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Action Set
Weight Management: Stop Negative Thoughts

It can be hard to get to and stay at a healthy weight. It takes healthy eating and regular exercise. These can be hard changes to make. But you can help yourself succeed just by thinking that you can succeed. If you tell yourself negative things—"I can't do this. Why bother?"—change will be harder. But if you encourage yourself with thoughts like "I can do this," you can raise your chance of success.

With time and practice, you can change what you say to yourself. You can learn to think in a healthy way even when you make a mistake.

  • Negative thoughts can make it harder to reach and stay at a healthy weight.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a type of therapy that can help you replace negative thoughts with accurate, realistic ones.
  • Changing your thinking will take some time. You need to practice healthy thinking every day. After a while, it will come naturally.

what.gif What is healthy thinking?
why.gif Why is healthy thinking important to reaching a healthy weight?
how.gif How can you use healthy thinking to reach a healthy weight?
where.gif Where to go from here

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Other Works Consulted

  • Hart SL, Hart TA (2010). The future of cognitive behavioral interventions within behavioral medicine. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly, 24(4): 344–353.

  • Layous K, et al. (2011). Delivering happiness: Translating positive psychology intervention research for treating major and minor depressive disorders. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 17(8): 675–683.

  • Lightsey OR, et al. (2012). Can positive thinking reduce negative affect? A test of potential mediating mechanisms. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly, 26(1): 71–88.

  • McKay M, et al. (2011). Changing patterns of limited thinking. In Thoughts and Feelings: Taking Control of Your Moods and Your Life, 4th ed., pp. 27–45. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.

  • McKay M, et al. (2011). Uncovering automatic thoughts. In Thoughts and Feelings: Taking Control of Your Moods and Your Life, 4th ed., pp. 15–25. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.

  • Newman CF, Beck AT (2009). Cognitive therapy. In BJ Sadock et al., eds., Kaplan and Sadock's Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, 9th ed., vol 2., pp. 2857–2873. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerCatherine D. Serio, PhD - Behavioral Health
Specialist Medical ReviewerSue Barton, PhD, PsyD - Behavioral Health
Last RevisedAugust 3, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 03, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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