Modifying Your Behavior for Weight Loss
There are many reasons to lose weight, and making the commitment can ultimately improve your overall health and increase your quality of life. But are your behaviors and motivations holding you back?
We know that positive behaviors toward food and exercise can improve our health, however, we don’t practice them consistently. Weight management involves adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a knowledge of nutrition and exercise, a positive attitude, and the right kind of motivation. Internal motives such as better health, increased energy, self-esteem, and personal control increase your chances of lifelong weight management success.
Researchers in both physical and psychological sciences know that a team approach is also critical to address the social, environmental, biological, hormonal, and psychological factors that influence your weight.
Asking yourself two questions about your motivation can help uncover why behavior changes are difficult:
- On a scale of 0-10, how important is this behavior change to me?
- On a scale of 0-10, how confident am I that I can make this change?
Perhaps you realize the change is not important at this time because other issues in life are taking priority. That’s OK but revisit the change when the chaos settles. Try to have thoughtful conversations with yourself to increase the level of importance. Without significance, changing your behavior can become elusive.
The second question addresses your confidence level. It’s possible your failure to change comes from self-defeating thoughts or behaviors. Increasing your confidence level will help translate into being more successful changing your behaviors.
Stages of Changing Your Behavior
Your readiness to change is a process and there are different stages of behavior that influence that process.
Precontemplative: the need for change is out of our awareness
Contemplative: considering that change may be needed
Preparation: beginning to think about a plan for change
Action: putting a plan in place for changing behavior
Relapse: falling back on old, unhealthy behaviors
You may move back and forth between these phases until you reach your goal. Relapse is not the end. It’s a signal to check your mindfulness, answer the two motivation questions, and rethink your plan.
Tips for changing your behavior
There are a few things you should keep in mind as you start your journey.
Change is a marathon, not a sprint.
Taking care of yourself and having the goal of achieving a healthier weight can give you joy and a sense of accomplishment as you make strides forward. However, you have to keep in mind that you won’t reach your actual weight loss goal overnight or even in a few months. It will take time and there will be hurdles. You just have to stick with it.
Set reasonable goals and hold yourself accountable
Mindfulness helps us live in the moment and be more aware of thoughts and emotions, rather than wandering inattentively through life. Once we set specific, realistic and meaningful goals, mindfulness helps us keep them in check. These goals become our proactive approach to living healthy, preventing illness, managing chronic conditions, and achieving successful weight loss.
Plan ahead for meals and work in exercise
Eat at a fixed time and place, have an exercise routine, and maybe try and stay away from fast food joints and the snacks section at the grocery stores. Train yourself to eat only when hungry and maintain an eating schedule. Eat smaller portions. The temptations for us to consume more than the required calories are all around us. The trick is to be aware of such environmental factors and try to overcome them.
Figure out ways to work exercise into your daily routine. It could be as simple as walking or biking to work or to the grocery store instead of driving.
Be mindful of triggers for stress, emotional eating, and sleep disruption
Exercise may seem like a stressful chore at the beginning, but after you get over the initial discomfort of starting to go to the gym, try to find simple pleasure in the protected time you have with yourself.
Successful weight loss requires you to redefine your relationship with food. This means looking inside to identify problematic habits with food choices and identifying the triggers and poor eating habits that caused your own condition of obesity.
Stress is perhaps one of the most common triggers for unhealthy eating. Some ways to manage stress include relaxation exercises, examining thoughts, practicing mindfulness, participating in therapy, and doing things you enjoy.
Find a buddy
One effective way to meet behavioral management objectives is to interact with people that have goals similar to yours. Track one another’s progress and incentivize each other toward achieving weight loss objectives.
Record Your Habits and Activities
Staying mindful of your food habits and workouts will help you learn what areas need improvement. Invest in a journal and record specific meals, workouts, and calorie trackers. That way, you’ll have a better idea of how you’re performing on your weight management journey.
Control Your Home Environment
Your home can be a distracting place. The following tips may help you manage those distractions and keep you on track:
- Keep tempting foods out of the house.
- When dining, sit at your table and away from the television.
- Prepare your plate at the counter and use smaller dishes.
- Eliminate stress by cleaning, sleeping, and making time for relaxation.
All of these behavior modification tips may seem like common sense, but they certainly add up! Adjusting your own behaviors to reflect the lifestyle you want to live is a powerful way to improve your health.
CMC Weight Loss can help you achieve your weight loss goals
Depending on your unique goals and challenges, there are many different components to weight management. Some people may be fine with the help they receive through routine healthcare and weight-loss medications, while some may opt for programs such as Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. For others, unique treatment options recommended or performed by a bariatric physician are extremely helpful for regaining control of their weight and health.
Dr. Zaher Nuwayhid, bariatric surgeon with CMC Weight Loss, has been successful at helping patients manage their weight through medical weight loss solutions and bariatric surgery. With a medically backed, scientific approach, he and his experienced team have the clinical knowledge of the body and mind to effectively build a wellness plan that will help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Learn more about our weight loss program and how we can help you. Watch the weight loss seminar here and complete a questionnaire and we will contact you.