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The One Mind Trick You Need to Lose Weight, Says a Celebrity Trainer

The key to successful weight loss is behavior change, and that takes an attitude adjustment.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it."

That's the last line of a favorite quote of mine. When I was younger, I framed it and hung it on my bedroom wall to remind me that attitude matters. You'll never gain control of life—your health, your diet, your whatever—if you dwell on "what happens to you." And that's why I believe one of the best mind tricks that can help you lose weight is to have a positive attitude.

Let me explain why and how a positive attitude can make a drastic difference in your weight loss journey.

In my new audiobook, Lose Weight Like Crazy Even If You Have a Crazy Life, I share a lot of stories of my own struggles with doubt and negative thinking, and also how I changed my pessimistic attitude.

When I was growing up, anytime something went wrong, my dad would say "I'm cursed. It's the Calabrese curse." So for a long time, I believed it, too, that we Calabreses were destined for bad luck. Lesson: Be careful of the people around you. If you're constantly around people with a negative attitude, chances are you're going to develop one, too.

Once I was in college on my own, surrounded by like-minded people having fun and embracing life's ups and downs, I started to realize that the manner in which I reacted to situations mattered. I could choose to see the bad or I could choose to see the good. I could get pissed off or down on myself, or I could learn from my challenges and look at life through a more positive lens. Before I knew it, I didn't feel like life was happening to me. Instead, I felt in control. And I realized that attitude is the secret to making good things happen.

See, whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right! If you approach weight loss, for example, with a positive attitude, asking yourself, what can I learn? How can it work for me? chances are you will experience a better understanding of yourself and your nutrition, and you'll get great results.

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Here are some practical ways to flip your attitude switch:

  • Start your day with an attitude check. Check it before going into a challenging situation. If you go out to dinner with friends and you forget to save a yellow serving (part of my portion control plan in the book) for your glass of wine, well, you have 2 ways to look at it: This plan sucks; I'm not doing this, OR you can think ah, this is what Autumn means about planning ahead and being prepared. I'll have water tonight and a cocktail next time we go out. It will still be fun to be with friends. Choosing the right attitude will keep you on the path to success. (Related: This Simple Morning Workout Melts Fat All Day Long, Say Experts.)
  • Act like a child. Success doesn't always happen on the first try, and that's OK. Take a baby who is just learning how to walk, for example. If the baby falls taking those first wobbly steps, she doesn't think, "Well, I'm done; this walking stuff isn't for me." She gets up and tries again and again. We can all learn a lesson from the child inside us who didn't know the meaning of defeat, wasn't weighed down by society's opinions and all the self-doubt. Keep getting back up.
  • Don't reach for perfection. Perfection is an unrealistic goal. It's super hard to achieve and more often than not will leave you feeling unworthy if you don't nail it. So, don't even go there. I say, "shoot for progress, not perfection." Some people quit due to slow progress, never grasping the fact that slow progress IS PROGRESS! Celebrate the small wins with these 25 Genius Ways to Reward Yourself for Weight Loss.
  • Practice consistency. The secret to success in almost anything is consistency. Practice it. In anything you do, practice it every day. Nobody gets to the Olympic Games, the NFL, or the NBA without practicing consistently to improve. The same goes for improving your health and fitness or building a bulletproof positive attitude. These 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work
  • Have a reason. In my book, I call step number one for big weight loss "identifying your 'why.'" What's your reason for wanting to lose weight and get fit? It has to be meaningful to you in order to push you forward on those hard days when you feel like packing it in. You'll need to lean into your deeper "why" to stay on track. To find it, ask yourself:
    • What will happen when I lose the weight?
    • How will I feel when I lose the weight I want to lose?
    • What would happen if I didn't lose this weight?
    • How will I feel if I don't lose this weight?
  • Go deep. Then ask yourself, "What's holding me back from getting what I want?"
  • Have a plan. The most practical tool for changing attitudes and behaviors is having a well-defined plan. If you have a clear map to follow it's almost impossible to get lost. This is the essential idea behind my Portion Fix Plan. In the book, you'll learn how to determine the exact portion of vegetables, fruits, proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, seeds, salad dressings, and nut butters to eat for your specific calorie bracket to reach your weight loss goals. And my color-coded container system makes preparing meals according to that plan incredibly easy.

All of these tips will help you change your attitude about yourself and about food, seeing food as the fuel that it's intended to be.

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Autumn Calabrese
Autumn Calabrese is Beachbody’s top Super Trainer, author, and creator of the 21 Day Fix, and Ultimate Portion Fix, and host of the online cooking show FIXATE. Read more about Autumn