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Psychology of Weight Loss

The Psychology of Weight Loss: “Thinking Thin” Will Help You Lose Weight

I am always interested in the cause as opposed to the symptom because this is where we can affect lasting change.

In my work as a weight loss therapist I have really come to understand that lasting weight loss is not about what you eat, it’s about why and how you eat.

I’m a psychologist and weight loss specialist and I help people to lose weight without dieting. I focus on the psychology of weight loss.

Understanding the mindset of a thin person will help you to change your relationship with food and your body. By the time you’ve finished reading this you will have the tools you need to start ‘thinking thin’. Weight loss will be a joyous consequence!
When you see a thin person, what do you think? Is it something like…

“It’s genetics, he must have the skinny gene” or, “she must starve herself to look like that”, or “she must just have a really fast metabolism”, or “he couldn’t be happy, because he must be hungry all the time!”.

This is such a misconception!

Did you know that people who are naturally thin and people who constantly battle with their weight are extremely different? Not just on the outside but on the inside too.

So many people think that genetics have a fundamental part to play in our size, but recent scientific evidence tells a different story.

The most significant difference between people who battle with their weight and people who are thin is not genetics or their metabolic rate.

Its their relationship with food and their body: their mindset.

The psycholology of weight loss

People who are constantly struggling to lose weight have a completely different mindset to those who don’t have issues with their weight. People who enjoy food and say they can eat what they like have a very different attitude to those who feel they have to constantly watch what they eat and control their food intake.

Thin people are intuitive eaters, they eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. Whereas people who struggle with their weight are controlled eaters, who constantly monitor what they eat, and constantly think about food.

What can you do?

If you think you are a controlled eater, and you want to lose weight and keep it off, then there is one very powerful and enjoyable thing you can do right now: Think like a thin person. Use the psychology of weight loss as your friend.

People who are naturally thin have an intuitive approach to food and eating. This is a mindset that people who are always dieting or struggling to lose weight don’t adopt.

Here is the mindset of an intuitive eater, by shifting your mindset you can move from being a controlled eater to an intuitive eater.

  1. Thin people only eat when they are hungry. If they are not hungry then they won’t eat.!

Simple. They pay attention to how their stomach feels. Use the hunger scale as a guide, you should aim to eat when you recognize that you feel somewhere between slightly hungry and hungry and you should stop eating when you feel somewhere between pleasantly satisfied and full.

Psychology of Weight Loss by Artful Eating

  1. Thin people eat to the point of feeling pleasantly satisfied. 

They leave room for more and feel better that way. They listen to their body and tend to feel uncomfortable if they overeat. So they avoid becoming excessively full even if there is delicious food still left on the plate. They know they can always go back for more and they understand that the flavour is in the first few bites!

  1. Thin people can distinguish between desire and actual hunger. 

When they see something that looks tasty, they will tend to consider whether or not they are actually hungry before making a decision, again refer to the hunger scale as a guide for when you should eat!

  1. Thin people don’t give into cravings. 

They understand that food cravings will pass and they easily distract themselves or tolerate food cravings without giving in.

  1. Thin people have a more realistic understanding of how much they actually eat. 

If a thin person overeats which isn’t very often, they will tend to compensate by eating less at other meals. They understand the importance of balance.

  1. Thin people don’t comfort eat or engage in emotional eating.

When they are upset or stressed they don’t turn to food for comfort. If anything they tend to lose their desire to eat. Comfort eating can cause you to become self-critical, undermine your confidence and feel worse than you did before you sought comfort and thin people have a better understanding of this.

  1. Thin people don’t see weight gain as a disaster.

They quickly address the issue by controlling their eating and exercising more.

  1. Thin people trust themselves and make good decisions. They don’t think that intuitive eating is unfair. 

Thin people actually do make an effort to maintain their weight and stay healthy. They accept the limitations of smaller portions or eating healthier food without feeling that life is unfair.

So if you:

Eat when you aren’t actually hungry.

Like the feeling of being stuffed full.

Confuse hunger with the desire to eat.

Have a low tolerance for hunger and cravings

Fool yourself about how much you eat.

Comfort yourself with food.

Feel hopeless when you gain weight.

Stop dieting once you lose the weight.

Then its extremely likely that you will continue to struggle with your weight.

My advice is very simple- Think like a thin person– and you will experience amazing results because weight loss is not about what you eat, it’s about why and how you eat. Start now, by using the hunger scale and tuning into your body. Eat when you actually feel hungry.

I challenge you, for just one whole day to think like a thin person! Notice how it feels and enjoy the experience. This is the positive psychology of weight loss.

Psychology of Weight Loss by Karina Melvin

To learn more about Artful Eating: the psychology of lasting weight loss, an approach where I will share with you the skills and tools to lose weight, enjoy food and achieve your dream body without the pain and restriction of dieting check out my free training Artful Eating: Reprogram your mind to transform your body. 

The Psychology of Weight Loss: “Thinking Thin” Will Help You Lose Weight

Karina Melvin, MSc, MA

Karina Melvin provides online psychoanalysis and counselling services from her South Dublin office with her team of high-level psychoanalysts. You can learn more about online counselling, psychoanalysis by clicking the link below.

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APA Reference
Melvin, K. (2019). The Psychology of Weight Loss: “Thinking Thin” Will Help You Lose Weight. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2020, from


Last updated: 20 Mar 2019
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