Is it possible to trick your mind into losing weight? Is mental power critical to achieving a healthy weight? The quick answer is yes, it is quite possible to lose weight and achieve a fit lifestyle through sheer will. That’s not to say you have to depend on mental power to will yourself into achieving washboard abs. The human body works a little more complicated than that. To learn how the brain affects your weight and to discover ways to think yourself thin, consider these tips:

Negative Fantasizing

Did you know that fantasizing failure could actually train the brain to perform better? The same concept applies to thinking yourself thin. In a clinical test, two groups of obese women on a weight loss plan were tracked according to their negative and positive thinking.

Surprisingly, the group wherein members fantasized about losing a lot of weight and achieving their weight loss goals lost  24 pounds fewer than the other group wherein members thought about failing their respective weight loss program. The results of the study were published in the Cognitive Therapy and Research journal.

Let go of Food Memories

Do you often fantasize about certain types of food that you want to indulge on? All of us are guilty of spending hours just thinking about what meal to order at our favorite resto or what takeout to get after work. But all these foods memory could lead to unwanted weight gain.

According to multiple studies by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who recall their last meal as satisfying and filling tend to eat less during the next meal. Those that recall a certain meal unsatisfying end up gaining a lot of weight. By letting go of food memories, meals become satisfying, more enjoyable. Instead of thinking about what fattening foods you dream of indulging on, find ways to make every meal even more satisfying.

Motivation to Move

According to a study published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise journal, cyclists who habitually verbalize positive affirmations were able to pedal for much longer as opposed to those who did not give themselves a pep talk. The same study also found that those who talked themselves into performing better actually did. Researchers concluded that motivating one’s self can improve a person’s endurance, performance, and longevity dramatically. This is the perfect example of overcoming any challenge with your mind.

Dreaming of Cheat Days

Studies show that having cheat days works for those who are on a diet. Occasional indulges may lead to controlled eating. Researchers show that dieting participants who “dreamed” of eating an entire pack of their favorite candies ends up eating less when they are allowed to indulge in said candy. On the other hand, those who imagine eating fewer candies ended up eating more! This shows that deprivation could lead to unwanted weight loss. Imagining the pleasure of eating a certain food actually helps reduce the appetite for said food.

Visualizing Fitness

A study published in Association for Psychological Science, Harvard reported that self-awareness and engagement are key to healthy, gradual weight loss. In the study, a group of overweight hotel maids was told that they exceeded the Surgeon General’s guidelines for fitness. The group of overweight hotel maids began losing weight despite no changes in their activity level and diet. Instead, the hotel maids looked at their daily chores as grueling exercises. Imagining the physical demands of these chores contributed to the weight loss of the participants.