

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