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Nutrition Articles  ›  Healthy Habits

6 Things Successful Dieters Have in Common

People Who Lose the Weight Have These Core Beliefs

-- By Ellen G. Goldman, Health & Wellness Coach
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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 www.EnerGcoaching.com.

Member Comments

  • 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
  • MADMSKI
    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
  • SHARIEANNE
    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
  • SHARIEANNE
    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
  • Really liked your article. It's like a long affirmation to me.
    Thank you - 5/19/2014 10:28:45 PM
  • Thanks for sharing! I really needed this article today. - 5/19/2014 2:26:54 PM
  • I agree with most of this...except #1. While for some people, belief that you can do it is key, for me, as a addict and a compulsive overeater, it is very important for me to keep in mind that I CAN'T do it on my own. I have plenty of data to back this up, for me, believe me! If I try to keep from eating compulsively out of my own willpower, inevitably I will have a lapse that will lead to a full-blown relapse. It's counter-intuitive
    , but keeping in mind the fact that I am an addict and need help in order to stay healthy is what keeps me sane. The commonality is that I BELIEVE in something, it's just not my own will power. Instead, I believe that a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity when it comes to food. - 4/24/2014 9:46:26 AM
  • RWEINZATL1
    WOW. Excellent article. I am 31 years old and I know that I need to change my lifestyle. I am afraid that if I don't my life span will be shortened. I need to read this article everyday. Thank you so much. - 4/18/2014 8:52:49 AM
  • It has taken me awhile to realize that thoughts become actions and actions can become good habits. I now buy whole wheat bread, bagels, and sandwich thins. I am eating more fruits and vegetables. I am using my SPAT to keep moving, even though I have to do chair exercises instead of just taking a walk or a run. These new habits which are making a difference in my life. New lifestyle changes, like getting more sleep has helped as well as dealing with the stress in my life. I feel better. I see NSVs. And best of all is that I think I am beginning to lose some weight. - 4/10/2014 3:07:38 PM
  • Ok. I have done that and lost weight. And done that again and lost weight. A change in self esteem always happens when I succeed. Empowering. I get complimented, etc. Most important, I feel good. Healthier. Feel accomplished, etc. And then for whatever reason, I take one cheat and all those months go down the drain. Why? How can I stay the course and lose the weight . Finish line advice. ? - 4/10/2014 9:14:42 AM
  • Actually, losing weight is the hard part and keeping it off is the easy part. After all, one can eat more in maintenance than when losing. I managed to be super skinny (former ballet dancer, 5'9" 112 lb) until age 40 when my son was born. I was stricken with Sheehan's syndrome and gained weight after he was born and have spent the last 2 yrs trying to lose it! Even grueling 2 hr per day high intensity workouts don't budge it. - 4/9/2014 10:40:14 AM
  • For me this article is 100% right. I joined SparkPeople in April 2010. By April 2011, I reached my goal and that month I was sitting at my desk at work and I thought, "How will I be one of the 5 in 100 people that keep this weight off for good?" Words my father spoke to me when I was 17 came to my mind. "Sharon, you have to change the way you think." I knew that was the key to my success and so far, so good. It is exactly like the author wrote, successful long-term weight loss involves a lot of change. - 4/8/2014 5:09:32 PM
  • I'm pretty good at everything but discipline. I workout a lot (I commute by bike, and I'm training for my first triathlon, with a goal of an Olympic-distance tri to celebrate my 50th birthday in 17 months), but I love food. I can always justify a treat, and I regret it almost immediately. I've gotten better, but boy howdy, do I love me some food! - 4/8/2014 4:19:41 PM
  • I really enjoyed this article. I think tip 1 could have done without the "thin" part. Our goals individually should be to have healthy bodies! :-) Great read! - 4/8/2014 3:00:19 PM