Changing the way you think about weight loss

July 01, 2014 By Carrie Lukens, Ph.D.

Lasting weight loss is a challenge for most people. Following a diet is tough enough but sticking with it for the rest of your life can often feel (or seem) nearly impossible.

How many times have you been stuck in the diet deprivation cycle? You go on your diet which means your deprive yourself of all your favorite foods like pasta, bread, and sweets. You do well early in the week but it gets harder and harder as the week goes on. By the weekend, you're back to old habits. You overeat and eat all the “wrong foods.” Monday morning rolls around and it's back on the diet.

It's important to change this thinking if you want to have lasting weight loss. There is no more being “on a diet.” For lasting weight loss, you need to have an overall healthy diet which includes things like pasta, bread, and sweets. Instead of thinking of them as off limits, think of them as foods that can be enjoyed in smaller portions and less often but are still part of your overall healthy diet.

Changing negative thinking is important, too. If you've had slips, acknowledge it and then focus on how to get back on track. Being hard on yourself only leads to a feeling of being out of control and hopeless and can trigger relapse. Instead, focus on what you did right and what you're going to do differently next time.

By changing how you think about food and weight loss, you can start to change the cycle of weight loss and regain. Turn to your friends and family to help you stay positive and be your cheerleader. Joining a weight loss program or support group or reaching out to a professional may also be the answer as most people do better with support.

Clinical psychologist Carrie Lukens works at The Hospital of Central Connecticut (HOCC) Center for Metabolic Health, 11 South Road, Farmington. For information about the hospital's weight loss programs, please call the Center at 888.456.7546. For referrals to HOCC physicians, please contact our free Need-A-Physician referral service by phone at 800.321.6244.