7 Psychological Techniques to Lose Weight

7 Psychological Techniques to Lose Weight
Alicia Escaño Hidalgo

Written and verified by the psychologist Alicia Escaño Hidalgo.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Weight is a cause of concern for many people. Our society has caused us to deify physical appearance and turn it into a personal value when it really shouldn’t be, since you can’t determine whether someone is superior or inferior to anyone else just because they’re more or less attractive.

This constant preoccupation with fitting into standards of beauty and gaining the acceptance of other people is partly responsible for the multitude of psychological disorders that revolve around having an ideal figure, such as anorexia and bulimia.

But like everything, there’s another side to this subject. While idealizing good physique and obsessing over weight isn’t the way, neither is letting go of your body and neglecting to take care of yourself.

Emotions almost always hide behind obesity. In those cases, people use food as a band-aid to momentarily cover up their problems that they don’t know how to manage otherwise. Therefore, it’s necessary to integrate cognitive, emotional, and behavioral techniques to help them control themselves.

Forget about miracle diets, because they almost always end up being a fraud. All they do is waste your money and take away your motivation when you notice that you’re not getting results. They can even be dangerous for your health.

The only way to lose weight is to follow an individualized diet created by a professional, and complement it with a healthy amount of physical exercise. It’s the simplest, yet most complicated solution. Do you want to know how to do it? Psychology can help.

psychological techniques to lose weight running

Losing weight from a psychological standpoint

Psychology is a discipline that can offer many self-control techniques. Obesity is often a consequence of impulsively raiding the fridge or not being organized enough to exercise frequently. And when people see themselves gaining weight, it’s common to lose morale and abandon themselves more to chance and impulse.

To break the cycle, the first step is to be prepared to take action In other words, make it clear to yourself that you want to change and be ready to put forth all your energy towards it. It won’t be easy, but you’ll feel so accomplished if you achieve your goal.

Use smaller plates

We often eat and eat until our plates are empty, simply because there’s food still on them, even if we’re not hungry anymore. It seems obvious, but if you want to lose weight, get rid of all the enormous plates in your kitchen and buy smaller ones. That way, you’ll only be able to serve yourself an appropriate amount of food and no more.

You can always go back for more, but having to go back to the kitchen, serve yourself again, and eat a second plate of food will make you think about it much more.

Go shopping when you’re not hungry

If you go food shopping while you’re hungry, you’ll probably end up buying high-calorie food such as processed pastries, chocolate, etc. It’s better to go shopping right after you eat and are still full so that your brain can guide you, not your stomach. Similarly, if you can avoid having that type of food at home, it will be much easier to resist the temptation.

psychological techniques to lose weight shopping

No hypocalorie diets

While it’s not advisable to eat high-calorie food, it also isn’t a good idea to eat a low-calorie diet that leaves you feeling hungry. If you’re not full after a meal, you’ll likely binge on high-calorie food later. Therefore, eat healthy, but don’t stay hungry.

Tolerance for emotions

People often use food to cover up their negative emotions. It serves as a negative and positive reinforcement, so that every time you feel bad, you go back to the fridge or the pantry. In that way, the negative emotion subsides and you feel better.

The problem is that you feel better for only a moment, and then you start to feel guilty. Therefore, you have to learn to handle your emotions, to embrace them as a part of yourself, and to try not to run from them by passing them guiltily to your stomach.

Eat six meals per day

The idea is to avoid feeling hungry and then binging to compensate for it. Just as it’s not advisable to eat a low-calorie diet, it’s also unadvisable to eat only a few times throughout the day, since you could start to snack on something in between. It’s better to eat six well-established meals so that there are no gaps where you feel hungry and temptations arise.

Don’t prohibit any foods

Anything that’s prohibited will end up becoming desirable, so don’t ban any foods. This doesn’t mean you have free reign to eat anything any time you want it, but you should allow yourself to indulge at least once a week. That way, you’ll get it out of your head it and won’t be so tempting.

Think rationally about food

Most of the most pleasing foods to the palate and the brain are the least healthy. A good strategy is to maintain a rational internal dialogue about the food that you choose to consume.

psychological techniques to lose weight

For example, if you want to eat a sausage sandwich, you can tell yourself that this is an unhealthy food made of poor quality meat products mixed with sugar, and the only thing it can give me is momentary pleasure. Would you still want to eat it?

Along with these strategies, don’t forget to exercise daily, stay hydrated, surround yourself with quality people in your social circle, face challenges with integrity, and find solutions that work. If you can integrate these techniques into your daily life, before you know it, something that seems really difficult to you now will become a habit in the future.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.