Nutrition Articles

6 Things Successful Dieters Have in Common

People Who Lose the Weight Have These Core Beliefs

3.   I am disciplined. Despite not always wanting to do what needs to be done, I do it anyway.  There are plenty of times I don't feel like working out, or taking the time to prepare my meals.  Whether it's exercise, skipping dessert, or cooking a healthy dinner rather than calling in for take-out, I do it.  My mind is always focused on my vision. It's not about how I feel right now. It's about what I want for my future self.
4.   I share my goals and plans.  My friends and family are aware that taking good care of myself and keeping the weight off is a core value of mine. I stand up for myself without apology.  Sometimes I'll miss happy hour with the gang to go to the gym, or request that we change the restaurant choice because I won't go to a buffet—I am not embarrassed or sorry for speaking up. I also know I don't need to go it alone.  When I am feeling vulnerable, I ask for help
5.   I am resilient. When I stumble or fall down, I pick myself up and creatively figure out how to move on. Life throws curveballs all the time, but they aren't reasons to throw my healthy habits away.  I know that soothing myself with food or TV won't solve my problems.  I deal with the reality of the situation and creatively work toward overcoming adversity.
6.   I have self-compassion.  I'm only human and there are times when things don't go as well as I'd like.  I just do the best I can. When I slip up, I look at it as one individual episode, not a pattern that will lead to disaster. A "lapse" does not mean collapse. I just get right back on track. I do not beat myself up if a few pounds creep back on.  The scale does not define who I am. It doesn't make me good or bad.  It only tells me whether or not I am on track to reach my goals.  If I am not, I recalculate.    
Sustained weight loss requires a new mindset.  In order to be successful, you must resist looking in the mirror and still seeing the old you.  Permanent success requires you to think and act like a thin person even before you reach your goal. If it initially feels awkward, remember the old adage, "Fake it 'til you make it." The more you behave and think like a successful dieter, the sooner you will be one. Being healthy and thin will become part of your identity.  It's time to leave the old one behind.
Dieci, Edward. 1995. Why We Do What We Do. London: Penguin Books.
Fletcher, Anne. 2003. Thin For Life. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. 
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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

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    - 5/3/2015 6:17:33 AM
  • 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
  • Really liked your article. It's like a long affirmation to me.
    Thank you - 5/19/2014 10:28:45 PM

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