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There are many factors that play in to weight loss, but one of the biggest factors to take into account is the power of thinking yourself thin. To lose any amount of weight takes time and patience, but with these three tips, you’ll be well on your way to a healthy mindset and a lean body.

1.)    Make Attainable Goals. Studies have shown that unrealistic goals do not lead to weight loss. Try making a list of smaller goals that will help you achieve your big picture weight loss goals. These mini-goals should be things that will improve your lifestyle, such as:

  • Ordering a big salad with protein and greens instead of a burger with french fries478452201 (2)
  • Eating more whole foods—including nuts, seeds, fish and berries
  • Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day
  • Eating healthy snacks instead of candy bars or chips

It’s undeniable that change is hard. So start setting and reaching small, attainable goals and work your way up to bigger goals from there.

2.)    Set Realistic Expectations. Realistically, you’re going to cave at one point or another. It’s unrealistic to assume you’ll never eat a piece of chocolate or give into your cupcake craving again.

If you do make an unhealthy choice during the day, don’t give up! Get right back on track by eating more fruits and veggies and/or exercise a little extra that day.

It’s also important to set realistic expectations for the amount of weight you want to lose. Instead of choosing a single number as your ideal weight, try focusing on an ideal weight range. Reevaluate your goal every few months.

3.)    Curb Your Cravings. One of the hardest things about starting to eat healthier is ridding your body and mind of the cravings it’s having for junk. Here’s a couple of tips to help you conquer your cravings:

  • Distract yourself. Engage your mind in something else for 5 minutes. Try an activity that involves both mind and body—do a crossword puzzle or clean one of the rooms in your house.
  • Exercise. Research shows that working out may train your brain to eat clean. No need to head to the gym—simply taking a walk works. In a study published in NeuroReport, when active people viewed pictures of cake, burgers and other junk food, the regions in their brains associated with appetite were quieter than those of more sedentary people.