Throughout your weight loss journey, you’re likely to experience a full range of emotions, from excitement as you start to see your body change, to discouragement if you hit a plateau, to plain old impatience as you experience those temporary lapses in commitment. This is common — nearly everyone has been there when trying to lose weight.
Yet it is important to learn how to stay positive during weight loss, not only for your state of mind, but for the ability to successfully reach your goals. Research1 has shown that having confidence in your ability to lose weight makes it more likely that you will improve your eating habits — and drop weight.
In other words, when you believe in yourself, you’ll find encouragement to take the action necessary to achieve your goals.
Reframing your thoughts to maintain an optimistic outlook during your weight loss journey is an important element of success, but it’s not the only one. Learn how to stay positive and happy and on the road to weight loss success, with these tips and tools.
1. Embrace the power of positive thinking
Positivity should become part of your self-talk. After all, when you think the same thoughts repeatedly, your mind may start to believe they are true — and these beliefs could influence how you act. For example, if you constantly tell yourself that you can’t lose weight, you may internalize those thoughts and inadvertently not take action to change your eating habits or exercise routine. On the flip side, if you continually think about how determined you are to reach your weight loss goal — you may find yourself embracing behaviors that drive you closer to accomplishing it.
The first step to changing your thinking is to identify whether your self-talk is positive or negative. Take time to listen to that voice in your head — is it encouraging you to move forward to reach your goals? Or is it pessimistic and discouraging you?
If you find that your inner voice is negative, you can take steps to change it. The key is to reframe your thoughts and retrain your mind to think in a more positive light while you’re losing weight.
For instance, maybe you find yourself thinking you won’t reach your weight loss goals because you haven’t lost any weight this week. Instead, focus on measurements other than the scale. Maybe your clothes fit a little differently — that’s a success! Also, try shifting your negative thinking with positive weight loss quotes to help you regain your motivation. This type of reframing can apply to any negative thoughts you may have about weight loss — or any other situation in your life.
In addition, try keeping a journal to track your successes and goals. Not only is this a great tool for keeping you on track, but it can also help you remember all the successes you’ve experienced so far. When you need an extra boost of motivation, use your journal to remind yourself how you felt when you accomplished a small goal. Your Jenny Craig weight loss consultant is also your go-to motivator and can help you see from a different perspective.
Need even more motivation? Keep your eye on the ultimate prize: better health. Losing weight can bring huge benefits, from reducing your risk for Type 2 diabetes, to lowering your blood pressure, to decreasing your risk for heart disease, stroke and cancer, among others.2
Finally, remember that although you may not have lost weight this week, you will again — you just need to keep making small changes to your diet and exercise routine.
2. Pay attention to how you feel
Maybe the numbers on the scale aren’t dropping as quickly as you would like, but you’re seeing and feeling the benefits of weight loss in other ways. Take time to celebrate these positive changes in your life!
As you lose weight, you’ll probably notice specific ways your physical performance has improved. Do you need to take fewer breaks when you exercise? Are you able to walk farther? Can you keep up with your children or grandchildren more easily? These are all important milestones and measurements beyond the scale that are worth celebrating. Take credit for them, and allow them to serve as inspiration to continue with your new healthy lifestyle.
3. Take a look at your clothes
Sometimes your weight loss progress can be measured in inches rather than pounds. The best part? You don’t even have to get out the measuring tape to see the results!
One of the easiest ways to see the changes in your body is to look at your clothes. Are your tops feeling looser? Have you gone down a belt notch? If so, it might be time to update your wardrobe. Even if it’s not a necessity yet, shopping for a new top or pants is a great way to reward yourself for your weight loss progress.
Although these can be subtle changes, they can make a big difference in how you look and feel about yourself. Celebrate them!
4. Notice other physical changes
Losing weight can not only help you feel better in your clothes, but it may also improve your appearance in other ways. For instance, you may notice that eating a healthier diet has improved the appearance of your hair, skin and nails.3
Many people forget to look for these changes, especially if they feel discouraged because they’ve hit a plateau. One of the best ways to keep track of all the changes in your body is to take photos during photos during your weight loss journey. This is a great motivator, as it’s easy to forget how far you’ve come, especially during a plateau.
If you didn’t take a photo before you started your weight loss journey, try to find a picture from around the time you changed your diet and exercise habits. Then continue to take pictures occasionally as you continue your weight loss journey and compare them to your older ones. The photos will highlight changes in your body and skin that you may have missed by focusing exclusively on the scale.
5. Be proud of your diet and exercise changes
Take some time to praise yourself for making changes to your diet. Maybe you’ve given up a daily sugary soda for water, or you’ve swapped out chips for some crunchy veggies. All dietary changes, both big and small, mark a victory for you and can help you stay positive.
As for exercise, it’s not always easy to incorporate more physical activity when you first start on your weight loss journey. And there will be some days when it’s difficult to motivate yourself to go to the gym or take a walk. A weight loss buddy can be a great motivator on these days and help you maintain your positive outlook. He or she can celebrate your wins with you and help you overcome challenges.
6. Think about your behavior
Losing weight can change your body and your behavior.4 When you take action to make your body healthier, it can improve how you feel and behave. What changes have you noticed in yourself since you’ve started eating more healthfully and exercising? You may find that you’re more outgoing or that you have more confidence, or that you simply feel better.
One of the best ways to stay positive is to reflect on these changes and your newfound self-confidence. Use your journal to capture how you feel and serve as a reminder for the future. Applaud yourself for the positive changes that have already occurred. Then use your confidence and ambition to motivate you to stick to your diet and exercise plan.
As you continue on your weight loss journey, use these tools to counteract the negative thoughts that can crop up and lead to self-defeating behaviors — most likely, your positive thinking will increase your energy levels and motivation, propelling you on a path to success.
Above all, remember that when you embarked on your weight loss journey, you made a lifestyle change to improve your life for the better. At every stage of weight loss, remember why you chose to make this change.
Have you not started your weight loss journey but are ready now? Learn how Jenny Craig can help you reach your goals and how your own weight loss consultant can help you stay on track. Contact Jenny Craig today for a free appointment to get started!
Elisa is a content marketing manager for Jenny Craig with over ten years of experience working in the health and fitness industry. She loves sharing her passion for living a balanced and healthy lifestyle. A San Diego native and an endurance sports enthusiast, you can usually find her swimming, biking along the coast highway or running by the beach in her free time. Elisa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University Chico.
Favorite healthy snack: mozzarella string cheese with a Pink Lady apple.
Reviewed by: Monica Ropar, Nutritionist
Monica has over 15 years of experience with Jenny Craig, as an expert nutrition and program resource. She develops content, training, tools and strategies for the program to support clients throughout their weight loss journey, and offers inspiration, weight loss tips, lifestyle strategies and motivation. Monica holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Dietetics and Exercise, Fitness & Health from Purdue University and continues to stay current on weight management research, consumer trends and healthcare developments.
Favorite healthy snack: raw veggie sticks with homemade hummus.
This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and is written by experienced health and lifestyle contributors and fact-checked by Monica Ropar, Nutritionist at Jenny Craig.
Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy.
This article contains trusted sources including a scientific, peer-reviewed paper. All references are hyperlinked at the end of the article to take readers directly to the source.