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Cultivating A Mindset: Health Gain vs Weight Loss


By Lesley Nickleson, RD, IFNCP


If there is one thing that I have learned in my Meditation and Mindfulness training it is that ‘energy flows where attention goes”. Our thoughts and our words have power to shape our attitudes, our behaviour and how we perceive our reality

When it comes to health and healing, mindset is a powerful tool.

Reframing the Narrative: From Weight Loss to Health Gain

From Weight Loss

Talking about ‘loss’, conjures up thoughts of giving up something, deprivation and a sense of failure. Using this word may inadvertently direct our attention to negative feelings. Weight loss also carries a single pointed focus: the number on a scale. This can contribute to an unhealthy relationship with both our body and our food.

To Health Gain

Health encompasses physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of well being. Focusing attention on ‘gain’ brings a different tone and a change in both how we set and pursue our goals. Instead of a narrow focus on the scale, we give attention to our energy, our vitality, nutritious foods and sustainable habits. Emphasizing health gain builds a positive relationship with our bodies and all that it needs to flourish.

Five Things You Can Do to Cultivate your Health Gain Mindset

Here is how to shift your mindset from weight loss to health gain.

No. 1. Reframe Your Health Goals

Replace weight loss goals with positive health outcomes. This shift in perspective will help you to appreciate the deeper quality of your efforts and foster more sustainable habits

Example Goals

● Improve daily energy levels

● Live with more vitality

● Boost mental clarity and mood

● Enhance physical strength

● Achieve quality sleep

No. 2 Emphasize Quality Nourishment over Restriction

Bring awareness to what you can add to your nutrition to enhance your health rather than what you have to eliminate. This approach makes healthy eating more enjoyable and sustainable.

Nourishing Choices

● Replace refined carbohydrates with whole grains

● Count plants, not calories- include plenty of plants

● Include quality proteins and healthy fats

● Flavor with healing herbs and spices

No. 3 Celebrate Non-Scale Victories

Recognize and celebrate achievements that are not related to a number on the scale. This helps you to fully appreciate the aspect of health you are gaining from your positive efforts.

Non-Scale Victories

● Better digestion with improved symptoms

● Reduced cravings with hormone balance

● Radiant skin

● Rock solid sleep

● Boosted energy all day, every day

No. 4 Practice Positive Self Talk

Replace negative thoughts about your body and your health journey with positive affirmations and self talk. Be aware of when these thoughts arise and make the intentional choice to choose different thoughts.

You can do this Positive Affirmations

● “Everyday, I am becoming more healthy and vibrant”

● “I choose to nourish my body with healthy foods”

● “I appreciate my body for all it can do”

No. 5 Create a Supportive Environment

Nothing will influence your health and choices more than your environment. Your environment will inform your day to day habits. Intentionally create an environment to get healthy.

Design a Healthy Environment

● Stock your kitchen with healthy choices

● Design an environment that matches your health goals

● Seek out communities who share your health goals

● Follow social media that inspires health holistic living


By transforming our mindset with this simple shift of thinking in terms of health gain versus weight loss, we can transform our health journey into an empowering and uplifting experience that promotes our long-term well-being and fulfillment.



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