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Updated: Oct 20, 2023

Dragonfly Transformation & Wellness

April 2021


Why is it so difficult to lose weight and keep it off?

The reason isn't hard to find: knowing what to do and knowing how to get yourself to do it are entirely separate skills. When it comes to changing behavior, especially long-term, habitual patterns, getting yourself to do something different, even when you know it's good for you, depends largely on what you tell yourself: that is, on your thinking.

For example, let's say you're at a party and see a lot of really delicious desserts. Will you end up eating too much? You probably will if you think, “I don't care. I don't want to deprive myself. It isn't fair that everyone else gets to eat whatever they want, and I have to settle for one small piece.” By contrast, if you say to yourself, "I'm going to pick my favorite dessert. I'll eat one small piece slowly and enjoy every bite. I know I'm going to feel so proud of myself," you stand a much better chance of not overeating.


People who repeatedly find themselves unable to regulate their own weight typically can't get past their negative, dysfunctional thinking. They simply need to learn how to address the dysfunctional thinking that leads to overeating. But how?

One of the most basic tools that helps clients learn the cognitive skills they need to adhere to their diets is the use of a list of “mantras” where they write messages they'll need to recall when they're tempted to eat off plan or overeat. They develop the practice of reading these helpful messages every morning and at least one more time, at their most vulnerable part of the day.

Here are a few examples of these mantra messages:

"I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want, or I can be thinner. I can't have it both ways."

"Hunger and craving always pass. I can make them go away faster by focusing my attention on something else."

"My body doesn't know it's a holiday. It'll process food in exactly the same way as on other days."

Reading these daily, even when motivation is high, allows dieters to immerse themselves in crucially important ideas that prepare them for the inevitable difficult times, especially the thoughts that lead to negative, motivation-sapping emotions:

“This is just too hard” leads to discouragement.

“It's not fair” leads to anger and a sense of deprivation.

“I really want to eat this right now” leads to disappointment.

Dieters can't prevent these sabotaging thoughts from entering their minds, but if they've been practicing helpful responses, they'll be able to deal with them and modify their habitual eating behavior.

Write your own list of temptation busting mantras that focus on your “why” and practice them daily!

When you’ll be faced with a situation where temptation will be an issue, work with your coach ahead of time to create a plan!

Failure to plan is planning to fail

And don’t forget to dig in to journaling daily to change those thoughts and habits long-term!

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