I have been studying positive psychology lately and am fascinated by many of the concepts presented in the workshops, one of which I would like to share with my readers. This relates to how we perceive ourselves and others with either a fixed or growth mindset. Since my blogs focus on eating your way to health, I thought to discuss dieting through the lens of a fixed or growth mindset.

Fixed mindsets are often negative where we find ourselves making statements such as, “I can never lose weight,” “I am too old to lose weight,” “I will never keep it off”, or “I have too much of a sweet tooth”.  You get the idea.

When we approach dieting with a growth mindset, we are positive, but realistic in our thinking.  Rather than believing we can never lose weight, we say that we can lose weight if we try and we reward ourselves for our efforts. These rewards help to motivate us to continue with our diet and hopefully, exercise program.

Believing that you are too old to lose weight is also a negative mindset. In a growth mindset we might say instead that while it may be harder to lose weight with age, we are willing to make and  sustain our efforts.  Like The Little Engine That Could, in a growth mindset we continue to say,” I think I can, I think I can, I think I can,” just like the little engine in the famous children’s book.

When it comes to keeping weight off, believing that it is impossible is a negative mindset. Translated into a growth statement, we can remind ourselves that keeping weight off takes effort, but that we can do it yet have some setbacks from time to time. Setbacks are not an excuse to give up.

Having too much of sweet tooth is another negative mindset when it comes to dieting.  In a growth mindset we can learn ways of reducing sweet cravings yet allow ourselves an occasional sweet indulgence so that we do not feel deprived.

Make a list of any statements that come to mind when thinking about dieting.  Take the negative mindset statements and write down a growth statement next to each of them. Use these as your guiding principles.  Whatever statements you make must include the overarching belief that you will have setbacks along the way, but that with continued effort you can get past these hurdles.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates