“If only there were more dieting books…” said no dieter ever.
That’s because any yo-yo dieter will tell you that their weight loss struggles often have little to do with knowing which foods to eat. When it comes to choosing a protein shake over a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, your mindset is key.
Research proves that it takes a positive mindset to make lasting changes in your life, and that includes losing the weight and keeping it off.1 So what does that mean? There are a few main areas where your mental and emotional well-being predict your success:
Believe it or not, just being thankful is enough to tilt the weight loss odds in your favor! That’s because studies prove that the more gratitude you show, the more positive you’ll feel about your life.2
And folks who feel their needs are being met actually produce less ghrelin and cortisol, hormones that help determine whether you feel hungry or stressed.3-5 That’s right – stick to your gratitude journal, and your body actually feels more full and less anxious!
That grudge you’re holding against your mother-in-law or boss at work can actually keep you from losing weight. Ditto for your daily battle with road rage or irritation at your neighbor’s overgrown lawn.
Research shows that people who practice forgiveness are healthier physically and feel less stressed.6,7 That makes them much more likely to succeed at maintaining long-term weight loss.8,9 Time to take a deep breath and let it go for the sake of your own health…
To successfully lose weight and stay healthy, you also need to be part of a community. That might mean a membership at your local gym, volunteering regularly, or joining an online support group.
Research shows that people who are part of a community are more likely to succeed at efforts to get healthier, while those who feel isolated face higher rates of depression and illness.10-12 If your goals include losing weight and staying well, it’s vital that you stay connected and involved!
Resilience is a measure of your ability to stay patient and bounce back from hardship, and its value can be measured in marshmallows. To explain:
In a now-famous study, researchers gave each child participant one marshmallow and prepared to leave the room, with the promise that if the child still had the marshmallow when they returned, they’d give them another one as a reward. The question: enjoy the instant gratification of one marshmallow, or tough it out for 15 minutes and be rewarded with double the candy?
It turns out their choices impacted a lot more than their blood sugar! Fast-forward a decade, and the kids who were patient enough to hold out for the extra marshmallow were more successful in just about every way: better test scores, lower rates of obesity, less substance abuse…13
Further research proves that being able to handle challenges with patience and positivity means you’ll live a longer, healthier life.14
So the next time the numbers on the scale or your jeans size start creeping up, it’s time to look at more than what’s on your dinner plate! Find ways to stay grateful, compassionate, and connected, and you’ll find it much easier to get fit and healthy.
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