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Is your mindset keeping you fat? Here's how a new attitude can help you think yourself thin.

Motivation to lose weight often hits an all-time high when the first buds of spring pop out, signaling that bathing suit season is not far behind. And while there's no getting around the need to exercise and eat healthier, long-term weight loss starts in your head. Experts say that having the right attitude can help you think yourself thin.

If you want to succeed at weight loss, you need to "cut the mental fat, and that will lead to cutting the waistline fat," says Pamela Peeke, MD, author of Fit to Live. "Look at the patterns and habits in your life that you are dragging around with you that get in the way of success."

Everyone has his or her own excuses. When trying to improve their lifestyle and diet, most people do fine until something happens -- whether it's work pressure, family issues, or something else. Whatever your personal issue, the pattern needs to change if you want to be successful.

"I want to empower people to identify these patterns, deal with the real issues, so they can move on and be able to succeed at improving their health," says Peeke.

To Think Yourself Thin, Have Patience

One major mental block to weight loss is wanting too much, too fast. Blame it on our instant-gratification society, with its instant messaging, PDAs, and digital cameras: Weight loss is too slow to satisfy most dieters.

"Losers want immediate results. … Even though it took them years to gain weight, once they decide to lose weight, they have no patience with the recommended 1-2 pounds per week," says Cynthia Sass, MS, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

But you'll get the best results when you lose weight slowly. Sass reminds her clients that when they lose weight too quickly, they're often losing usually water or lean tissue, not fat.

"When you lose lean tissue, metabolism slows down, making it even harder to lose weight," she adds.

Think Thin: 8 Strategies

Get that overweight mentality out of your head and start thinking like a thin person with these eight strategies:

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