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8 Steps to a Healthier Attitude

Want a healthier lifestyle? Start by changing your thinking

When Doubt Sinks In

Believing you can do it means you can. Having doubts, however, makes failure loom larger.

"It's called tyranny of the moment," says Wansink, who is also director of the Food and Brand Lab at the University of Illinois. "It's not having a solid attitude. ... You end up uniquely rationalizing every situation you're in so that you can eat the food that you know is causing the problem." Where does this kind of negative thinking come from, just when you're trying to adopt new habits?

"It's frustration; depression; a sense of a lack of control or power over your abilities; rejection; lack of support; or a sense of deprivation," says Moores. For many people, it's believing that making healthy changes "won't be fun or enjoyable. They feel like they'll be missing out on life."

That's not necessarily the case, as Elaine Wicks found out. In fact, she says, her positive attitude and outlook had her exploring a whole new world.

"As your weight goes down, you get more and more positive," says Wicks. "And as that happened to me, I got even more adventuresome in doing things I normally wouldn't have done -- Rollerblading, roller skating, cross-country skiing, riding four-wheelers, things I had never done before."

But when you're just starting out, how do you get the attitude you need to succeed? Wicks, Moores, and Wansink offer some suggestions:

1. Have a good support system. "It's easy for your attitude to get lost, especially if you have someone who is walking into the living room every night with a bowl of ice cream," says Wicks. "It so important to have a support system that believes in you and wants to help -- friends, family, and the person you're with.

"I have someone who is my lifeline to everything, not just this. He makes every effort to cook what I'm supposed to have, buy what I'm supposed to have, and he's a sounding board and stands behind me in front of the mirror and says, 'You look gorgeous in that red dress.'"

As a member of the Weight Loss Clinic, it's easy to find this kind of support. You can connect with a weight loss buddy or just get an attitude adjustment whenever you need it on our community message boards.

2. Throw away those old clothes. "I threw out my fat clothes -- it's very easy if they're there to go back up to those sizes," says Wicks. "If you throw them out, you say, 'I can't afford to buy a new wardrobe.' So if your pants get snug, you know you have to watch it and keep that positive attitude for your body and your wallet."

3. Look in the mirror -- and like what you see. "One of the big things that helped me was when I went into the bathroom every morning, I would look in the mirror and give myself pep talks, whether they were in my head or out loud," says Wicks. "I would tell myself, 'Hi, beautiful!' It sounds silly, but it really helped make me feel better and give my attitude a jump-start in the morning to get my day started right."

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