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Attitude is the key to managing your weight

Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix th...

The power of positive thinking — on your size

Adam Levine once claimed it wasn’t all "rainbows and butterflies," but a recent study by Special K may prove everyone’s favorite outspoken pop star wrong.
Happy woman eating

As it turns out, how you think about your weight may play a key role in your success in losing and managing it.

Everyone’s probably familiar with the Special K weight loss commercials. They make weight loss sound so achievable and fun! It's kind of hard not to think, though, "Of course those girls look happy! They’re beautiful models who just landed a major TV campaign for one of the biggest brands on the planet!"

Well, the folks at Special K decided to put their research money where their mouths are (or rather, where our mouths are). They recently commissioned a study on positivity and weight management, and it turns out that being as thin as one of those models may be as simple as adopting their winning attitudes.

Study methodology

For the study, conducted by independent research firm Edelman Berland, they interviewed more than 1,000 women who described themselves as “weight conscious” to find out just what they think about their success or failure. The results were more than intriguing.

The power of positive thinking

About half the study participants were described as positive weight managers. These women are more likely to meet their weight loss goals and were 25 percent more likely to keep the weight off. Only one of every five of positive thinkers reported they had a hard time getting back on track after a slip in their diet plans.

Behavioral differences of positive thinkers

The differences don’t stop at attitude, though. Women who think positively about their weight management were more likely to stop conversations that cast their (or other’s) bodies in a negative light. You know that friend you have who changes the subject every time you bring up Christina Aguilera’s weight gain? That’s her. That’s because she’s three times more likely to rely on a friend for support and doesn’t need your negativity bringing her down.

On the other hand, here’s a list of the things the Negative Nellies tend to have issues with on their diets:

  • Lack of self-control
  • Weight loss plateau
  • Limited food options
  • Lack of motivation
  • Low-calorie/diet foods that don’t taste good
  • Portion control
  • Boredom
  • Lack of support

Some of those you just can’t help, but, wow, that’s a long list! We’d be willing to bet that a little further research would show the negative gals also have trouble taking responsibility for the things they can control, too. After all, if you fail or screw up, it’s hard to get back on track if you’re either ignoring the reality or beating yourself up for one little failure.

You can become one of those positive thinkers

I’m going to go ahead and break the “fourth wall” here and give it to you straight. I used to be one of those negative girls. No, I’m not a model now (I’m 5 feet tall, so that’s never going to happen), but I know from experience how that “Aha!” moment can change your thinking — and just how quickly the weight comes off when you stop feeling sorry for yourself, start eating well and get into a set exercise routine (which not only amps up those feel-good endorphins, but makes you feel better about yourself because you’re doing something about it).

How do you become one of those girls? Dr. Wendy Bazilian, an author, registered dietician and the nutrition advisor at Golden Door Fitness Resort and Spa in Escondido, California, has some tips, and SheKnows is issuing a challenge for you to follow them! Here's what she said.

"Every time you are about to say something negative about your body or weight, turn it around and make a positive statement. For example, swap the word 'gain' for 'lose,' 'fit' for 'fat,' 'strong' for 'weak,' 'can' for 'can’t.' Reinforcing positive thinking about weight management, through building this habit over time, might help you reach your weight management goals.

"Replace negative talk with positive talk — and banish altogether the ‘fat talk.’ Find a friend that you can support and who can support you, too! When you find yourself saying something negative about yourself, stop and turn it into a positive. And when your friend does the same, help her put on the stops. When you say something positive, high-five and celebrate in small ways together. Active practice at a positive attitude and positive talk may help you reach your weight management goals. Plus, you’ll find it’s fun... in fact, it’s contagious!

"Positivity takes practice — make it your practice to [make] positive statements about yourself. If a negative word comes into your mind, try to find its opposite, even if you have to look in the thesaurus at the antonym! Be bold and write positive words on sticky notes or even in inexpensive lipstick on your mirror if you dare. It takes practice to turn the negative body talk into positive. Pull out all the stops and know that small steps forward are all mini-successes. Celebrate the small successes and you may even find you hit your weight management goals with a smile throughout the journey, not just at the finish line.

"At the end of each day, write down at least three things you did well for the day toward healthy living. No matter how tough the day can be, you can always find three actions that were life- and health-affirming, no matter how small. Keep them in a positive journal and you’ll see them accumulate rapidly over time... and you may see other positive gains toward your weight management and strength goals over time."

Tell us

So, can you take the challenge? How will you put the good doctor's tips into practice? Tell us in the comments below.

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