The psychology of weight loss motivation often revolves around the idea of willpower. Phrases like, “You got this!” and “You can do it!” while well-meaning aren’t exactly helpful.
What if you feel like you don’t “got this” today?
What if you’re struggling and you’re not sure you can do it?
The Psychology of Weight Loss Motivation
When we focus on willpower as the determining factor in someone’s ability to lose weight, we ignore the science of willpower and put a lot of undue pressure on the person themselves.
According to the American Psychological Association, willpower is “the ability to resist short-term temptations to meet long-term goals.”
Psychologists have also defined willpower as “The capacity to override an unwanted thought, feeling, or impulse.”
Given all of this information, one thing is certain; it takes a lot of energy to exert willpower, and energy is a limited commodity.
The American Psychological Association tells us that our willpower is like a muscle. It is a finite resource that depletes with use. For this reason, we can get to the end of a long day filled with willpower-induced decision making, deprivation, and boldly refusing certain foods and drinks, only to binge at the end of the night.
Overall, the psychology of weight loss motivation–which is based on willpower–seems to be similar in most diet and exercise regimens today. Yet, according to the CDC, over 42.2% of Americans were obese in 2018. Indeed, that number has risen.
So, what are we missing here? Why doesn’t every ounce of willpower, weight loss motivation article, or diet plan lead us to lose weight and keep it off?
In this article, we’ll discuss the actual psychology of weight loss motivation in my Lean Instinct Formula™ and how to get motivated to lose weight using your body’s natural ability to tell you what it wants and when.
Weight Loss Motivation
Many weight loss motivation articles include long lists of things you should DO to lose weight. Some of the ideas my clients have shared with me include keeping a weight loss journal, cleaning out their closets to rid them of their current size in clothing, staying away from their friends and family who eat or drink too much, focusing on the feelings they get when they exercise, etc.
There are a lot of so-called motivational tips, all of which have something to do with making big changes in their lives, relationships and–once again–maintaining willpower.
Actual weight loss motivation is found in freedom. The freedom to be who you are, spend time with the people you want to be around, and not waste time with rituals the magazines have been touting for years. Again, if they worked, why are we still talking about how much weight we need to lose as a society?
Transformational Approach To Freedom
Freedom is coming back to our bodies. My 3-step transformational approach is the freedom to:
- Reset your body.
- Free your mind.
- Effortlessly sustain your weight loss.
Freedom is not counting calories, portion control, watching the clock to see when you can eat next, or feeling like you’re failing when you eat something you didn’t intend to eat. It’s getting back in control without following a bunch of rules.
Freedom is having less food preoccupation, reduced stress, lower rates of disordered and emotional eating, a better body image, and higher self-esteem and contentment.
I motivate my clients by getting them acquainted with the three steps above. Instead of telling them that they have to rely on the popular psychology of weight loss motivation, I encourage them to reset their bodies’ natural ability to communicate what they need.
Resetting Your Body
Resetting your body is the process of turning your body from working AGAINST you into working FOR you.
Once we’ve established what this means and how they can quickly achieve step one, we move on to step two–freeing your mind.
It’s important to free the mind of your food-related negativities, stress, anxiety, fear, and obsession until it’s all gone. When my client feels the weight of this negativity lift, we move onto step three–effortlessly sustaining weight loss.
To effortlessly sustain, we activate the instinct-based algorithm within your body to run weight loss and keep it off on its own.
This is the step about which I receive the most questions. At this stage, we are bringing out your body’s ability to self-drive, lose weight, and keep it off on its own.
It’s often the case that our body’s natural instincts have been suppressed for a long time because of the diets we’ve been on.
However, it’s our true instincts that keep us from overeating, having craving urges, feeling hungry when physically we aren’t, and storing fat.
Once your instincts are up and running again–and since your mind is no longer in your way thanks to the great work we’ve done in the first two steps–your weight loss journey becomes like being behind the wheel of a self-driving Tesla because you are free to relax in it hands-off while letting it cruise!
Leslie Chen is an online weight loss coach based in CA and the Creator of Lean Instinct Formula™, which helps people enjoy UNLIMITED food freedom while gaining a head-turning body — through re-writing their physical and emotional patterns towards eating, removing their inner weight loss blockers, jumping out of the western FAD labyrinth, and leveraging Asian wisdom that creates immediate organic results. Leslie is rated as one of the Top Weight Loss Coach in 2023 by Coach Foundation due to consistent results she brings to her clients. Book a 1:1 Clarity Call here.
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