Focus on progress, not perfection
Lima Fazaa, Chief of Nutrition at AIG Clinics & Part-time Clinical Dietitian at Dubai London Hospital
Did you know that losing weight (if living with obesity) can improve your mental wellbeing? Research shows how weight loss leads to benefits for mental well-being and mental health. For example, losing at least 10% of your body weight not only improves physical health, such as Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, reduced cancer risk, and improvements in fertility, but also improvements in health-related quality of life (QOL), such as judging life positively, feeling good and healthy, and feeling like you have energy.
Losing weight is a journey beyond changing your eating and exercise habits. It’s about transforming your mindset, addressing the emotional challenges, and finding the inner strength to overcome obstacles that can hinder your success. Lasting transformation involves both the physical and the mental, which is why the Allurion Program offers the tools and support to lose weight, adopt healthier habits, and reshape your mindset, empowering you to achieve tangible, sustainable results.
Of course, ups and downs are a part of any weight-loss journey, and there will certainly be moments when you feel like progress is beyond your grasp. That said, learning how to overcome negative self-talk and emotional eating triggers and transforming your mindset during your journey is essential.
Stop the negative self-talk that sabotages weight loss
Your thoughts are a powerful part of what drives your daily behaviors and actions. When the numbers on the scale refuse to budge, it’s easy to fall into self-criticism and guilt. Thoughts like “My weight is my fault” or “I don’t have enough willpower to lose weight” can swirl, eroding your self-esteem and sapping your motivation. However, berating yourself does more harm than good. These negative thought patterns, which impact your emotional and physical well-being, work against your efforts to lose weight and get healthy, and are also associated with an increased risk of depression, dysfunctional eating patterns, and more.
As much as weight loss plays a role in improving your mental well-being, the non-scale victories you experience along a weight-loss journey, such as simple observations like feeling more energized, sleeping better, fitting into different-sized clothes, walking more comfortably, or simply feeling more confident trying new things you once thought were beyond your reach, are equally, if not more, important. These victories are not just milestones; they are tangible proof of the positive life changes you’re making, your growth and transformation, and play a part in improving your mental well-being.
Weight loss is not as simple as eating less or moving more. Strong and complex biological, cultural, and psychological factors affect your lifestyle and weight, so well-being should focus on cultivating a healthy relationship with food, enjoying movement, guiding your thoughts towards helpful ones that reinforce your goals, and the positive actions you can take daily to support your health.
Judge yourself based on your actions, not your weight. Your value as a person goes far beyond the number on the scale.
Coping with emotional eating triggers
Emotional eating is one of the biggest and most common challenges you might face with weight loss. When you feel the urge to overeat or feel your emotions influencing your appetite, it can be helpful to pause and identify the root emotion behind it. Are you stressed? Lonely? Bored? Acknowledging the feeling helps diffuse it so you can choose a healthier response.
Tracking your emotions, eating habits, and food intake can be a great first step to being more aware of how they interact. Over time, as you learn new ways to manage your emotions that do not necessarily involve food, it gets easier despite difficult emotions. The Allurion Balloon can also help you control portions and cravings by making you feel fuller faster, and longer by taking up over half of your stomach space. The balloon stays approximately four months in your stomach, and during this time, your Allurion nutrition team works with you to re-engineer your eating habits, learn to recognize triggers, and develop strategies to deal with them.
Shifting your mindset from dieting to sustainable weight loss and wellness
Successful weight loss requires changing both your habits and your mindset in the long term. Willpower and motivation will always fluctuate, so you need tools to transform your thoughts about food, exercise, and your body. Through coaching, the Allurion Program helps you shift from unrealistic dieting mindsets to one around sustainable weight loss, better health inside and out, and mental wellness:
- Valuing inner strength over physical appearance; appreciating the qualities and values that make you beautiful
- Viewing food as wholesome fuel for your body instead of a reward or guilty pleasure
- Exercising for physical health, the joy of progress, and mental clarity, not just calorie-burning
Changing these mindsets can be challenging, especially if you’ve held onto them for many years.