Nutrition Articles

6 Things Successful Dieters Have in Common

People Who Lose the Weight Have These Core Beliefs

I'm sure you have heard people say, "Losing weight is easy. Keeping it off is the hard part."
Well, I disagree with this statement. I think losing weight is hard, but keeping it off is even harder!
Permanent weight loss requires a lot of change.  And for most, change is difficult.  You have to change what and how much you eat. You have to change your activity and exercise habits. You might have to change your sleeping habits, daily schedule and shopping habits. That's a lot of change!
However, the most important changes you can make aren't about what you do, but rather how you think.  If you don't change your mindset, there's an awfully good chance you won't change your body—and certainly not for the long term.
People who have reached weight-loss goals and kept off the pounds often experience mindset shifts. They think differently than they did before. Here are some common attitudes and beliefs that show up time and time again when talking with successful "losers."  If you were to interview them, this is what you would hear.
1.   I believe that I can do it. I am responsible for—and in control of—my destiny, and I am fully committed to getting there. I have a clear vision of how I want to live my life: healthy, vibrant, thin and active. I strongly believe in the possibility and the permanence of that vision, and I am confident that I am capable of achieving it. Exercise and eating healthy aren't things I do when it's convenient; they are what I have decided to do no matter what. I recognize my results are dependent on my own actions—not other people's or outside circumstances.
2.   I am proactive rather than reactive. I think in advance about how I will eat and exercise during for upcoming day. If I know I need to go to the gym straight from work, I make sure my gym bag is packed and in my car. When I'm going to have a hectic day at work, I pack a healthy lunch from home. I look at restaurant menus online before getting there so I know the best choices beforehand, and that's what I order. I take time at the beginning of each week to plan my meals, figure out when I can get to the grocery store and schedule my exercise.  And I always have a Plan B so I can stay on track in case something unexpected happens. 
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About The Author

Ellen Goldman Ellen Goldman
Ellen Goldman has bachelor's and master's degrees in health and physical education. An AFAA-certified personal trainer and certified wellness coach, she is also the founder EnerG Coaching, LLC. Through one-on-one and group sessions, Ellen helps individuals make positive lifestyle changes, lose weight, manage stress and attain work-life balance. Visit her at

Member Comments

    This is an excellent article. Right on the money. The hard part for me is the discipline. I'm working on it. - 6/4/2015 12:27:31 PM
  • A lapse does not mean collapse... I love that quote. - 3/30/2015 1:49:56 PM
    One of the better, more realistic articles available. - 3/5/2015 3:58:44 PM
  • This was fabulous and so true! I actually just finished my thesis about students who persist and achieve more to having a growth mindset. It sounds very similar to this. Thanks for writing this! - 1/27/2015 5:16:05 PM
    Right on the money!
    The simple and only truth about losing weight and keeping it down. - 1/27/2015 11:47:20 AM
  • This is one of the BEST articles I have read on SP !!! It is exactly what I have come to live by since my journey started back in 2010 and decided I needed to change the way I think. The mindset is definitely the ONLY way to make permanent changes work !!! No matter what the change is !!! - 10/4/2014 10:15:02 AM
  • Great article and came at perfect timr...I was starting to lose my focus!! Thank you
    - 10/4/2014 9:09:29 AM
  • Thank you! I really needed this as I've been losing the mindset to keep going. I realize I need to be more self compassionate and see myself at my goal to get there. Thanks for the reminder! - 8/23/2014 7:14:29 AM
  • Great read, but I agree with a few others about the thin word being used. Thin does not necessarily mean healthy. But this was a great article! - 8/8/2014 2:10:01 PM
  • I think this is one of the BEST articles on SP because you definitely have to change your mindset in order to change your habits.

    Well said !!! - 6/21/2014 9:10:11 AM
  • The word "thin" is only used three times in this article and it is always used with other words like "healthy" or "active". She never implies that you have to be skinny but a healthy fit person will be thin, not skinny, not emaciated, but showing some muscle tone, able to move and be active, at a healthy weight, and feeling good about themselves physically.
    She isn't talking about Hollywood thin. She's talking about healthy thin. - 6/21/2014 7:54:05 AM
    I am a little offended by the term "thin" being used several times in this article. I am not just trying to downsize but I am trying to get healthy. THIN DOES NOT MEAN HEALTHY!!!
    And if we mentally picture what thin means in society standards we are all in trouble. - 6/10/2014 3:14:23 PM
    The other thing I do to keep motivated is to wear fitted clothes (pants with a button/zipper vs elastic) to keep track of how things fit. - 5/26/2014 11:55:55 AM
    The other thing I do to keep motivated is to wear fitted clothes (pants with a button/zipper vs elastic) to keep track of how things fit. - 5/26/2014 11:55:46 AM

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