Diets fail for many reasons, one of them being that people often focus on shedding pounds instead of doing the hard work of healing their relationship with food and their bodies. This can create a cycle of rapid weight loss followed by weight regain, sometimes called yo-yo dieting. This is counterproductive and can lead to eating disorders. Fortunately, positive affirmations, which are simple statements you repeat to yourself, can help reframe your thinking and influence your feelings and behavior.
While not a magic bullet, repeating these affirmations for a few minutes a day can help redirect negative thought patterns and boost motivation and self-confidence (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).
Here are 7 positive affirmations to improve your well-being, deepen your connection with your body, and help you reach your weight loss goal.
1 I am strong and healthy
Diet culture tells us that bodies have to look special, and so we can get lost trying to reach the unattainable. Instead of chasing after an arbitrary ideal and a certain appearance, change your way of thinking to focus on function. After all, the ideal body is your body in its healthiest state.
This statement appeals to the neuroplasticity of your brain. That is to say, its ability to change and adapt. In other words, by repeating this statement, your brain may begin to take it as fact. This can be particularly useful if you think this statement is a bit ambitious.
So, repeating this affirmation, along with others, can trick your brain into taking the aspiration as fact and, therefore, improve health behaviors.
By prioritizing aspirations for your body’s capabilities, you no longer focus on the numbers on the scale or your pant size. It can help align your thoughts with a weight that is healthy for you.
2 I appreciate what my body can do
Focusing on the many amazing things your body already does and can do helps reframe your relationship with it. Weight and body mass index (BMI) can be problematic ways to measure your health. This affirmation can help transform the way you think about your body, orienting it towards its function rather than the numbers on a scale. Maybe it’s the baby he carried, the meal he cooked, the cancer he beat, or the laughter he continues to produce despite the hardships. Just acknowledge his many accomplishments so far, big and small. Rather than viewing your body as something to be constantly fixed, this statement emphasizes what it already does. In other words, it can help you realize that your body doesn’t need to be fixed by dieting.
3. I move every day
Maybe formal exercise just isn’t for you, and that’s fine. Reframe the idea of ”exercise” to simply mean “moving while feeling good.”
If gym class is a chore, do activities that are good for your body and mind. It can be light stretching, hiking on a scenic trail, or dancing at home to pleasant music. Reframing your approach to exercise can encourage you to move more every day, which can improve your health and well-being.
4. I can do difficult things
This statement reinforces your self-efficacy, that is, your perception of your ability to accomplish a given task. High self-efficacy can promote behavior change. Although this affirmation is self-explanatory, you can also modify it according to your personal goals. If what you find difficult but aspire to do is walk every day, then you might rephrase your affirmation by saying, “I can walk every day. When setting these goals, keep in mind that they should be achievable and built over time. You can also specify the duration of your commitment or how often you want to repeat your new health behavior. Avoid overly ambitious changes that you are unlikely to accomplish. Remember that you are aiming for slow, gradual and lasting goals that will become habits.
5. I savor every bite
Eating is a sensory experience that activates your senses beyond taste. While it’s not always possible to sit down and savor every bite, encourage yourself to do so as often as possible. Observe how your food looks, smells and tastes, how many textures you can detect, what sounds it makes when you eat it, or how it is arranged on your plate. It turns out that enjoying what you eat can help curb overeating. Although more research is needed, one study found that a high workload correlated with a decrease in flavor intensity during meals. Participants who multi-task ate or drank more to compensate for this drop in intensity. Mindful eating is a practice, and sometimes it takes time to learn. This affirmation can help you remember to sit down and enjoy your nourishment.
6. I forgive my body
Our body can be a place of shame. Harmful messages promoting an ideal body type are spread by diet culture and reinforced by the media. You may feel too big or too small, or feel that a part of your body is not what you want. If this kind of shame is part of your body’s history, this affirmation can help you in your healing work. Consider adapting the affirmation to focus on a specific part of the body, if that feels appropriate. Keep in mind that positive affirmations may not be enough for your journey. Also consider seeing a licensed counselor to work with you on any body image issues you may be experiencing. Diet culture and the media can reinforce unattainable ideals of the perfect body and can even create shame. This statement helps to counter this phenomenon.
7. I’m nice to myself
Positive inner dialogue is worth exploring on the path to well-being. The inner dialogue is the monologue you hold, the way you talk to yourself in your head. Unfortunately, the way we talk to ourselves can sometimes be less generous than the way we would talk to another person. Although more research is needed, positive self-talk could be a health benefit. If you openly and harshly criticize yourself, this statement can help you show compassion for yourself. This affirmation reminds you to show compassion for yourself, which can improve your well-being.
Positive affirmations can be a great starting point for improving your well-being and your relationship with your body. The best affirmations are the ones that work for you and make sense to you. Therefore, adapt them to your goals and situation. They are most effective when repeated daily for several minutes. While positive affirmations aren’t magic bullets, they can at least be a starting point on the road to wellness.