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Mind Over Matter: The Psychological Aspect of Weight Loss

the psychological aspect of weight loss

by guest author Jennifer Lomax

There are 45 million Americans who go on a diet each year. Losing weight and changing your daily habits when it comes to food intake and exercise is very difficult, but there are psychological aspects of weight loss that may give you the edge you need to achieve your goals. Something as simple as writing down your goals, your daily food intake, and your exercise habits can help you identify where you need to make changes, and give you a different perspective of the process.

Trick Yourself to Overcome Cravings

It is human nature to crave certain foods, especially when we are feeling down or sad, as there is psychological evidence that food can bring us comfort. There is a well-known phenomenon, however, that when the family is gathered for a holiday meal, salivating over the comfort foods about to be served, that the cook doesn’t share in that anticipation. The cook has spent the day in the kitchen, surrounded by the aromas of the food, and just those have satiated their desires for the food. In the same way, studies have shown that the fragrance of candles scented like our favorite comfort foods, vanilla cupcakes, pumpkin pie, can also curb food cravings. Though it may seem contradictory to burn a chocolate-scented candle while on a diet, it just may be the perfect solution to being a chocoholic.

Understand Your Reasons

While there are certainly people who are overweight because they truly don’t understand what types of food are good for them, many more of us have food-related psychological issues. These may be small or large, as simple as binging on ice cream to feel better after a stressful day, to more complicated matters of putting on weight to create a barrier between oneself and others. It is important to identify your reasons for overeating and to identify the emotions that cause you to overeat or make poor food decisions. By identifying your emotions, you can better understand if you are truly hungry, or whether you might actually be bored, stressed, or sad. Once we have identified the reasons, we can conquer them head on. You can replace cravings after a stressful day with a form of exercise you enjoy, reward yourself after a great sales presentation with a pedicure, or plan an outing with friends to a museum instead of a restaurant. Seeing a therapist who specializes in eating problems can help you modify your habits and stop unhealthy thoughts that are preventing you from achieving your goals.Losing weight is not simply about having the willpower to change your eating habits. There are larger factors at play, and understanding the complex psychological factors involved in losing weight will help you be successful in your endeavors. Things as simple as decorating your home in a manner that promotes positivity, or using scented candles to kill cravings can give you an edge.


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