Explaining the ‘Mental’ Side of Weight-Loss

This is a guest article written by Dr. Michael A. Snyder, MD, FACS, creator of FullBar.

The major barrier to weight loss is accepting the need to change your diet, behaviors, AND relationship with food. These changes require a commitment. And, all of us know that commitments are very difficult!!

In life, there are very few life transforming commitments that “stick”– some examples: deciding to have kids, getting married, moving across country for a job. These are big changes that have major life ramifications. And, even these sometimes do not work out because of our inability to keep up the commitment. So, how do we expect to ever get our head around the realities of having a successful weight loss experience?

First of all, you have to have a good reason to lose weight. A good reason to change your life. Saying “I want to lose 10 lbs.” or “I want to wear that little black dress” or “I want to look hot for the lady in the office next door” may not be good enough reasons to change your life. Really focus on WHY it is important to you to lose weight. If the reason is not important enough for you, you are not ready to change.

Secondly, realize what has not worked in the past. The often repeated saying bears repeating again: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result!” It is crazy to think that the strategy that has failed you a million times will “work this time.” It won’t. You need something else. Time to investigate what may really work for you. You use tools for so many parts of your life that you do effectively– e-mail and cell phones to communicate, internet to research, cars to get where you are going, etc. Tools are critical to your success in so many arenas. Why do you think that you will not need such “help” with your weight loss efforts?


Third, all diet programs expect BIG changes to get big results. And, you have clearly found that they are not sustainable. Take the Atkins Diet, for example. It is easy to lose some weight with severe carbohydrate restrictions. But, when I did it I literally dreamed of having a banana. I had to white-knuckle it through every carbohydrate temptations. And, as expected, I ultimately let my restraint fade away. I bet many of you had the same experience. Test out different strategies. (I can give more suggestions if you so desire.) Do not make big changes that will fail. Make small, “do-able” changes. And, over time, the results will be great.

Weight loss can ONLY come when you have mastered these 3 steps. And, as you may have noticed, all require you to prepare your mind. I did not ask you to buy anything, join any health club or get on any program. It is your mind that has allowed you to become defeated in the past, but it is your mind that will help you win the fight.

Be honest with yourself. Do not try to be superhuman. You will fail if you “change everything.” All I ask is that you realize that you are human and have limits to the severity of what you can do and sustain. If all you learn is this and, if this allows you to avoid the dreadful spiral of disappointment and failure that most of the weight loss programs force upon you, then you are way ahead of where you started this weight loss journey. And, now you can be realistic and successful.

I realize that this is just the first set of steps in the process. But, when done successfully, it is the only way to succeed. Keep me posted. I trust that you can do this!!

About the Author

My name is Israel Lagares. I used to be the kind of guy that was always in shape, but over the last few years I've fallen off tremendously. This site is my final attempt to get back into shape. So far I've lost 70.4 lbs. Check out my weight loss chart, weight loss videos and progress pics. Follow my journey, those of others, and read our thoughts on various health topics. Share your thoughts, experience, and journey here on FMU.

Community Thoughts (19)

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  1. RogerNo Gravatar says:

    I have never tried mental side. I am worried about side effect.

  2. Be honest with yourself. Do not try to be superhuman. You will fail if you “change everything.” All I ask is that you realize that you are human and have limits to the severity of what you can do and sustain

  3. hghNo Gravatar says:

    if you want energy and mood while working out, its time for you to try natural hgh.

  4. Weight training and dieting definitely have a huge mental aspect to experiencing success. If you can’t put down that junk food or get yourself into the gym, you’re already defeated. Once you are at the gym, pushing yourself for 10 more minutes on cardio or for 10 more pounds on your hardest exercise, is what brings about real progress.

    Sure you don’t need to change from bum to buff overnight, but it can be a slow mental process that will help you to permanently live a healthier lifestyle.

  5. One major problem is that basically our entire society and everything in it might as well be conspiring against us. 90% of the stuff advertised on TV as “part of this balanced breakfast” or “great for a snack anytime!!” doesn’t deserve to bill itself as food. But people are basically raised to believe that eating gonzo portions and having junk food all the time is normal and to do otherwise is to deprive yourself.

  6. Hi

    The psychological side is the biggest issue in regards to whether you lose weight or not.So many people fail to take this into account.

    Your mindset is the most important factor when you decide to lose weight,after all it is your mind that tells you to stop or to carry on.

    Most people jump into losing weight without seriously preparing themselves mentally,this is a mistake and 9 times out of 10 these people will find themselves back to square one at some point.

    You raise an important but neglected point in your post,people need to work on their minds and their bodies for any chance of long term success

    • JaneBernNo Gravatar says:

      Ever tried using visualization to achieve weight loss goals in much less time and effort? I think it should work as it already worked in helping get out of financial debt.

      So picture the result you want daily, as clearly as you can. It works!

  7. Hey Isreal,

    This is a great guest blog and in my opinion the most important part for weight loss success. A lot of people fail with losing weight because they don’t have the right mindset.

    It’s like with everything in life. You need to have the right mindset to become successful in whatever you do. Just think on all these athletes. Do you think they ever would win a competition with the wrong mindset?


  8. Mindset is important but that alone won’t help you lose the weight. You need to set yourself up for success and accept the fact that you will fail many many times before getting it right.

    Learn from those failures and move forward.

    Also get off your butt and exercise, diet alone won’t save you IMHO anyway.

    • Israel LagaresNo Gravatar says:

      Failure is a key component in almost anything you do. From failure, you learn. Or rather, you should try to learn something so that you can get better. Just think back to Disney’s Meet the Robinson’s.

  9. Hi Israel,

    Good post and on topic for me. I am now in a weight-loss mountain after having gained about 10 pounds since my move a couple of months ago. I got used to eating again and have not quite settled into an exercise routine again.

    Point 2 is where I am having difficulty. I know what did not work in the past but since the pressure increased at work, we moved and messed up or previously normal routines, and the holidays are upon us… I’ve got find new habits in this new home that will work as well as they did in the last.

    Here is my latest post on this subject entitled, “Diet Mountain, I Wish it was a Plateau!” here:

    Take care,

    John W. Zimmer

  10. The mental part is the hardest part of the weight loss process.

  11. AsriNo Gravatar says:

    Weight loss really a way of thinking , its about taking a more positive outlook towards life and meeting goals that are possible. When you to a good look at your lifestyle and see why you are not losing the weight then anything will work ! Its like taking the best diet pills to lose weight and then not following it through with positive thinking and exercise.

  12. I never understood why do people look for diets, ideas, tips and stuff.. when it is all about the mental part of it.

  13. Israel LagaresNo Gravatar says:

    You need the mental in order to sustain that will power.

  14. JonNo Gravatar says:

    Willpower is vital, but do not forget how changing your diet can actually help your willpower. Diets like Atkins work well because they reduce sugar which in turn reduces your appetite – you no longer have blood sugar spikes and crashes. Protein and fat helps you feel full for longer. So just by eating differently you make it easier to exert your own willpower.

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