Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight will tell you: We find what we lose, particularly when it comes to unwanted kilos.


In dealing with excess weight gain, many people find that a proper diet and regular exercise are helpful. However, there are also many people who find themselves struggling as they gain back the weight they just lost. If this is your exact situation, keep reading on. This article discusses the indispensable, fundamental behavioral changes required in anyone seeking a happy, healthy, and permanent solution to weight loss.

7 Tips For a Lasting Weight Loss

Here are some ways encompassing inner work and habit change that will create a positive ripple effect — not just to your physical health, but to other aspects of your life as well. In mastering these, dealing with excess weight gain will be a much easier undertaking for you.

1. Choose differently

You have all the resources within you to change your life. Your focus and commitment will be the only determinants to what you can do, be, or have. Consciously choosing differently makes perfect sense.


Even intelligent people sometimes act in perplexing ways, for instance, when expecting a different outcome from an unchanging input. This being the case, the question becomes: Why does one fail to change the approach?


Your weight loss goal, like anything else in life, is about choice. You can choose today and then continue to choose everyday to change your habits.[1,2]


Choose differently tip: You are in control. Even though right now you may feel “a slave” to food, which may lead you to believe your ideal body is unattainable or a “lost battle” — you can instead choose to believe that the battle can be won. 


Once you have done this, have a pen and paper ready. Then ask yourself this question: “How will I lose x kg in x weeks?” Be both specific and realistic with your question (aim for about 1kg a week). Commit to writing down at least 20 different ways or things you can do in order to achieve your goal. This approach also works for more than just weight loss.[1,2]

2. Improve your self-image

How you see yourself will shape your reality. The great news is that you can change your reality by choosing to see yourself differently. Often we needlessly carry such negative perspectives of ourselves.


But before you can change your perception of yourself, you have to learn to accept yourself the way you are right now. Be grateful for what you do have. Given you are reading these words, it is very likely you possess a well-functioning body (slight imperfections aside). You have been blessed.


In your weight loss journey, one of the keys to permanent weight elimination is to see yourself the way you want to be. It is all too common for the person who sheds 20kg to put it all back on because on the outside, there has been a transformation — but inside, there is still the old 20kg heavier self.


In your lose-weight journey, one of the keys to permanent weight elimination is to see yourself the way you want to be. It is all too common for the person who sheds 20kg to put it all back on because on the outside, there has been a transformation — but inside, there is still the old 20kg heavier self.


Choose differently tip: Spend five minutes everyday entertaining your imagination. Imagine what you will look like at your ideal weight (from all angles). This is not a static picture — really daydream. Feel how you are going to feel within yourself, how you will interact with others as a result of your changed self, and so on. See it all in detail. 



Scientific research shows this practice helps change your “body’s thinking” — having the power to positively influence your food and lifestyle choices towards better eating and increased physical activity, as well as improve your own physiology.[3-6]

3. Change your self-talk

“I am slimmer everyday” is your new mantra. When you used to tell yourself: “I am fat”, “I am ugly”, “I am disgusting”, “I hate my body” — guess what you are getting more of? FAT, UGLY, DISGUSTING — which are NOT what you want more of, right?


We get more of what we focus on. What an incredible thing to realize that the lose weight motivation you are searching for is already within your power. What better opportunity to choose differently.


Choose differently tip: Counter every negative thought with “I am slimmer everyday.” This statement is true regardless of what your scales currently tell you.  And when you start to really believe it, you consciously and subconsciously begin acting accordingly.[7]

4. Reduce stress

Stress most often affects our ability to care about what we eat, as well as our desire to plan to eat healthily. We tend to use food for comfort — “stuffing” feelings, emotions, and insecurities down with each mouthful.


This is one side of how stress keeps you fat. The other of course is the physiological impact that stress hormones have on insulin and blood sugar levels — making things like food cravings, unbalanced appetite, fluid retention, and the almost impossible task of losing fat under such circumstances a direct consequence of the stress response.[8-10]


Choose differently tip: Try this right now — Wherever you are, sit comfortably and focus solely on what you are about to do. Take a deep, slow breath in. Let the air expand your tummy until it is fully expanded. Once that is done, hold that breath and slowly count to 5. Then gently exhale completely.


Repeat this breathing process 5 times. Once you are done, you will feel completely relaxed and energized. Then practice throughout the day. You can even supercharge this exercise by concurrently seeing in your mind the stress melting away with each breath, to be replaced with your ideal situation or circumstance. The more you focus on what you want (followed by positive action), the sooner it will be yours.[11]

5. Find a hobby

What a better way to de-stress than to do something you truly enjoy. A healthy hobby can do so much for you. It can serve as an alternative for emotional or compulsive eating because you have something else to turn to when feeling vulnerable. All of a sudden, you have a better option to “distract” your mind — so use it.


Choose differently tip: Find something you truly enjoy and begin doing it. It can be anything from painting, ceramics, dancing classes to reading and origami. One amazing benefit of pursuing a hobby activity is that you develop skills that transfer to many other areas of your life. The bottom line: HAVE FUN.[12]

6. Make good sleep a priority

Clear your mind. As a society, we let our lives be driven by our own and other people’s deadlines, worries, anxieties, and insecurities. Our misguided and often negative thoughts gain momentum in the playground of our minds. The result? We do not sleep or we sleep poorly, and this has a negative impact in every other aspect of our lives. The great news? All that is required for a positive change is a change in perception.[13]


Deadlines can be postponed. If not, other opportunities will arise. For all the rest, which generally revolve around worry, the following is a great reminder: “There is no need to worry. Why worry about something you can’t change? If you can’t change it, there is no reason to worry about it. Similarly, why worry about something you can change (or control)? If you can change it, there is no reason to worry about it.”


Now that you have eliminated all of the things you could worry about, there is no reason to worry.


How true this is. And if you are sitting there thinking — “This is ridiculous. It can’t be that simple.” You are an intelligent person, so I challenge you to think again. This change in attitude will be the best investment you can make for your life, health, and wellbeing.


Choose differently tip: Firstly, plan your schedule around ensuring you block out 8 hours to guarantee you have the time to get enough sleep. This is the priority, everything else really is secondary. Then adopt a new outlook — realize you are a changed person and you now go to bed with a new attitude. You now know there is no reason to worry, and you begin to implement this practice right away. 
Avoid stimulants in the afternoon and evening (e.g. coffee, tea, colas, energy drinks, chocolate, sugar) to help you have a restful sleep.[14-16]

7. Stop watching TV

No time for anything? Want to gain at least another 3 hours in your week? An article published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association reports that in 1997, an adult male spent approximately 29 hours per week watching TV while an adult female spent 34 hours weekly.[17]


Whilst it is a scientifically proven fact that television viewing is a major predisposing factor for weight gain and obesity, little attention is paid to this problem. The results of a 6-year follow up study on television viewing are clear: Each 2hr/day increment in watching television was associated with a 23% increase in obesity and a 14% increase in risk of diabetes.[17-20]


Sitting in front of the television watching fast food commercials causes you to want to eat more of those seemingly appetizing foods. It also causes you to not pay attention to your body’s satiety (fullness) signals when you are eating, which leads to increased calorie consumption and inactivity all at once.[21]


Choose differently tip: Turn off the television. A lot of the time spent in front of it is often watching things you did not really want to see in the first place. So in order to avoid wasting your precious time, get out the TV Guide on Sunday. Only mark down the shows you really want to watch.

Stick to the plan: Watch your favorite shows and then turn off the TV. You will find much better ways to use the time you will gain. Who knows? Maybe you will even feel inspired to go for a walk.

Final Thoughts

Before you can change WHAT YOU ARE — or in other words, HOW YOU LOOK, you need to change WHO YOU ARE. This means a change in how you choose to look and feel about yourself, and a change in how you do things. This internal change, in turn, triggers other changes within you and your outward habits — which are transformed to become more in line with your inherent desire for yourself: A healthy body and a healthy weight.


You will find it easier to eat nourishing foods — just like a more active lifestyle and exercise will simply become part of what you do, without having to give it much thought. Soon, your outward situation will mirror your new inward reality. When this happens, you no longer need to worry about fluctuating or excess weight gain: You are home.


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[1] Teixeira, P.J., et al. Pretreatment Predictors of Attrition and Successful Weight Management in Women. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 2004. 28(9). PMID: 15263921.
[2] Teixeira, P.J., et al. Successful Behavior Change in Obesity Interventions in Adults: A Systematic Review of Self-Regulation Mediators. BMC Medicine, 2015. PMID: 25907778.
[3] Lemon, S.C., et al. Contributions of Weight Perceptions to Weight Loss Attempts: Differences by Body Mass Index and Gender. Body Image, 2009. 6(2). PMID: 19188102.
[4] Rahman, M., et al. Self-perception of weight and its association with weight-related behaviors in young reproductive-age women. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 2010. 116(6). PMID: 21099591.

[5] Breland, J.Y., et al. Weight Perceptions and Weight Loss Attempts: Military Service Matters. Military Medicine, 2019. 185(3-4). PMID: 31822913.
[6] Heiman, T., et al. Perceived Body Appearance and Eating Habits: The Voice of Young and Adult Students Attending Higher Education. International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health, 2019. 16(3). PMID: 30720728.
[7] Forman, E.M., et al. A New Look at the Science of Weight Control: How Acceptance and Commitment Strategies Can Address the Challenge of Self-Regulation. Appetite, 2015. 84. PMID: 25445199.
[8] Xenaki, N., et al. Impact of a stress management program on weight loss, mental health and lifestyle in adults with obesity: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Molecular Biochemistry, 2018.
[9] Bergmann, N., et al. The appraisal of chronic stress and the development of the metabolic syndrome: a systematic review of prospective cohort studies. Endocrine Connections, 2014. 3(2). PMID: 24743684.
[10] Razzoli, M., et al. Stress, overeating, and obesity: insights from human studies and preclinical models. Neuroscience & Behavioural Reviews, 2017. 76(Pt A). PMID: 28292531.
[11] Zaccaro, A., et al. How Breath-Control Can Change Your Life: A Systematic Review on Psycho-Physiological Correlates of Slow Breathing. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2018. PMID: 30245619.
[12] Martin, L., et al. Creative Arts Interventions for Stress Management and Prevention—A Systematic Review. Behavioural Sciences, 2018. 8(2). PMID: 29470435.
[13] Capers, P.L., et al. A Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials of the Impact of Sleep Duration on Adiposity and Components of Energy Balance. Obesity Reviews, 2015. 16(9). PMID: 26098388.
[14] Itani, O., et al. Short Sleep Duration and Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis, and Meta-Regression. Sleep Medicine, 2017. PMID: 27743803.
[15] Szkodziak, F., et al. Psychological aspects of infertility. A systematic review. Journal of International Medical Research, 2020.48(6). PMID: 32600086.
[16] Clark, I., et al. Coffee, Caffeine, and Sleep: A Systematic Review of Epidemiological Studies and Randomized Controlled Trials. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 2017. PMID: 26899133.
[17] Hu, F.B., et al. Television Watching and Other Sedentary Behaviors in Relation to Risk of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Women. JAMA, 2003. 289(14). PMID: 12684356.
[18] Raynor, D.A., et al. Television Viewing and Long-Term Weight Maintenance: Results From the National Weight Control Registry. Obesity, 2006. 14(10). PMID: 17062812.
[19] Cleland, V.J., et al. Longitudinal Associations Between TV Viewing and BMI Not Explained by the ‘Mindless Eating’ or ‘Physical Activity Displacement’ Hypotheses Among Adults. BMC Public Health, 2018. 18(1). PMID: 29940922.
[20] Takagi, H., et al. Meta-analysis of the Relation of Television-Viewing Time and Cardiovascular Disease. American Journal of Cardiology, 2019. 124(11). PMID: 31586528.
[21] Zimmerman, F.J., et al. BMC Public Health, 2014. 14. PMID: 24721289.