Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Diet Psychology: Why Optimists May Lose More Weight Than Pessimists

I'm not a psychologist, though I play one on this blog. But I have long suspected -- without any actual data to back me up, mind you -- that optimists lose more weight than pessimists on any given diet program.

Here's why.

Losing weight is a leap of faith. You have to believe that by following whatever food and exercise formula you choose that your pounds will melt off. An optimist is more likely to believe they will have the same experience as those who have lost weight successfully on a given diet, whereas a pessimist may think, "Watch, I will be the big fat exception."
The optimist sees the donut;
the pessimist eats the doughnut.

To illustrate, here's how an optimist and pessimist might look at a Medifast "Before and After" photo differently:

Optimist--"Wow, if that woman could lose two chins and get her waist back, so could I."

Pessimist--"She probably has a faster metabolism and worked her butt off at the gym. I could never look like that."

Before starting Medifast, I was neither an optimist nor a pessimist about losing weight on a diet. I was a skeptic. I assumed that even if I could drop a few pounds on a structured diet, I would gain them back the minute I stopped following the plan.

After losing 35 pounds in less than four months -- and keeping them off since January -- I still half expect to get on the scale each morning and be right back at my starting weight. But it hasn't happened yet, and I am optimistic it never will.

One of the main reasons for this is that Medifast is more than a diet. Through the Take Shape for Life Program, I have permanently changed my habits and make better choices. My daughter got married on Saturday and I ate only a few bites of her wedding cake because fitting into my dress was way more delicious than a dessert could ever be.

There's optimism and pessimism... and then there's delusionism.

Curious about my optimist vs. pessimist diet hypothesis, I did a little research on the web and found there is actually a study that shows optimists do better at healthy eating than their sour pickle counterparts. Using data from the Women's Health Initiative, University of Arizona researchers found optimists are more likely to adopt healthier eating habits.

Fortunately, even if you have been a pessimist all your life, you can learn to think like an optimist by reading cognitive psychology books, such as Martin Seligman's "Learned Optimism." Once you realize you can control your life -- which includes what foods you put into your mouth -- you might not only lose your extra pounds but also gain a refreshing new perspective on what is possible for you.

You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for no extra cost -- through the co-branded website of a Medifast TSFL health coach. Medifast does not recommend purchasing its products from third party vendors, but if you choose to do so, you can find them on both Amazon and eBay.

Medifast replacement meals on Amazon

Similar posts: 

How Medifast Helped Me Develop Better Habits

Medifast Centers Vs. DIY Medifast

Irrational Numbers: Doing the Math on Medifast Popcorn

Medifast Vs. Lean Cuisine Diet

Visit my other blogs:

Fit Kitty

Food Trends 


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