Weight Loss Support - mind or nevermind?




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Unna
11-14-2011, 11:20 AM
Someone dear to me used to tell me (when I was an overweight teen) that weight loss was also very psychological. The more you yourself believed that it was happening, the more weight would come off.

I really can't remember his exact words.

Anyway, Must our personalities become skinny first for our bodies follow? I'm not talking about instilling new habits, of course that happens. I'm talking about entering a different frame of mind.

If we dredge around all day, believing that what we are doing is not working, does that mean the scale will barely budge?

This isn't about changing habits. Its more of a frame of mind.

I'm not a *hocus pocus* type person, but how much have you found this to be true, if at all?


Esofia
11-14-2011, 11:37 AM
If we dredge around all day, believing that what we are doing is not working, does that mean the scale will barely budge?

No, but it will make it harder to keep motivated and thus to keep going with the weight loss plan.

bargoo
11-14-2011, 11:42 AM
If you believe it will happen, only if you DO something to make it happen.


carter
11-14-2011, 11:57 AM
No, but it will make it harder to keep motivated and thus to keep going with the weight loss plan.

Yeah, I have to agree with Esofia on this. There is no magic to mind-over-matter. It's simply that weight loss is difficult; it's not an instant gratification thing, the hard work you put into it doesn't always pay off in immediate, tangible ways. It takes determination, patience, and plain will. So it follows naturally that if you believe that there's no point, that whatever you do isn't going to work, then it won't take very long before you lose the determination, lose the patience, and fail to exercise the will.

It's not magic or hocus-pocus - it's simply a self-fulfilling prophecy.

HikingChloe
11-14-2011, 11:58 AM
I have noticed that when I am positive and focus on having a positive outlook it helps make healthy goals easier to achieve and less of a challenge to stick to.

I am totally one of those people that will look up a few affirmations for the day or take some time to make sure I am expressing gratitude and I totally notice a difference in my outlook and approach to all the challenges in my life. :) I think the mind is very important. Especially for someone like me who doesn't tend to be very competitively or stubbornly driven.

Sunshine73
11-14-2011, 03:39 PM
Interesting thought - of course you HAVE to do something to change your body - but I think most of us can agree that 'dieting' (for lack of a better term) isn't a one size fits all solution. For me it was carbs. I cut the carbs, actually ended up eating more calories and moving less (got lazy, stopped exercising regularly) and I STILL lost more weight in the last 5 1/2 months (60ish pounds) than I did in the entire previous year when I was exercising regularly, eating what the doctor's recommend and cutting calories (somewhere around 5 pounds).

Now, hard mathematical science would say that my experience is a mathematical impossibility - calories in/calories out, right? Only I know that it worked for me. So could there be a large psychological component to our weight loss (or lack thereof)? There just might be. The mind is a powerful tool when it comes to anything.

tuende
11-14-2011, 04:20 PM
My first thought was self-fulfilling prophecy too. I think we create our own reality to a certain extent. If you believe you'll be fat forever, your behaviors will follow and you probably will stay fat. If you believe that you have the ability to make changes and that through hard work you can accomplish your goals, chances are will put in the work and get to your goal. Of course there are external factors, things out of our control, etc. but at a basic level, I think that you need to change your mind before you change your body. While I really do believe in the power of positive thinking and think it is important in reaching for any goal, if I could simply positive-think away the pounds I'd probably be at goal by now ;).

JayEll
11-14-2011, 04:32 PM
Hey, Unna! :wave:

I think it does make a difference how one thinks about oneself. If someone has self-talk that says, "I'll never lose weight, I'm always going to be fat, I can't control myself, I'm just a big slacker, etc." then that can't help but bring them down. OTOH, if the self-talk is, "I'm trying. I did OK this morning/afternoon/evening, I can change, I have a choice, I'm up for keeping on, etc." then that can't help but keep them going.

Is it magic? Well, yes and no. I heard a speaker say, "You can put a pot of water and rice on the stovetop, and pray day and night for cooked rice--but if you don't turn on the burner, it doesn't matter how much you pray, you won't get cooked rice."

Carrying that analogy further, if you get the rice, put it in a pot with the right amount of water, turn on the burner, and follow directions, there is no way you will not get cooked rice!

A positive attitude always helps more than a negative one, but even with a negative attitude, success is possible. It may be harder, but it's possible. You can get cooked rice even if you don't believe in the process--just don't let your negative attitude lead you to turn off the burner!

Jay

Zoseph
11-14-2011, 05:09 PM
Both of my parents are psychologists so I grew up in an environment that taught me how to be introspective and very analytical of why I act/say/think the way I do. I've recently stopped telling myself that I'm "trying" to lose weight and instead have the frame of mind that I "am" losing weight because I think this is true. I completely believe that your mindset can affect your weight loss, however subconscious some thoughts are.

yoyoma
11-14-2011, 06:25 PM
I think that one reason that 3FC can be so helpful to people is the before/after stories and pictures (not that the forums aren't also a godsend). These allow us to see that real people with real problems in similar situations to ourselves can succeed at weight lost (and maintenance!). Many of use get to the point that we just don't believe we can lose weight (or keep it off), but when we see others can do it, we can be inspired to know that we can too. And I do think that helps many of us to actually achieve goals that we see can be reached.

If we didn't have some choice or measure of control over our diet and exercise (think prisoners of war) then I guess the mind game would be less important in terms of weight loss outcome. But most of us have to win the battle in our heads in order to eat right and exercise.

kaplods
11-14-2011, 06:44 PM
I believe that frame of mind does have a strong impact, but this "dream it - be it" mindset is often taken to ridiculous extremes and is used to "blame the victim." If you're not succeeding, or not succeeding at an acceptable pace, despite obvious great effort - you're somehow at fault, for not believing enough to make it happen.

I don't believe that you can believe yourself thin. Having the wrong mindset can't keep you from losing weight, if you've made the behavior changes necessary.

In fact, I can attest to that for myself. Before I started "this" weight loss attempt, I wasn't confident in my ability to lose weight. In fact, I was convinced that long-term weight loss wasn't possible for me - but I decided that I was going to work at making healthy lifestyle changes, and would commit to those changes even if no weight loss resulted. Eventually, I started losing weight as a result of those changes, to my great surprise.

In many ways, I have succeeded "despite myself." My lack of faith probably did influence how much effort I was willing to put into these changes, so no doubt my success would have been speedier if I had been more confident in my ability - but my lack of confidence did not prevent me from losing weight.

I think we put too much emphasis on "mindset" when it comes to weight loss. You don't have to be "ready" for weight loss, you just have to be "ready" to make some changes and be willing to see what hapens.

Stress can slow weight loss (but it's not magic - stress releases hormones that can slow metabolism), so pessimism can have an effect, but the effect is limited. You can't prevent starvation by believing you don't need food, and you can't prevent weight loss with thoughts either.

"Mind over matter," is extremely limited. Behavior is the more salient factor. If your mindset reinforces the behavior, all the better - but you don't have to wait for the perfect mindset in order to make changes and succeed at them.

theox
11-14-2011, 07:28 PM
I agree with Esofia and kaplods. Actions are what matter most, not thoughts.

marigrace
11-14-2011, 08:16 PM
Action is necessary, but visualization, is a form of manifestation. It all begins in the mind.
Example: There have been times when I have lost a lot of weight, but a few days of indiscriminate eating have caused me to FEEL fat . In reality, I didn't really gain more than a few ounces, and a lot of water weight, but the image I had of myself propelled me into gaining back all the weight I had worked so hard to loose. I simply didn't believe anymore. The upside is that if you can see yourself as successful, you can make it real.

Steph7409
11-14-2011, 08:39 PM
I believe that frame of mind does have a strong impact, but this "dream it - be it" mindset is often taken to ridiculous extremes and is used to "blame the victim." If you're not succeeding, or not succeeding at an acceptable pace, despite obvious great effort - you're somehow at fault, for not believing enough to make it happen.


This. It's a short step from that kind of thinking to blaming people who get cancer.

I'm not a particularly optimistic person but I decided to change my eating habits and have stuck with it for what is for me a good stretch of time. For me, it's all about behavior. I sometimes wish thinking positive thoughts worked for me but I'm successful only when my actions are in line with my goals.

birdfeet
11-14-2011, 09:00 PM
:carrot:Someone dear to me used to tell me (when I was an overweight teen) that weight loss was also very psychological. The more you yourself believed that it was happening, the more weight would come off.

I really can't remember his exact words.

Anyway, Must our personalities become skinny first for our bodies follow? I'm not talking about instilling new habits, of course that happens. I'm talking about entering a different frame of mind.

If we dredge around all day, believing that what we are doing is not working, does that mean the scale will barely budge?

This isn't about changing habits. Its more of a frame of mind.

I'm not a *hocus pocus* type person, but how much have you found this to be true, if at all?

I believe this is very true but until I read this wasn't sure what the changes was I am going through were about. It has happened and is still happening the way you have mentioned. Thanks for sharing. I would like to share your knowledge with others also.

Esofia
11-15-2011, 04:35 AM
This. It's a short step from that kind of thinking to blaming people who get cancer.

And unfortunately this is surprisingly common. I expect to get people blaming me for having an invisible illness where the fact that it's hugely disabling and has quite a death rate isn't talked about (ME/CFIDS; incidentally I learned yesterday that it apparently knocks about 25 years off your life expectancy on average, and I have it severely, so I'm still in shock about that). It's horrible but I'm used to it by now. What really surprised me was when my mother mentioned that when she had cancer, people kept on blaming her for that, and you'd think cancer patients wouldn't get that nonsense, since people are relatively sympathetic about cancer. Apparently it was her fault that she wasn't yet cured because she wasn't doing enough positive thinking/yoga/eating raw vegetables/whatever.

JayEll
11-15-2011, 06:42 AM
Yeah, positive thinking doesn't necessarily change the situation or outcome. That's not the idea. What it changes is the person's attitude toward what's happening.

I saw a cancer doctor quoted recently. He said that he had had patients with the most upbeat, positive attitude in the world die in under six months, and other patients who were totally negative about everything live on and on for years. His point was what's been stated above: having a "good attitude" is not the whole story.

I guess it's a matter of how one personally wants to live--in a cloud of negativity, or a cloud of positivity. I'd rather feel positive about my progress, whatever it may be.

Jay

goodbyefatness
11-15-2011, 07:12 AM
Interesting to see different peoples views!

For me, i can never lose weight when im not focused mentally - i have to be in the "zone" lol

Esofia
11-15-2011, 07:28 AM
JayEll - Good point. Positive realism, maybe? With chronic illness, you end up living in a weird sort of doublethink. On the one hand, you don't want to be living in a cloud of negativity, it's unpleasant for you and everyone around you and it can hinder certain things. Sitting around all day thinking, "Woe, woe, woe!" doesn't get you anywhere. On the other hand, this can end up sliding you into a state of denial. At worst you can end up refusing to believe that you're really ill, including such dangerous actions as refusing essential medical treatment and also driving your nearest and dearest up the wall. When it's done reasonably healthily, it tends to involve pootling along in a fairly chirpy state and not thinking too much about things you can't help, and then having a dickens of a time readjusting when you really do have to pay attention to the bad stuff, say for talking to a doctor or filling out welfare benefits forms.

I'm not entirely sure how that applies to weight loss, but I have noticed the doublethink thing going on here as well. You need to accept that you're overweight and need to lose the extra weight, and that it's difficult and hard work to do so, but dwelling on how unpleasant it is to be overweight and how tough the weight loss process is can tip you over into feeling so miserable that you curl into a ball and give up on the whole thing.

twinieten
11-15-2011, 08:25 AM
I like how Jay put it. I love the idea of "The Secret" and thinking and believing will make it happen..... it doesn't work. I can't even understand people who constantly think so positively all of the time, at the expense of just letting themselves feel what they feel. C'mon... wallow in some self pity once in a while! Then wipe the tears and move on!

However, I find that my attitude does affect my behavior. I tend to make better choices, feel like I have more control, exercise more often, and feel better in general if I keep my thoughts positive.

I'm not losing weight fast. I'm often frustrated with the whole thing. But the moment I start feeling defeated, and I start thinking about how it's just not working and it's never going to work, that's when trouble starts. That's when I lose control, and lose my focus. That's when I gain a few.

I do think what you think affects what you feel. And what you feel and think affects your progress and goals. Sometimes results have to fuel the thoughts, and sometimes the thoughts have to keep you going in order to achieve results. Negative self talk won't get you as far.