Motivation Articles

Drop the Fatitude and Get a Winning Attitude!

Change Your Thoughts to Win the Weight-Loss Game

If permanent weight loss were as simple as eating less and moving more, you wouldn’t be reading this article—you’d be off somewhere enjoying your fit, trim self without a thought in your head about the difficulties of weight loss.

But here we are—because things just aren’t that simple. Despite all our scientific knowledge about how people gain and lose weight, there is no one-size-fits-all approach that guarantees your success if you just follow the rules. The fact is that no one else is exactly like you, biologically or psychologically, and there is no pre-existing map for your individual weight-loss journey. You are an “experiment of one” when it comes to figuring out what will work for you, and you’re the one running the experiment.

A big part of this experiment involves learning more about what makes you tick. For most people, just figuring out how much we need to eat and exercise to lose weight doesn’t necessarily make it easy for us to do it. Chances are, you’re going to have to work pretty hard at changing some long-standing habits, assumptions, feelings, and attitudes that influence your relationship with food and shape your lifestyle. So, where do you start? How do you figure out what will work for you? How do you know what's standing in your way and which habits you need to work on changing? One good way to find out is to look at the characteristics shared by people who succeed at long-term weight loss.

You probably already know about many of the characteristics that long-term, successful "losers" have in common. They are:
  • Optimistic enough to put in an honest effort and see what happens. They don't fill their heads with self-defeating thoughts and negative prophecies that keep them from doing their best.
  • Stay focused on what they can do instead of fretting about what they can’t do.
  • Patient enough to take things one decision (and one day) at a time, instead of expecting instant results and losing motivation when those results don't come.
  • See mistakes and problems as learning opportunities instead of being demoralized by them.
For some people, these basic characteristics seem to come naturally. They go into every challenge with the idea that they can succeed if they try hard enough—and they often turn out to be right. Not because they’re smarter, stronger, or better than anyone else is, but exactly because they actually do try hard enough. That winning attitude allows them to get through the particular problems and obstacles they face without being defeated by them.
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About The Author

Dean Anderson Dean Anderson
Dean Anderson has master's degrees in human services (behavioral psychology/stress management) and liberal studies. His interest in healthy living began at the age of 50 when he confronted his own morbid obesity and health issues. He joined SparkPeople and lost 150 pounds and regained his health. Dean has earned a personal training certification from ACE and received training as a lifestyle and weight management consultant. See all of Dean's articles.

Member Comments

  • I really like some of the thoughts in this article, especially more steps in the right direction will get you where you are going -- rather than focusing on doing everything perfectly, giving up when you don't do it perfectly, or not achieving what you want in the artificial time frame I often set for myself. - 10/5/2015 6:12:25 PM
  • Wow, as usual Dean really gets it and understands what it is like to struggle with weight loss. His insights and advice, coming not only from knowledge of psychology but his own personal experience, are right on the mark. This article nails it. - 10/5/2015 2:27:00 AM
  • This is by far one of the best articles I've ever read regarding attitude/thoughts towards losing excess weight.

    Thank you for not sugar-coating the topic and putting it out here for discussion. I definitely have some of these characteristics and now that I see them for what they are, I can better address them.

    I only have to worry about the decision in front of me at this moment, not all the decisions for all day, all week, etc. Brilliant!

    Now, to work on that daily preparation problem I keep having :\ - 9/4/2015 12:34:15 PM
    I believe that health comes with healthy food. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the prices for that value. I believe I’ve found the solution here http://www.smarto - 7/31/2015 9:14:59 PM
  • I am going to print this article and keep it in my journal! It seems to have been specifically written for me and in a tone and with a focus that resonates with me.

    Thank you! - 6/17/2015 9:55:44 AM
  • As usual, Dean's commentary hits the spot! Thank you! - 6/17/2015 8:24:34 AM
    Thanks for article. Needed to read that😊 Very helpful and motivating. - 7/28/2014 8:46:21 AM
  • Perhaps we should read this at least weekly. - 7/28/2014 5:19:21 AM
  • I have recommended this site to a lot of people as it did work for me in the beginning, I lost 2 stone but, then I hit a brick wall and put it all back on. Reading this article has opened my eye's to a lot of things so, I am going to start up with sp again today with a more positive attitude. Ty sp - 7/28/2014 2:49:45 AM
  • BONET72
    Thank you for that I needed to see this in black and white on print to motivate me .Thank you again - 6/26/2014 12:54:47 PM
  • This is an excellent article to a point: I despise the Polyanna-type-che
    erleader attitude which you seem to be promoting - it seems more than fake. I believe that you CAN change a negative attitude into positive attitude without going over the top; fortunately, there is a lot of help here at SP to do just that. Thanks for a good-ish article, and for all your other good ones. - 11/14/2013 3:47:53 PM
  • Thank you very much. I find you're Article very helpful and motivating. - 11/14/2013 1:37:54 AM
  • CWEBER241
    Iam new at this so I am looking forward to loosing the weight with all of you. - 4/15/2013 5:30:00 PM
  • woh ,i love this ,i think i am going to share this with my friend . - 2/14/2013 12:04:55 AM
  • From Jimini: Hi Dean, haven't seen anything from you in quite a while! Last time I noticed anything of yours was when you were considering EST. Probably not the best idea you ever had - but I was hoping that you would try it and I could 'ride on your coat tails' and learn more about it. I am an expert in negative talk - I see no likely end to this, so I guess I will just muddle on.
    Congratulations on your advanced degrees and continued good advice. If you can find the time to write more for us, I see that I am not the only one who appreciates your work! Thanx. - 2/13/2013 9:42:18 PM

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