Weight Loss Hang-ups - PsychTests’ Study Reveals That What’s In Your Mind Is As Important As What’s In Your Belly

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Research by PsychTests.com indicates that individuals who have difficulty losing weight may be feeding their mind with unhealthy thoughts.

Weight difficulties could also be linked to having the wrong attitude toward weight loss.

Feeding yourself with unhealthy thoughts can be just as bad as unhealthy food.

Starting any goal, like weight loss, with a defeatist attitude sets you up for disappointment and failure.

After the customary overindulgence of the holiday season, and in response to the resulting bulge, getting rid of unwanted weight is the number 1 New Year’s resolution. Unfortunately, 80% of dieters fail miserably, with one third actually gaining more weight. Barring certain medical issues or medication side effects, there are certain reasons why a person will struggle to lose weight. Emotional eating, eating until uncomfortably full, or picking at food throughout the day are likely culprits. Research conducted at PsychTests using their Diet and Weight Loss Test indicates that weight difficulties could also be linked to having the wrong attitude toward weight loss.

Collecting data from 887 overweight and obese individuals, researchers at PsychTests discovered that aside from problematic food habits, many people in their sample have a defeatist and self-sabotaging attitude about their weight, which could make the process of losing the weight much more of a challenge.

For example:

  •     60% of the Overweight & Obese individuals have a low tolerance for frustration. They want instant gratification, which means that if they don’t see quick results of their efforts, they tend to give up.
  •     59% have an overall tendency to procrastinate. Essentially, the “I’ll work out tomorrow” or “I’ll make smarter food choices, starting tomorrow!” often turns into next week, two months from now, or next year.
  •     45% consider a healthy lifestyle a “hassle.” Weight loss isn’t an easy endeavor. It requires the discipline to make smart choices, the willingness to buy healthy food, and the dedication to work out regularly.
  •     37% lack self-motivation, and often depend on extrinsic sources to get going (e.g. encouragement from others, doctor’s ultimatum). They have difficulty finding inspiration from within.
  •     36% don’t reward themselves when they reach weight loss milestones, because they feel they don’t deserve it. They believe weight gain is their fault, so they punish themselves for their negligence by not celebrating accomplishments. While accountability is essential, self-criticism can be highly counterproductive.
  •     18% believe that healthy lifestyle won’t make a difference because it’s their genes that have the final say. Another 18% believe that people who do manage to lose weight will inevitably gain it back.

“Genetic make-up has some, but not complete influence on your health; environment, behavior, and habits also play a major role,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “The placebo effect offers clear proof that the way we think (and feel) has a significant impact on our physical health. So if you’re struggling to stay the course on your weight loss journey, it may be time to reevaluate the thoughts you’re feeding yourself with. Starting any goal, like weight loss, with a defeatist attitude sets you up for disappointment and failure.”

PsychTests offers the following tips to help people start their weight loss efforts on the right foot:

  •     Ask yourself if you're really ready to change. Committing to weight loss requires a wholehearted effort. Granted, you may fall off the wagon sometimes and indulge in that dessert, but that doesn't mean you need to let it spiral down any further. If you find yourself struggling to stick to healthy food and exercise, you may not be mentally ready to change just yet.
  •     Don’t assume that exercise has to be extreme to be effective. The sweat-inducing, high intensity kind of exercise is what often discourages people from keeping it up. The bottom line is, the best exercise routine is one that you'll stick to. So if you find that you need to drag yourself to the gym or your treadmill at home, it's time for a change in your routine. There are many exercise options that are fun and can help you stay fit, like swimming, dancing, yoga, spinning, kickboxing, nature walks, and step classes. You can also look into the latest advances in interactive video games. And remember, start small. Play your favorite music and shake your booty while cooking or cleaning the house. Take your pooch for a brisk walk. Get a yoga ball chair. Build your focused exercise up to 20 minutes a day, 3 times a week, and then add a day and 10 additional minutes, every 3 weeks.
  •     Don't assume you have to give up your favorite foods. Just eat them less often, and less of them. This doesn't mean spending an entire day binging on your beloved chocolate cake, or having nothing but fast food. It means eating healthy most of the time, and allowing a moderate indulgence for one meal. Weight loss author Tom Venuto recommends a "90/10 compliance rule" where 90% of your meals are healthy, and the remaining 10% are your "free meals" (rather than "cheat meals").
  •     Set yourself up for success. The choices we make are influenced by our options. If you have difficulty resisting chips or chocolate, don’t keep them handy. Go grocery shopping on a full stomach, and stock up on healthy but enjoyable foods – get a variety of fruits, nuts and veggies. When the craving hits, the easiest option to satisfy it should come from your colorful and inviting fruit bowl. For the calories you would get from wolfing down ten chocolate chip cookies, you can have an apple, 3 clementines, a dragon fruit, a banana, an orange and a pear.     The fruity alternative is more filling, very satisfying in terms of taste and texture, lasts longer for your chewing pleasure, has plenty of fiber and vitamins, has pretty much no fat, and overall is better for your body and your soul.

Is an unhealthy mental attitude inhibiting your weight loss? Learn more at http://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/3093

Professional users of this assessment (therapists, life coaches and counselors) can request a free demo of the Diet and Weight Loss Test or any other assessments from ARCH Profile’s extensive battery: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/testdrive_gen_1

To learn more about psychological testing, download this free eBook: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/personality-tests-in-hr

About PsychTests.com
PsychTests.com is a subsidiary of PsychTests AIM Inc. PsychTests.com is a site that creates an interactive venue for self-exploration with a healthy dose of fun. The site offers a full range of professional-quality, scientifically validated psychological assessments that empower people to grow and reach their real potential through insightful feedback and detailed, custom-tailored analysis.

PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see ARCHProfile.com). The company’s research division, Plumeus Inc., is supported in part by Research and Development Tax Credit awarded by Industry Canada.

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Ilona Jerabek, PhD
PsychTests AIM Inc.
+1 (514) 745-3189 Ext: 112
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since: 10/2009
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