Managing Your Weight: Sensible & Lasting Weight Reduction: Part 4

Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus


“There’s no point in my trying to lose weight,” Lilly said. “My grandma was fat, my mom is fat, my aunt is fat; it just runs in my family. I know that my genes are stronger than my wi11power, so it’s pretty much hopeless.”


We have emphasized that the two most important aspects of sensible and lasting weight reduction are reducing the number of calories you consume, and increasing the amount of physical exercise you engage in. We now turn our attention to the thoughts and feelings that are an important part learning to regulate your own weight.

It’s important to become aware of your problem thoughts and feelings and to learn how to replace them with more constructive ones. Imagine this: You’re trying to cut down on fattening foods; one morning, without , you eat two large chocolate-covered donuts for breakfast. How do you react to this misstep?

You might say: “Oh no! How could I have done that? I’ve blown it. I’ll never lose weight. I’m hopeless.” Or you could say: “Uh oh, that’s more than 600 calories. Well, I’m not happy about it, but I won’t panic. If I’m careful throughout the rest of the day I can still keep to my limit.”

• Thoughts influence your behavior in significant ways. Some will hamper your efforts at weight control whereas others will help.

Another example of a typical negative thought: “I’m not losing weight fast enough. I’ll never get to my desired weight at this rate!” Now consider this more sensible alternative thought: “If I lose weight rapidly I’m likely to regain it just as quickly. I’m going to take one day at a time, and concentrate on gradual weight loss.” This is a more intelligent approach, and more likely to be successful.

Here’s another typical negative thought: “I don’t have enough willpower. I’ll never stick to a sensible eating program because I’m too weak.” Instead, teach yourself to say: “Hold it! It’s not a question of ‘willpower.’ It’s not an either-or matter. I can learn the weight-loss skills I need.”

It won’t help you to say, as some people do: “I’m naturally fat and always will be.” Try it this way instead: “Even if I am naturally fatter than others, it doesn’t mean that I can’t lose weight.”

You need to challenge these automatic negative thoughts. You can assert control and develop a more positive attitude toward weight control.

• Watch out for feelings that trigger inappropriate eating — loneliness, boredom, fatigue, anger and depression.

You don’t have to fill the voids in your life with food. Next, we will talk about using mental imagery.


Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus is a licensed psychologist, Co-founder and Clinical Director of The Lazarus Institute. In addition to his general psychotherapy practice, Dr. Clifford Lazarus specializes in health and neuropsychology.

Dr. Clifford Lazarus received his B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. in psychology from Rutgers University where he was a Henry Rutgers Research Scholar.  Seen here are excerpts from one of his books, The 60-Second Shrink – 101 Strategies For Staying Sane In a Crazy World, a book, he co-authored with his father “One of the ten most influential psychotherapists in America”  Arnold A. Lazarus, Ph.D.  For more details on Dr. Clifford Lazarus visit this link to The Lazarus Institute.  Or visit his page here on

Books available at Amazon by Arnold and Clifford Lazarus

Direct links to two highly recommended books by Dr. Clifford Lazarus and Dr. Arnold A. Lazarus:

The 60-Second Shrink: 101 Strategies for Staying Sane in a Crazy World 

Don’t Believe It for a Minute!: Forty Toxic Ideas That Are Driving You Crazy

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