How important is your mindset for weight loss? I think most of us will agree that the right type of thinking is critical to losing weight and keeping it off. Most of us know how to lose weight, but getting ourselves into the space where we will actually do it is challenging. This is where mental strategies become critical to lose weight, maintain weight loss and break through any frustrating weight loss plateaus that arise during the process.

How to Change Your Mindset for Weight Loss

Frustrated with Weight Loss?

Are you frustrated that you’ve tried and tried but can’t seem to lose weight?

Have you been losing weight but you got stuck at a certain number? No matter what you try, the scale just won’t budget. This is weight loss plateau.

Maybe you’ve lost weight, only to gain it back, and you are afraid to try again for fear of failing.

There’s lots of nutritional advice out there like “eat more” and “eat less” and “cut back on carbs”. While some of these are important factors, as someone who is maintaining a 100+ pound weight loss, I know that the key to losing weight goes deeper.

In order to lose weight or break through a weight loss plateau, you need to get your head on straight.

No diet plan or nutritional strategy is going to make any difference if you aren’t in the head space to make changes.

Fifteen years ago, I lost 100 pounds and I’ve been maintaining my weight loss since then. I know just how difficult it is to lose weight and keep it off.Sara Before and After weight loss

I had so many ups and downs during my weight loss journey and I still experience them today, but I’m here to tell you that you can do this. I know you can!

After losing 100 pounds, I spent 15+ years at roughly the same weight even though it was about 20 pounds over my goal weight. I was stuck on a long plateau. This last year I made changes and finally got to my goal weight and WW Lifetime membership.

Below are the mental strategies I used to make it happen.


How to Lose Weight

There’s only one way to lose weight and that’s to eat fewer calories than you burn.

Lemon Angel Food Cake for WW

There’s only one way to lose weight – eat fewer calories than you burn.

Cut through the noise that’s in our culture today and come back to this important truth. Never forget it along the way.

It’s easy to get caught up in worrying about Keto or Paleo, carbs or protein, this exercise or that one, but at the end of the day weight loss only happens one way and that’s eating fewer calories than your body needs to function, so that you burn fat stored on your body.

If you are new to weight loss or getting re-started, I recommend counting calories or joining Weight Watchers. Keeping a food log might not seem too exciting, but the research proves that it works.

I keep a food log every single day and it’s become a regular part of my life, not a chore or a burden.


Weight Loss Plateaus

One frustrating aspect of weight loss is plateaus. Maybe you’ve been losing weight for awhile and your weight loss has stalled. How can you get it going again?

Is it really a plateau?

Sometimes people stay at about the same weight for 2-3 weeks and tell me they are on a plateau.

That’s not a plateau.

A weight loss plateau is 6-8 weeks (minimum) of being at the same weight. If you are still making progress, you are not on a plateau. Even a 1/2 or 1/4 pound lost is progress, especially as you get closer to your goal weight.

If it’s only 2-3 weeks, give it more time before you worry about a plateau.

However, if it’s been several months and you are certain that your weight loss is definitely stalled out, keep reading for helpful strategies you need.

Maintaining Your Weight is a Win

Please, if you are on a plateau, give yourself lots of credit for the weight loss you have already achieved. For years I made the mistake of focusing so much on what I didn’t have (goal weight) that I struggled to enjoy what I did have (weight loss, improved health, physical activity, better energy and more).

If your weight loss has stalled or you’ve even gained back some weight, remember that maintaining weight loss is a huge win.

I don’t know about you, but when I was at my heaviest my weight was steadily climbing. If my weight wasn’t going up, I was on a strict diet and then binging. There was no middle ground and maintaining my weight was never a focus.

Give yourself credit for every day that you’ve maintained your weight. Celebrate it!


7 Ways to Improve Your Mindset for Weight Loss

The following thought shifts will propel you into getting back on track with weight loss.

Some of these are big changes and some might just be a tiny adjustment.


These mental strategies will get you to your goal weight.

Focus on one mental technique, make improvements, then focus on the next one. Don’t try to make too many changes at once.

Here are the mindset changes that worked for me.

  1. Decide if you want it.
  2. Go back to the basics.
  3. Make God the center of your process.
  4. Believe it’s possible.
  5. Commit to telling yourself the truth.
  6. Let go of what you’re doing now.
  7. Think like a scientist.

1. Decide If You Want It

Weight loss requires change. (I don’t care what smoke anyone tries to blow at you – the only way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories than you burn.)

Weight loss requires organization and planning ahead. Sometimes people think the biggest key to weight loss is willpower but I don’t agree. If you stay organized and on top of it, you don’t need much willpower. It’s when you don’t plan ahead that you need tons of willpower because you are just wandering through your day trying to eat less with constant temptations thrown at you.

Decide if now is the right time for you to be focused on weight loss. You might tell me, heck yeah, you are all in!

Or maybe right now you have so much going on, you can barely think straight. If that’s you, now is not the time to attempt a big life change. Instead, focus on small, healthy changes for now until you can make losing weight a priority.

Especially as you get closer to your goal weight, weight loss is challenging. This is part of the reason why weight loss plateaus happen. As your body gets smaller, you have to eat fewer calories in order to continue to see weight loss. Even more dedication will be required to continue to see the scale go down.


2. Go Back to the Basics

We have a saying in our Tae Kwon Do practice. A black belt isn’t a good fighter because they know all the fancy kicks. They are great because they do the basic, beginner kicks really well.

Stop looking for the newest shiny object and go back to the basics.

Many of us set our sights on looking for that one thing that is going to miraculously get us to our goal weight. Even though you consciously know this isn’t the solution, this is human nature. I did and still sometimes do fall into the same thinking traps.

If you are thinking that going Keto, Whole30, vegetarian, carb cycling, Intermittent Fasting, changing your WW plan color, or any other switch is going to be your solution, I’ve got news for you. None of those will be the miracle fix.

Pretend you are a beginner again. Many of us having been trying to see the scale go down for much of our lives, so we think we know all the things required in order to lose weight. The trouble is we aren’t actually doing all the things.

Go back to carefully tracking, using a food scale, and creating a week’s meal plan. Often we let these basics slide after a period of time, but they are the foundation of what it will take to get you to your goals.

How I Went Back to the Basics

Last year, my business partner, Becky (who has also lost 100 pounds) and I revamped our Faithful Finish Lines membership to include more specific weight loss strategies and guidance.

I never ask people to do anything I won’t do, so as we were re-working the program I started to follow our new guidelines very carefully.

While the practices weren’t anything new that I hadn’t done before, I committed to them on a new level and began to lose weight. I broke a 15 year plateau and got to my goal weight by doing this!

Face to Face Before and After 110 pound weight loss - Borgstede

Face to Face comparison of my 100+ pound weight loss.

Here are the guidelines I followed to finally get to my goal weight and stay there.

Faithful Finish Lines Guidelines

Here are the strategies that members follow in the Faithful Finish Lines 2.0 program.

  • Trade your guilt for grace.
  • Track your food
  • Stay within your calorie goal.
  • Plan tomorrow’s meals today.
  • Weigh yourself once a week.
  • Eat at least 3 treats per week.

See? Back to the basics because they work.


3. Make God the Center of Your Weight Loss

To be totally honest, the first time I lost weight I didn’t start off with God as the center of my process. I figured I had gotten myself into this mess and it was up to me to dig myself out.

Yet as I went along, I realized I couldn’t complete the process on my own. Weight loss is a holistic process that involves mind, body, and spirit. Why try to do it on my own when I have the God of the universe at work inside of me?

Where I fail, He is all powerful. Where I am weak, He is strong.

I began to study the Bible with fresh eyes. I wrote Bible verses on note cards and memorized scripture verses specially to help me during times I was tempted to overeat, like these Bible verses for weight loss. I turned away from the lies of the enemy and recognize the truth of God from His Word, the Bible.

I prayed regularly for God to help me with my body and food choices.


4. Believe It’s Possible to Get to Your Goal Weight

Do you believe it’s possible to get to your goal weight?

If you feel like weight loss is impossible, I suggest using weight loss affirmations to shift your thinking.

I use weight loss affirmations and am intentional about taking my thoughts captive.

Affirmations have been a game changer for me when it comes to reaching a new goal weight. I always word them in the positive and frame them in the present tense. (The WW Toolkit includes affirmations specific to Weight Watchers members.)


5. Tell Yourself the Truth About Your Weight

People who are overweight, or on a weight loss plateau, have denial issues. Facing this reality is painful but it’s also the way to move forward.

I spent years in denial about my weight. I knew it was a problem but I put it off. I pretended I wasn’t eating as much as I was. I thought my binges weren’t that bad.

Sure, I knew my food issues weren’t good but I didn’t think it was as bad as a problem with alcohol or drugs. I justified doing it.

And I kept buying clothes in a bigger size.

After I lost weight, for years I was stuck at a weight loss plateau and I figured that wasn’t my fault either. I thought it was my metabolism or some type of body set-point problem or hormones. I was eating SO much healthier than I was when I weighed 250 pounds and I was eating healthier than my family members and most people around me.

But I was still overeating for the size my body. Once again, I was in denial. Overeating is still overeating.

If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you’ll have to step out of denial and face the reality of the ways you overeat.


6. Let Go of What You’re Doing Now

Change means saying goodbye to what you are currently doing.

That goodbye can be a tough one.

You like the foods you are currently eating. (Hey, I don’t blame you. Junk food and fast food are delicious!) You don’t want to take the time to meal plan, write down what you are eating, or start moving more. You say you are way too busy.

But that also means you stay overweight.

Break a Weight Loss Plateau by Letting Go

For those of you on a weight loss plateau, listen up because this mental shift is even more important for you. When you’ve done something for so long and had success with it, it’s hard to let it go to embrace something new.

Yet embracing something new is how plateaus get broken.

Because losing 100 pounds was so much work, I clung pretty darn tightly to what made it happen. I had deeply entrenched patterns of eating, food choices, and beliefs about keeping the weight off.

This isn’t all bad, but making continued progress meant making changes. I needed to switch around my eating patterns and food in order to lose more weight, and if you want your weight to change you’ll need to do that, too.


7. Make Yourself a Science Experiment of One

A mental shift that helped me greatly was looking at the weight loss process as a grand science experiment.

Cutting out the emotion was super-important for me because it helped me make logical decisions.

I decided that I would get to my goal weight eventually (after all, I wasn’t going to quit so it would happen sooner or later) so I’d just keep on trying new things until I found things that worked.

I pretend I’m another person looking from the outside at my food choices, behavior, and weight on the scale. This helps me make rational decisions rather than trying to make it mean anything about my character or morals.


When you implement these mindset shifts, you will break your weight loss plateau and get to the next level with your goals.

Give yourself time and make changes gradually so that it’s not too scary or overwhelming. I absolutely believe it’s possible for you to get to your goal weight and stay there. Do you believe it?


More Posts You Will Love

A Prayer for a Weight Loss Miracle – Do you feel like it will take a miracle for you to lose weight? This post is for you.

5 Reasons You Self-Sabotage Your Weight Loss…and How to Stop – If you find yourself going behind your own back when it comes to your weight loss goals, here’s why. Find out a specific strategy to stop the self-sabotage and get to your goal weight.

7 Day Weight Loss Prayer Challenge – Join our challenge and spend a week focused on praying for your weight loss in a whole new way.

3 Steps to Conquer Your Food Cravings Forever {Lasting Weight Loss Strategy} – Do food cravings derail your weight loss goals? Use these 3 steps to stop cravings in their tracks.

How to Deal with Food Pushers and Food Police During Weight Loss – Do you have people in your life who continually push you to eat or make unhealthy food choices? Here’s what to do.


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Weight Loss Mental Strategies