Achieving Your Goal: The Importance of a Positive Mental Attitude
By: Dr. Rodrick D. McKinlay, MD, FACS
“You can achieve your weight loss goal. Achieving your goal requires diligence, adherence to eating guidelines, frequent exercise, and a positive mental attitude.”
Think for a moment. Have you ever done something difficult in your life that you are proud of? Really think. How did you do it? As you reflect on a difficult accomplishment, you will realize that your success came because you really believed that you could do it. You had to deal with hurdles, disappointments, and perhaps physical or mental pain. But you overcame.
Losing weight, and maintaining a healthy weight, are similar. Only it doesn’t have to be painful or difficult. I am going to share some tips that I have found helpful in accomplishing challenging, long-term tasks. In this case we will apply these principles to losing weight, and then maintaining it.
1. Use the AS IF principle. Act AS IF you are losing (or maintaining) the weight you need to, and YOU WILL. Place positive statements all around you; on the mirror, the refrigerator, a bookmark, anywhere you know you will see them daily. Use statements like:
· “I succeed in losing weight because I eat healthy, high-protein foods and avoid drinking calories.”
· “I succeed in losing weight because I drink at least 64 ounces of water a day.”
· “I succeed in losing weight because I enjoy exercise five times a week.”
· “I succeed in maintaining weight because I love my body the way it is.”
2. Create your own intimate support group. Enlist the help of others who know and love you, your own “support group.” As you feel comfortable, let them know how much your goal means to you and how much you appreciate their support.
3. Create the proper home and work environment. Don’t allow sugar snacks in the house. The kids may complain at first, but soon they’ll be enjoying fresh, healthy foods that take a little preparation. It’s okay to not have cellophane-wrapped or instant microwave-able food available at all times. Remember, “out of sight, out of mind.” If you are cooking for your family, avoid placing big platters of food on the dinner table. At work, remove candy dishes from your line of sight. Have healthy snacks available, like string cheese or beef jerky, around if you do need a one-ounce snack between meals.
4. Visualize. Envision yourself at your goal weight. I used to play soccer in high school and college. On one occasion we had a visiting coach from Germany come to our school. He would always say, “You must visualize.” He gave us the task of dribbling down the field at full speed and then, 20 yards out from the goal, kicking the ball so that it would hit the back of the net in mid-air. Out of 20 varsity soccer players, only one accomplished the task. Then he said, “Now I want each of you to see yourself accomplishing this task. See the ball hitting the back of the net. Now try again.” This time, half of us hit the back of the net. Visualizing works! You must see yourself as the person you want to be.
The last thing to remember is to credit yourself with progress. Even if you fall shy of your goal by a few or more pounds, look at the progress you’ve made! It is a great accomplishment and one that should make you proud.
About the Author:
Dr. Rodrick D. McKinlay, MD, FACS, joined Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians (RMAP) in 2004 as a board certified general surgeon with expertise in minimally invasive or laparoscopic surgery. In addition to the surgical treatment of obesity, his practice involves a wide range of minimally invasive gastrointestinal surgery, including hernia repair, gallbladder removal, anti-reflux surgery, and the surgical treatment of spleen and adrenal disorders.