While exercise and good supportive nutrition are important for losing weight, part of the process that I find to be the most important is all in your head.

What you think about most often can have a surprising effect on your weight loss efforts. Often, the spring and summer months are when most people take their weight loss efforts to the next level everyone is suddenly concerned with donning a bikini. While that’s a great short-term motivator, developing and maintaining an attitude that fosters success is more important than having small bursts of motivation throughout the year. I want to empower you to live a happy and healthy lifestyle all year long.

Having the right attitude can help you think yourself thin

At Bootique Fitness, over the years, we’ve seen people come and go. The difference between those who stay and reach their goals and those who don’t is their willingness to change not only their body, but their mindset as well. It’s not as hard as it may sound. Adjusting your attitude toward your body and how you treat it with nutrients and movement can be learned over time.

Pace yourself with realistic goals

New clients will often tell us they want to lose 20 pounds in a month. That amount of weight loss is definitely attainable, but usually not realistic in just 1 month’s time. Setting goals that are unrealistic is a sure-fire way to lose motivation. When it comes to losing weight, the it’s best to mentally prepare yourself that losing weight (and keeping it off) takes time. Often, it takes years of unhealthy eating and being sedentary to gain that extra weight, thus it’s unrealistic to expect that weight to come off overnight.

8 Ways To Think Yourself Thin

1. Visualize yourself thin

If you’ve ever been at your goal weight and you have old pictures, bring them out as a motivation for what you want to achieve. If you haven’t been at a weight that you desire in the past, you can still visualize yourself in the body you want. A lot of times, once a person gains weight, their mental image of themselves remains overweight. Even when they lose the weight, if they don’t adjust their mental picture and continue to see themselves as ‘fat’, then the weight usually comes back. You might be tempted to think about how visualizing yourself at a weight you aren’t currently is a one-way ticket to discouragement. However, doing so will help keep you on track and with every pound lost you will begin to see your vision become a reality.

2. Expect realistic results

Too many times people watch shows like ‘The Biggest Loser’ for inspiration, but come away from their own weight loss plan with a sense of defeat. How is that? Seeing someone on a reality show who works out for six or seven hours per day and is losing 15 pounds in a week might mis-lead you to think that’s normal. It is, in fact, not a normal or safe way to lose weight and keep it off. In changing your mentality regarding diet and exercise you must realize that slow and steady wins the race. Assess your overall goals, give yourself a timeline and divide your goal by your timeline. That’s the best formula for creating a plan that is realistic for you.

3. Succeed at many small goals

Break down your goals into a few do-able things each day. For example, if you usually drink soda all day long it may be a bit drastic (and again, unrealistic) to tell yourself that you will stop drinking soda cold turkey. However, replacing one-two sodas a day with water is a do-able goal that you can sustain short-term and increase long-term. That’s what changing your mentality is all about – creating small goals, achieving success and putting your determination to tackle other issues.

4. Create a support system

Aligning yourself with others who are on the same journey to good health both physically and mentally is a key strategy to ensure you will remain on track. Having someone to hold you accountable goes a long way. In fact, numerous studies show that those who connect with others during their weight loss journey and lifestyle change do better than those who do not.

5. Plan to win or prepare to fail

Planning meals and scheduling workouts in advance goes a long way to making these healthy habits actually happen. Building steps to make exercise and eating right a priority in your life is a short term change in mentality that will bring long term results.

6. Treat yourself

Usually when we hear that, we think “food!” But, treating yourself doesn’t have to be limited to food treats. Pampering yourself with a manicure, pedicure or spa day is a much more relaxing and healthy way to say “way to go!” Each time you reach a milestone in your weight loss goal or change in attitude try to reward yourself. Whether simple or extravagant, tokens of appreciation for yourself are great motivators over time.

7. Create new habits

If you’ve been plagued by a terrible habit eating too much at restaurants on Friday’s after work, then don’t go out to eat Friday’s after work. Alter whatever it is that keeps you from reaching your goals for a healthier lifestyle.

8. Keep track of your progress

Nothing kills motivation faster than thinking all your efforts have been made in vain. Set yourself up with a journal, a scale or whatever else you need to keep track of how well you’re moving along. Sure, you can keep a food journal but it may be more beneficial to keep a journal filled with instances of change. If you begin your day with water instead of coffee, write that down. If you choose a healthy snack of carrots over a Twix, write that down. Over time, you will be able to look back and see how much progress you’ve made.

Use these simple tips to make small changes that will create the difference between long term success in changing your lifestyle or long term struggle to maintain all your hard work. The choice is yours!