Psychology of Weight Loss

The weight loss industry is a multibillion dollar industry and the media is flooded with claims of a quick fix, weight loss cures, miracle supplements, a myriad of weight loss programs, food plans, surgery and devices to help you lose weight.

An article in Psychology Today stated: ”Practically anyone can lose weight. But those who keep it off are a rare species. Theirs is not an entirely phenomenon—they stay slim by maintaining the behaviors that got them there. They eat healthier foods, decrease portion sizes and exercise. But how, exactly, do they keep it up? The answer suggests a psychological overhaul as much as a physical one.’

This is the season when my office is flooded with people who want to lose weight, lose it quickly and lose it now. While I can help them reach their goals, I caution them that there is no cure and unless they do a psychological makeover, it may return. A good place to start is to determine why we eat and how we use food. Do you live to eat or eat to live?

Understanding the Psychology of Weight Loss

Attitude is everything. When you crave something, oftentimes its not because you are hungry, it’s because you are stressed, bored, anxious, or are just thinking about something and want it. Recognizing your triggers is the first step, then asking yourself if you are truly hungry. If you are hungry, choose a healthy option, if you are not hungry; distract yourself with a pleasurable activity. Avoid using food as a reward. Plan how you will respond in social situations when there is pressure to eat larger quantities or unhealthy choices. A good book to read is Dr. Phil,s “Ultimate Weight Loss Solution: the 7 Keys to Freedom” to better understand the psychology of weight loss. Psychology Today also has an excellent article about mustering the motivation and inspiration to stick to your goals.
To get the support and validation you need to achieve and maintain your goals and institute the behavioral changes that can transform your life, join a supervised program. Getting back on the wagon every time you fall off and not punishing yourself or giving up is critical to success.

Psychology of Weight Loss Takeaway:

If your cravings, impulses and food addictions are more difficult to overcome, a coach or therapist can assist you. If you have any underlying medical issues or embark on a quick weight loss plan or very low calorie diet, seek ongoing medical monitoring and support. Health is a lifestyle and it starts with your mindset. Breaking old patterns can free you to be slim by choice.


  1. Patricia A. Dellaccio August 25, 2010 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    Since I started the cleanse 4 days ago I have been sticking to it but today I want something sweet and I know I can’t have it, which only makes me want it more. How can I appease my sweet tooth?

    • maita June 24, 2013 at 6:26 pm - Reply

      The best thing to do is not to give in to the craving. The more you have, the more you will want and the longer you are away from sweets the less you will crave them. Hope that answers your question.

Leave A Comment