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Is losing weight mostly psychological?

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  • GaleHawkins
    GaleHawkins Posts: 8,160 Member
    I'm wondering everyone's thoughts on this. I'm very big into mindset changes along with permanent habit and lifestyle changes. In my opinion, losing weight and even maintaining the lost weight is mostly psychological than anything else. I dont think people realize how much internal mindset affects the whole process and because of this, when they've reached goal weight, many will gain it back. It all comes from "within". Whether they lose the motivation, or forget the "habits" that were supposed to be built for a lifetime etc. Unless there is a health issue on hand, do you mostly agree or disagree?

    @Kimblesnbits13 I personally find weight loss is 99% based on my intent so yes in my case it is mostly psychological. Really it is not possible to be the other way around.
  • Gallowmere1984
    Gallowmere1984 Posts: 6,626 Member
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    MichSmish wrote: »
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    IMO, no. It's more habitual. ANYONE can lose weight if they work on a regimen CONSISTENTLY and that's sustainable.
    People didn't get fat because of their psychology. They got fat because of habitual overeating.
    Psychology comes in when one has to make the COMMITMENT to do it. One can be FORCED to do it, but people don't like to be forced and that's why many times weight regain happens.
    But again, if it's a habitual regimen one can do for basically the rest of their life, they can sustain weight loss and maintain.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

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    But doesn't creating and breaking habits involve, at least in the beginning, a bit of one's mental fortitude? I agree it's mostly all about creating good habits and breaking/limiting bad ones, but a person's habits involve one's mental state too, to a degree.
    To an extent yes. And that's mostly because we're free to make decisions and most decisions we make usually are to satisfy us or make us happy.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png


    Very true, but most people are terrible at weighing instant gratification against the abstract concept of "future self". I think if most were better at it, we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

    A muffin might make me happy now. Having to eat nearly nothing for dinner or get fat will make me angry later.
  • tomteboda
    tomteboda Posts: 2,171 Member
    To quote the late, great Yogi Berra (slightly incorrectly, which is rather good in spirit),

    "It's 90% mental, the other half physical".
  • Gallowmere1984
    Gallowmere1984 Posts: 6,626 Member
    Depending upon how we want to define it, one could say that it's 100% psychological, given that the brain's response to any given food dictates how we are affected by it, from a control perspective. However, one could also make the argument that it's 0% psychological, since all of that brain chemistry is in fact physiological.
  • ccsernica
    ccsernica Posts: 1,040 Member
    tomteboda wrote: »
    To quote the late, great Yogi Berra (slightly incorrectly, which is rather good in spirit),

    "It's 90% mental, the other half physical".

    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/comment/39222072/#Comment_39222072
  • LivingtheLeanDream
    LivingtheLeanDream Posts: 13,345 Member
    For me it's been mind over matter, pure determination and drive that got me to goal and keeps me there.
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,399 Member
    I'm wondering everyone's thoughts on this. I'm very big into mindset changes along with permanent habit and lifestyle changes. In my opinion, losing weight and even maintaining the lost weight is mostly psychological than anything else. I dont think people realize how much internal mindset affects the whole process and because of this, when they've reached goal weight, many will gain it back. It all comes from "within". Whether they lose the motivation, or forget the "habits" that were supposed to be built for a lifetime etc. Unless there is a health issue on hand, do you mostly agree or disagree?

    @Kimblesnbits13 I personally find weight loss is 99% based on my intent so yes in my case it is mostly psychological. Really it is not possible to be the other way around.
    Disagree. Go to military boot camps. They aren't mentally set to lose weight. They just get physically challenged and then eat PORTIONED amounts of food. Same in a prison system. Many go in overweight and come out much slimmer. Their psychology has not much to do with weight loss, but deflected to other issues.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png

  • jeepinshawn
    jeepinshawn Posts: 642 Member
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    I'm wondering everyone's thoughts on this. I'm very big into mindset changes along with permanent habit and lifestyle changes. In my opinion, losing weight and even maintaining the lost weight is mostly psychological than anything else. I dont think people realize how much internal mindset affects the whole process and because of this, when they've reached goal weight, many will gain it back. It all comes from "within". Whether they lose the motivation, or forget the "habits" that were supposed to be built for a lifetime etc. Unless there is a health issue on hand, do you mostly agree or disagree?

    @Kimblesnbits13 I personally find weight loss is 99% based on my intent so yes in my case it is mostly psychological. Really it is not possible to be the other way around.
    Disagree. Go to military boot camps. They aren't mentally set to lose weight. They just get physically challenged and then eat PORTIONED amounts of food. Same in a prison system. Many go in overweight and come out much slimmer. Their psychology has not much to do with weight loss, but deflected to other issues.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png


    Prison and Boot camp are more or less restricted settings where the people don't get a whole lot of choices.
  • ccsernica
    ccsernica Posts: 1,040 Member
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    I'm wondering everyone's thoughts on this. I'm very big into mindset changes along with permanent habit and lifestyle changes. In my opinion, losing weight and even maintaining the lost weight is mostly psychological than anything else. I dont think people realize how much internal mindset affects the whole process and because of this, when they've reached goal weight, many will gain it back. It all comes from "within". Whether they lose the motivation, or forget the "habits" that were supposed to be built for a lifetime etc. Unless there is a health issue on hand, do you mostly agree or disagree?

    @Kimblesnbits13 I personally find weight loss is 99% based on my intent so yes in my case it is mostly psychological. Really it is not possible to be the other way around.
    Disagree. Go to military boot camps. They aren't mentally set to lose weight. They just get physically challenged and then eat PORTIONED amounts of food. Same in a prison system. Many go in overweight and come out much slimmer. Their psychology has not much to do with weight loss, but deflected to other issues.

    Well, yes. Put someone in a situation where they have no personal agency, and individual psychology will be less of a factor. Outside of those settings there are clearly psychological factors at work, including those behind making the decision to lose weight in the first place.

    It might be worth mentioning that psychological molding of recruits is part of the point of boot camp too.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    I feel like there's a misunderstanding here or people talking past each other. I don't think anyone is saying that psychology makes a difference as to whether I lose with a deficit of 500 or not -- of course I would. But whether I manage to make the choices to achieve a deficit of 500 comes down (in most situations) to mental factors (psychology). The more food is freely available and there aren't other outside constraints, the more this is true.
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,399 Member
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    I'm wondering everyone's thoughts on this. I'm very big into mindset changes along with permanent habit and lifestyle changes. In my opinion, losing weight and even maintaining the lost weight is mostly psychological than anything else. I dont think people realize how much internal mindset affects the whole process and because of this, when they've reached goal weight, many will gain it back. It all comes from "within". Whether they lose the motivation, or forget the "habits" that were supposed to be built for a lifetime etc. Unless there is a health issue on hand, do you mostly agree or disagree?

    @Kimblesnbits13 I personally find weight loss is 99% based on my intent so yes in my case it is mostly psychological. Really it is not possible to be the other way around.
    Disagree. Go to military boot camps. They aren't mentally set to lose weight. They just get physically challenged and then eat PORTIONED amounts of food. Same in a prison system. Many go in overweight and come out much slimmer. Their psychology has not much to do with weight loss, but deflected to other issues.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png


    Prison and Boot camp are more or less restricted settings where the people don't get a whole lot of choices.
    Which was my point about psychology not being the necessity in weight loss. One can be psychologically set to accept and do weight loss, but if PHYSICALLY they don't do it (correct eating etc.), it's not gonna happen. Whereas if the body is forced to adapt to CICO, weight loss will happen whether or not someone is psychologically in it or not.
    Now that's NOT to say that psychologically they keep up that regimen forever. There is a mindset that one has to have to sustain a program that's doable. But again if it was just about weight loss, one just physically has to eat less than they burn.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png

  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,399 Member
    ccsernica wrote: »
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    I'm wondering everyone's thoughts on this. I'm very big into mindset changes along with permanent habit and lifestyle changes. In my opinion, losing weight and even maintaining the lost weight is mostly psychological than anything else. I dont think people realize how much internal mindset affects the whole process and because of this, when they've reached goal weight, many will gain it back. It all comes from "within". Whether they lose the motivation, or forget the "habits" that were supposed to be built for a lifetime etc. Unless there is a health issue on hand, do you mostly agree or disagree?

    @Kimblesnbits13 I personally find weight loss is 99% based on my intent so yes in my case it is mostly psychological. Really it is not possible to be the other way around.
    Disagree. Go to military boot camps. They aren't mentally set to lose weight. They just get physically challenged and then eat PORTIONED amounts of food. Same in a prison system. Many go in overweight and come out much slimmer. Their psychology has not much to do with weight loss, but deflected to other issues.

    Well, yes. Put someone in a situation where they have no personal agency, and individual psychology will be less of a factor. Outside of those settings there are clearly psychological factors at work, including those behind making the decision to lose weight in the first place.

    It might be worth mentioning that psychological molding of recruits is part of the point of boot camp too.
    Okay, but are we saying that people in countries that have an obesity issue are psychologically "weaker" than other countries who have the same availability of food, but don't have an obesity issue?

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png

  • ccsernica
    ccsernica Posts: 1,040 Member
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    ccsernica wrote: »
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    I'm wondering everyone's thoughts on this. I'm very big into mindset changes along with permanent habit and lifestyle changes. In my opinion, losing weight and even maintaining the lost weight is mostly psychological than anything else. I dont think people realize how much internal mindset affects the whole process and because of this, when they've reached goal weight, many will gain it back. It all comes from "within". Whether they lose the motivation, or forget the "habits" that were supposed to be built for a lifetime etc. Unless there is a health issue on hand, do you mostly agree or disagree?

    @Kimblesnbits13 I personally find weight loss is 99% based on my intent so yes in my case it is mostly psychological. Really it is not possible to be the other way around.
    Disagree. Go to military boot camps. They aren't mentally set to lose weight. They just get physically challenged and then eat PORTIONED amounts of food. Same in a prison system. Many go in overweight and come out much slimmer. Their psychology has not much to do with weight loss, but deflected to other issues.

    Well, yes. Put someone in a situation where they have no personal agency, and individual psychology will be less of a factor. Outside of those settings there are clearly psychological factors at work, including those behind making the decision to lose weight in the first place.

    It might be worth mentioning that psychological molding of recruits is part of the point of boot camp too.
    Okay, but are we saying that people in countries that have an obesity issue are psychologically "weaker" than other countries who have the same availability of food, but don't have an obesity issue?

    I very much doubt that's a useful way to frame the issue, and I'm not sure why someone would choose to. Eating habits are absorbed from the surrounding culture at least as much as from any other source, and it takes more mental effort to move against the prevailing cultural pressure than to follow a course of action that goes along with it.
  • VeryKatie
    VeryKatie Posts: 5,925 Member
    edited April 2017
    Yes and no. You do need to meet certain physical needs for it to be reasonable for your mind to even come into the game. 1) Enough foods of the right variety 2) Enough sleep (I never believed this one until I actually tried it. Things got 50% easier as soon as I starting sleeping enough, I swear). 3) Access to the tools and materials you need.

    The rest is definitely psychological. I'd say 60-70% of weight loss is your state of mind.
  • kinesiologic
    kinesiologic Posts: 22 Member
    This is probably my favourite obesity image ever: http://www.shiftn.com/obesity/Full-Map.html?

    Obesity is ridiculously complex, multi-faceted, and determined by a huge number of factors: evolutionary, biological, social, cultural, environmental, and psychological. To say that obesity (and weight loss) is a matter of psychology is a gross over-simplification of an exceptionally complex issue.

    I just got home from a behavioural medicine conference that involved over 2000 leading researchers in health and disease - including a large obesity/weight loss contingent. I didn't see a single poster or presentation that claimed weight loss was all in your head.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/why-willpower-isn-t-enough-to-keep-the-pounds-off-1.3907411

    Short answer: no, it's not just psychology.
  • LilacLion
    LilacLion Posts: 579 Member
    edited April 2017
    Tony Robbins wrote a good deal about the Health and Fitness mindset. two very good talks are called "The Body You Desire" (actually an audio book) and "Living Health". He asserts that maintenance isn't possible and weight loss is harder without a change of thinking--I totally agree. I looked and both are on youtube in their entirety. They are primarily about how to reach that change of mind.
  • Dynamis600
    Dynamis600 Posts: 743 Member
    This is probably my favourite obesity image ever: http://www.shiftn.com/obesity/Full-Map.html?

    Obesity is ridiculously complex, multi-faceted, and determined by a huge number of factors: evolutionary, biological, social, cultural, environmental, and psychological. To say that obesity (and weight loss) is a matter of psychology is a gross over-simplification of an exceptionally complex issue.

    I just got home from a behavioural medicine conference that involved over 2000 leading researchers in health and disease - including a large obesity/weight loss contingent. I didn't see a single poster or presentation that claimed weight loss was all in your head.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/why-willpower-isn-t-enough-to-keep-the-pounds-off-1.3907411

    Short answer: no, it's not just psychology.

    Wow, really interesting especially the map, thanks.
  • ana_varn
    ana_varn Posts: 98 Member
    It is psychological to me at least and I've lost a lot of pounds. I had to make habits because I lived and live with my mom and sister and they always had/have junk food around. I tried to tell them not to bring any for some time until I get used to it. I was always polite about it though and they seemed understanding. However, you can't fully control the environment you live in when you live with other people in general, it's like controlling the weather... doesn't work.

    It adds pressure on you if you live in an environment where junk foods are constantly around but it's nothing dramatic if you make habits.

    To even begin a journey of weight loss in your teens and early adulthood can be a stressor easily. I was also having my school so a binge would be justified before I began my journey and even after. I was stressed, wasn't I? It's the thought pattern that is hard to break. You won't starve if you eat at a sustainable deficit and eating 1000 calories in a sitting daily because you are stressed will only lead you to gain weight and not satisfy you.

    Since I was a child food and eating were my fake salvation from negative feelings. It started when my father passed away and I was 3 years old. Then two years later mom got cancer etc etc. Ever since, something bad happened and I would eat eat eat. It was psychologically tough to break the cycle, however not impossible. I am also having phases especially in the winter where I eat maybe more than I should but again, nothing too dramatic.

    I don't believe that food is addictive itself. We need it to survive. I believe though that it's the way we treat food and especially junk foods (or tasty foods) that makes us sick. We end up treating it like a drug and it's hard to break a cycle that gives you that so called "joy".

  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    This is probably my favourite obesity image ever: http://www.shiftn.com/obesity/Full-Map.html?

    Obesity is ridiculously complex, multi-faceted, and determined by a huge number of factors: evolutionary, biological, social, cultural, environmental, and psychological. To say that obesity (and weight loss) is a matter of psychology is a gross over-simplification of an exceptionally complex issue.

    I just got home from a behavioural medicine conference that involved over 2000 leading researchers in health and disease - including a large obesity/weight loss contingent. I didn't see a single poster or presentation that claimed weight loss was all in your head.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/why-willpower-isn-t-enough-to-keep-the-pounds-off-1.3907411

    Short answer: no, it's not just psychology.

    Saying it's mental or psychological does not mean "it's all in your head," whatever that is supposed to mean. Nor does it mean "it's about willpower." Actually, the opposite.

    The point is that ultimately whether you figure out a way to be successful given the obstacles is going to come down to dealing with the mental aspects, and yes that includes hunger or perceived hunger.

    One of the more interesting studies on the tricks your body plays post weight loss was one that did not focus on perceived hunger, since often people DON'T perceive hunger more in a way that they would realize and acknowledge, and yet they'd eat more, all else equal -- I need to find the study.

    As always, I think most of the debate in this thread is people interpreting different things from the words used (here, psychology) and not the underlying issues.

    I have lost and gained weight in my life. When I lost most recently, I knew how weight loss worked, I'd done it successfully before. I wanted (or would have said I wanted) to lose weight. And yet I just couldn't get myself to do what was necessary for years until suddenly I seemed to be ready and I did. I then lost successfully until I was almost to goal and then stopped caring (I'm a healthy BMI, whatever) and can't seem to get myself to stick to anything. Yes, part of this might be biological factors (but then psychology is related to biological factors anyway), but it's also hugely mental. I wish I understood more how it worked. I know there are psychological things that are helpful for me (oh, I don't mean will power, I've had the same will power throughout), so that is part of it (if I don't snack I lose the habit and stop wanting to, mostly, if I limit access to food in some way it helps), but I honestly don't get why sometimes I can be so super motivated and then just not.
  • kristikitter
    kristikitter Posts: 602 Member
    edited April 2017
    I think most things to do with weight are psych-based - anything that's not the body crunching numbers (CICO) or the physical processes, is rooted in the mind.

    I feel like this is partly true when, if people regain, they regain MORE - because their image of what is 'too fat to continue being fat' is altered. Say if I weigh 200lbs, lose 80lbs over a year, the regain 80lbs over 3 years, I have already been that weight and the alarm bells aren't triggered.

    Not until I've gained another 25lbs do I think, "Hmm I'm really fat..."