When it comes to losing weight and getting healthy, we tend to focus primarily on our habits and behaviours – what we eat and how we move, for example. But losing weight is also about our thoughts and beliefs – in other words, it’s as much a mental game as it is a physical one.
If you’ve tried unsuccessfully to lose weight in the past, you might have found maintaining weight loss motivation a challenge over the longer term. So as part of our Start Strong and Stay Strong focus, we’re helping you cultivate a weight loss mindset, to increase your chances of success with CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet.
‘Mindset’ refers to the perceptions and beliefs you have about yourself, which influence your behaviour, outlook and attitude. For example, if you believe you are likely to fail, you may be more likely to give up on a weight-loss program when you hit setbacks along your journey. That’s because self-defeating thinking patterns can make weight management difficult.
By contrast, if you believe you are capable of adapting to change and picking up new healthy habits successfully, that may help with diet motivation. Making sure setbacks and struggles don’t adversely affect a positive attitude about your weight loss journey is one aspect of a helpful weight loss mindset.
According to CSIRO behavioural scientist Dr Emily Brindal, your mindset can make a big difference to weight loss motivation and success.
“When you’re trying to change your behaviour, your mindset is really important. And the great news is that it’s something you can change,” she says. “It’s something you can improve, you can feel better about yourself, you can feel better about your environment. And we know that when people feel happier and more positive, they’re more likely to try harder to reach their goals and continue along a challenging journey.”
Taking a longer-term perspective to weight loss is one way to build a healthy weight loss mindset, Dr Brindal says.
“2020 was a hard year for people’s minds and bodies, and going forward people are looking to reset and reclaim those things,” she says. “But we don’t want people to just make a spur-of-the-moment New Year’s resolution because we want it to last – so we want people to sit back, think about why they want to do the program, their motivations and their passions, so they can maintain their behaviours as they go forward.”
If you’re looking to improve diet motivation, understanding your mindset is a great place to start.
To help you learn more about your own mindset, the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet has launched the Start Strong Diet Quiz, which will arm you with the knowledge you need to get 2021 off to the best possible start.
“This quiz gives Australians some information about what motivates them and their passions and inspirations that can help them stay on track throughout their journey,” Dr Brindal says.
We spoke with Accredited Practising Dietitian Pennie McCoy for practical strategies you can implement to help you stay motivated and keep seeing results.