How to Lose Weight Using Positive Reinforcement

It's very easy to have a positive attitude when you first start a weight-loss plan; however, maintaining a sense of enthusiasm throughout the duration of the program is another story. Be aware -- a negative mindset can cause you to sabotage your healthy efforts. Losing weight does come with challenges; finding positive ways to deal with the difficult moments can help you achieve your weight-loss goals.

Set realistic goals. Having impractical expectations regarding how fast you will lose weight can easily sabotage your motivation. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends losing 1 to 2 pounds per week for safe and long-lasting weight loss. Consider the changes you will need to make to your lifestyle to meet those goals. For example, to lose 1 pound of body weight you need to cut or burn 3,500 calories; determine how you will split that between your exercise and eating plan.

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Find something positive to say to yourself everyday about your efforts. Track your progress in a written or computerized journal. Record your meals and snacks for each day, along with the type and duration of your workouts. Review your log to see your progress; give yourself a pat on the back for sticking with it and progressing forward.

Identify the emotional triggers that cause you to feel negative so you are able to turn the bad habit into a positive change. Rather than beating yourself up when you fall short of your weekly goals, understand that you need to ease up on your social commitments, for example, to ensure that you have the proper time to work out. Be proud of yourself for realizing the challenge and how to go about fixing it.

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Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. When you are feeling down or negative, your friends and family can help to reinforce your positive attitude by reminding you of the progress you have made thus far. A little bit of encouragement from others can help to lift your spirits and reignite your motivation.

Recognize and celebrate your achievements. Losing weight can be a difficult process; setting milestones and rewarding yourself when you meet them can help you remain positive during your journey. Spring for a non-food-related treat for every 5 pounds you lose, for example. Create your own incentive plan to help you stick to your gym schedule or treat yourself to a massage after a month of healthy eating.


Seek the help of a certified therapist or weight-loss counselor if you are having trouble sticking to a weight-loss plan or if you are finding it difficult to remain positive.


Consult with a physician before starting a diet or exercise plan. Tell your doctor of any existing medical issues.