Can Weight Loss Success Come from Thinking Positively?
Posted Mar 17 2010 2:00am
When you decide to start dieting because you need to lose the
weight, does it help to “think positive”? Is this an effective tool for
achieving weight-loss success?
While thinking on the bright side is sometimes associated
with keeping up motivation, there is some positive thinking that actually doesn’t
work so well.
There are two ways of thinking about the future: One is to
have expectations; the other is to have fantasies.
Expectations have to do with what you think will happen. Your
expectations are tied up with feelings of being capable—that is, whether you
feel you have what it takes to accomplish what you wish to accomplish. Also,
expectations have to do with whether you believe behaving in a certain way will
produce your desired outcome.
Fantasies are different. In fantasy, you picture the future
in your mind, whether or not it is likely that your picture will come true.
So, which works better as a way of thinking about the
You guessed it—having expectations as opposed to fantasies
works much better. Why—because expectations are based on applying past
experience to future events. This is a much more valid base from which to
proceed with getting what you want.
Fantasies on the other hand, no matter how positive and
wonderful they appear, do not alone provide you with a sold basis for pursuing
your goal. They show you a great end-point, but not how to get there. When you
simply fantasize about being a size 6, you are not giving yourself any kind of
blueprint for action.
So, you want to lose the weight. When your expectations for
the future involve your past experience with weight-loss attempts, all sorts of
useful ideas come up. You can go over failures, and learn from them. You can
study your mistakes and develop new strategies. These are the things that greatly enhance your chances for
You can’t just “think positive”. You’ve got to “think smart”.