Tips for Weight Loss Success – Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself


A certain level of self-discipline is necessary to achieve any goal. However, sometimes self-discipline becomes self-punitive. Success comes from finding the line between healthy and constructive analysis of yourself, and damaging negative criticism.

A study in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine analyzed the psychological characteristics of people who successfully and unsuccessfully completed a 4-month weight reduction program. The main factors related to failure were:

  1. A high number of recent dieting attempts.
  2. More stringent weight outcome evaluations.
  3. A higher perceived negative impact of weight on quality of life.
  4. Lower self-motivation.
  5. Higher body size dissatisfaction.
  6. Lower self-esteem.

In short, the people who failed were the ones who insisted on beating themselves up. When a particular approach wouldn’t show fast results, they would shift to a completely different program. They tended to be stringent about their expectations for quick weight loss, and became easily dissatisfied with themselves, their weight, their program, and their quality of life. They based their self-esteem on what was outside. If you want to win at this, you’ve got to find success within you already, today.

How do you do that? By recognizing that your actions are your only true possessions. If you took a set of winning actions today to improve your life, then take the time to appreciate that fact. Your actions are the only true basis of self-esteem. The scale or the mirror may or may not reflect those actions tomorrow morning, but you can be sure that they have created an effect, and the results will come. You can manage your actions every moment, but the consequences are not under such tight control. So be demanding of your actions, and patient with the consequences.

A mistake is only a mistake. When you make a mistake, learn from it and then let it go. If you miss a workout, examine why it happened, and then take action to avoid it next time. If you overeat at a meal, know that there are five or six meals in a day, seven days in a week, or thirty-five to forty-two meal opportunities each week! If you make a mistake on a meal, don’t let it ruin the rest of the meals that day. Get right back on track at the next meal. If the day gets away from you, just start fresh the next day.

The scale can be a common source of negative self-evaluation for some people. If this true for you then weigh yourself twice a day! Yes, I said twice a day. Weigh yourself once in the morning, and once at night. Face the scale each day until it loses its power over you. If you are following solid weight loss principles, the scale will go down. If the scale is stuck, or worse, it is going up, then review your behaviors and make changes. Make a change, but keep weighing yourself. Stay on track, stay motivated and remain positive. Success is and will be, your destiny.

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About Author

Dr. Bret Emery

Dr. Bret Emery entered the field of Behavioral Medicine with an athletic background and a specialty in physical conditioning. Beginning his cycling career at the age of 14, he went on to live at the Olympic Training Center and represent the United States in international races across America and Europe. See my profile page for more information!

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