Mindset coach Mandy Napier.
Mindset coach Mandy Napier. John McCutcheon

Why your mindset could make or break weight loss journey

KICKING the kilos is not always as easy as lacing up the shoes or choosing an apple over a chocolate bar, the way you mentally take on the challenge could make or break your success.

Health experts estimate that between 96-98% of dieters regain the weight they have lost while on a diet within three years and the faster the weight is lost, the faster it returns.

Mandy Napier knows a thing or two about endurance and weight maintenance.

The Caloundra resident competed in her first triathlon at the age of 31 and just two years later, was representing Australia at the World Long Course in Nice, France.

After turning her attention to the Ironman, she qualified for the World Championships in Kaluai-Kona, Hawaii at the age of 37.

When her competitive days were over, Ms Napier focussed on the power of the mind and the benefits of a positive outlook to help people achieve their goals as a mindset coach.

What's the hardest thing about shedding the kilos?

This poll ended on 26 September 2016.

Current Results

Upping the exercise.


Finding the time to prepare and eat healthier food.


Keeping focused on the goal and not falling off the wagon.


This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Assistance with positive thinking around weight loss has been one of her areas of expertise most in demand.

"When I started training for ultra distance triathlons, I learnt 80% of the challenge is your mindset and mental toughness and I realised that it's exactly like that in life," she said.

"Everything that we create in the world first comes with a thought and our thoughts influence our feelings, which create our results."

"If you don't have the right mindset for kicking the kilos, you're not going to get past go."

Ms Napier said before launching into a weight loss program, you should look at where you are at that moment, what your problems and challenges are and have a "reality check" free of judgement.

"Most people say 'I'm fat, I've got to lose weight', which comes from obligation or necessity, rather than desire," she said.

"But you need to look beyond that and see if emotional eating, eating meals that are too big or unhealthy eating with an addiction to junk food or other poor habits might be the main cause."

Ms Napier said statistics showed only one in nine people achieve their weight-loss goals and that was largely due to the in-built mechanism we have of thinking of everything we have to forego rather than focusing on what could be gained.

"The brain is hard-wired to move towards pleasure and away from pain and when we think of how we are going to miss out on chocolate, which gives us pleasure, the mind goes into deprivation mode," she said.

"Once you set a date when you want to start and are clear about what you want, the next step is to jump into the future and create a vision of your future self six to 12 months down the track so you begin to focus on who you want to become.

"The really critical reason behind this is that our brains are used to an instant gratification environment and to achieve weight loss results, we must live in a delayed return environment, so unless we can keep engaged in our future vision, it is far too easy to get pulled off track."

Ms Napier said at the end of the day, we have to inspire ourselves inwardly to achieve goals.

Here are Mandy's tips to get you started.

1. Take a non-judgemental look at where you are now and recognise poor habits and challenges.

2. Think about why you want to change and what you want instead.

3. Plan when you will start.

4. Create a vision of your future self to keep you on track.

5. Observe your self-talk. If you hear yourself talking about what you don't want, change it to what you do want.

6. Take small steps consistently rather than jumping in boots and all.

7. Focus on changing one physical or mental habit at a time.

8. Enlist some support from a friend or relative to be an accountability partner.

9. Become your own best supporter and reaffirm your successes every day.

10. Be grateful for what you have right now.

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