How to reframe your weight loss mindset to have the best success

Steve Silvestro, MD - Contributor Avatar

Written by Alison Dalton 

Steve Silvestro, MD - Contributor Avatar

Written by Alison Dalton 

last updated: Sep 02, 2021

5 min read

You probably started your weight loss program with a specific goal in mind. Maybe your goal was to lose a certain number of pounds, or to fit into your favorite outfit. Maybe it was to feel healthier and have more energy.

Those are all great goals. But, the truth is, the real goal in weight loss isn’t just losing weight—it’s keeping it off.

Of course, the challenge is that a weight loss journey isn’t a straight line—you’re going to have days when things feel great, and days when it seems like the path is too hard or you’ll never reach your goal. That’s why it’s so important to set yourself up for long-term success.

And the way to do that is to reframe your thinking and have a positive weight loss mindset. How can you do that? Here are nine tips and tricks you can use to support yourself in your journey.

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1. Be proud of all your accomplishments

Give yourself credit for all your accomplishments, even if they seem like small ones. Maybe you made a more nutritious choice at lunch than you usually would. Or you got off the bus one or two stops early and walked the rest of the way. If you’re using a device like Plenity to help with your weight loss, maybe you took your Plenity capsule 20 minutes before dinner, realized you were full after eating a moderate amount of food, and didn’t have a second helping. Pat yourself on the back—each of these small accomplishments is important!

2. Practice small changes, and the big ones will take care of themselves

Little things like going for a walk after dinner, or having some fruit instead of chocolate, may seem like small accomplishments. But taken together, small changes add up to big improvements.

That’s because losing weight—and keeping it off—is all about forming healthy new habits. If you keep making small changes every day, soon, these healthy practices will become second nature. Then you won’t even have to think about them—you’ll just do them naturally.

3. Don’t beat yourself up for having a bad day

Author and inventor Adam Osborne said: “The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake—you can't learn anything from being perfect.” 

Nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes and do things that take us further away from our goals, but how we handle those mistakes can greatly impact whether we get back on track.

Maybe you binged on ice cream one night or had a second helping of pasta at dinner. Here’s what to do:

  1. Don’t beat yourself up. You’re human—not every day is going to go as planned, and that’s okay!

  2. Do take a deep breath, then get right back on your plan. Every day is a new day.

Everyone who tries to achieve a long-term goal has days where they don’t perform the way they want to, and they feel discouraged. They may even think about giving up. This is true whether they’re trying to win an Olympic medal, write a book, or launch a career. Before they were famous, a long list of actors, including Claire Danes, Kristen Stewart, Bradley Cooper, Mark Ruffalo, Emma Watson, and many others, got so discouraged that they almost gave up on acting. But they didn’t—and that made all the difference.

Scientists say that people who quit smoking make an average of 30 attempts to quit before they finally succeed. That’s a lot of trying!

It’s no different when you’re trying to lose weight and keep it off. You may fall off of your plan many times—but if you keep getting back on it, you will succeed.

4. Get past the stumbling blocks

Here’s something that can help lift you up when you hit a stumbling block. 

Take a few minutes to think about a time this past month when you had a bad day, and your weight loss approach didn't go as planned. 

Now, think about what might not go as planned in the coming month. Write these possible challenges down in your weight loss journal. Then, next to each of these stumbling blocks, write down something you can do to build yourself up and get back on track. Be specific—think of exactly what you can say to yourself or do to pep yourself up and stay the course.

Come back to these safety net plans whenever you feel like you've had a bad day. And remember that stumbling blocks are inevitable. Expecting them and having a plan of action for when you face them will help you overcome whatever challenges come your way! 

5. Don’t listen to negative self-talk

Like most people, you probably have doubts and fears about your ability to do certain things. That self-doubt can sometimes be like a little, mean voice in our heads.

It says unkind things like, “Who are you kidding? You’ll never be able to do this.” Or it might urge you to do something you may regret later, like “Go ahead, have that brownie. What does it matter, anyway?”

Remember that “little voice”—the voice of your negative feelings about yourself—really isn’t your friend, and it’s not usually correct. Don’t listen to it. Instead, listen to the real you—the you that wants to get healthy and stay healthy.

6. Reframe your thinking to be positive

Say you have a negative thought like, “I just overate. I can’t stick with this plan.” But is that really true? You may have stuck with your plan all week and slipped up just once. So you can stick with your plan for an entire week—you’ve already proved that!

Reframing your thinking to notice and focus on the positive can keep you going on your journey, even when the road gets rocky. And the more you make an effort to focus on the good, the more easily you’ll be able to see it in everything you do.

7. Be as kind to yourself as you’d be to a good friend

If your friend told you about a binge-eating episode, would you say to her, “Wow, you’re such a loser for messing up!” Of course not. You’d probably say something more like, “You’ve been doing really well. You went off your plan—no big deal, just get back on it. I know you can do it!”

Throughout this journey, talk to yourself the way you would to that good friend.

8. Keep a weight loss journal

You may have already started tracking your dinners in a journal (and if you haven't, we highly recommend it!). In addition to what you ate, you might consider writing down how you felt before you started eating. Just a word is fine, like “stressed” or “bored.” Also, write down where you were or who you were with when you ate.

Over time, you might start seeing patterns in your eating habits. You may notice that you eat when you’re bored. Or you may tend to overeat when you’re sitting and watching TV. Maybe certain people tend to encourage you to eat in a way that doesn’t help you feel your best.

Pay attention to these details so you can make changes as needed to keep you on your path toward success. 

9. Set a small goal for tomorrow

Try this:

If you’re already logging your dinners in your weight loss journal, then for your next accomplishment, you can start logging another meal: lunch. Note how you feel, where you are, and what you eat. That’s it!

Tracking two meals a day is a big step toward taking control of your health. Remember, small changes lead to big improvements—you’ve got this!


If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

How we reviewed this article

Every article on Health Guide goes through rigorous fact-checking by our team of medical reviewers. Our reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the writer.

Current version

September 02, 2021

Written by

Alison Dalton

Fact checked by

Steve Silvestro, MD

About the medical reviewer

Dr. Steve Silvestro is a board-certified pediatrician and Associate Director, Clinical Content & Education at Ro.

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