Weight loss transitions: How to be more confident

April 8, 2014 - Psychology

confidence 476496287As well as taking care of what you eat and how your body looks, a big part of your weight-loss journey is about finding your inner confidence. Here, Caroline Buchanan offers tips and advice on how to project confidence in social situations.

Prepare yourself
‘Act as if’ and ‘fake it to make it’ are two good slogans to take on board. Acting as if you’re naturally confident, even though you’re faking it, really works. When you put the action in motion, the feeling soon catches up. Keep practising and you’ll soon become genuinely confident. You will have created a new neural pathway and it will be as easy as blinking.

Trust yourself
We are all our own experts! Do what you know to be the right thing and rewards will follow. Stop worrying about what others think. You know right from wrong!

Love yourself
Make a list of all your qualities and bask in them. Don’t hold back. Ask a friend to help if necessary. Sit up straight while you’re writing them all down. Researchers found that our body posture can affect not only what others think about us, but also how we think about ourselves.

Richard Petty, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at Ohio State University, said: ‘Most of us were taught that sitting up straight gives a good impression to other people. But it turns out that our posture can also affect how we think about ourselves. If you sit up straight, you end up convincing yourself by the posture you’re in.’

Empower yourself
Our confidence can improve in leaps and bounds by getting a hold of our sense of competence. We gain that competence by setting goals and achieving them. You will then feel empowered, and that increases motivation. It’s a constructive, win-win circle.

Arm yourself
We are all far too good at condemning ourselves when we make a mistake of any kind. Be it getting a parking ticket, losing our keys, putting on weight, or forgetting the vital ingredient for a recipe, it’s all too easy to think ‘This only happens to me!’ But it doesn’t, of course – it happens to us all. To turn this on its head and adopt a completely different mindset, try the following for a week.

List every achievement you make every day. This can be routine activities such as getting up, showering and getting ready for the day, to obvious tasks, dreaded chores, awkward phone calls and new ventures. Instead of taking yourself for granted, you’ll see just what a star you are and your confidence will improve as a result.

Reward yourself
It’s very important to pat yourself on the back at regular intervals. Schedule reward time into your diary at least three times a week. It might feel very strange at first, but it’s important to treat yourself with love, care, compassion and respect.

Chartered psychologist Maddie Campbell said: ‘Confidence building means we have to take risks and go beyond our comfort zones. We have to test that out. Small changes bring big rewards. In fact, very small changes can achieve disproportionately beneficial effects.

‘Remember Einstein’s definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

‘In other words, we have to do something differently. We have to take a risk, even if it feels very scary.’

Keep motivated on your weight-loss journey by reading how others have found success. Or, join the hundreds of other LighterLifers in our online community on Facebook and Twitter.