If like most people one of your top New Year’s Resolutions is to lose weight, you probably need to be aware that only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s Resolutions.
A rather sobering statistic! So why do most people fail to achieve their weight loss goals?
There are a number of reasons:
Weight loss automatically sets us into a ‘deprivation’ mindset. In order to lose weight using a diet we need to deprive ourselves of food/ and or drink that we love, or which are an important part of our lives. While diets can work short term, while we use our willpower, in the long term they are not sustainable while they make us feel we are being deprived. Eventually our minds try to regain a sense of equilibrium and move us back to what makes us feel good.
Diets don’t factor in our emotional attachment to food. Emotional eating is one of the key issues that causes people to put on weight. So simply ignoring the emotional satisfaction we get from our food and drink, or the emotional reasons we overeat such as boredom, comfort from stress or consoling ourselves with food after relationship breakdowns, will ensure the diet will fail.
Diets are generally regarded as temporary, short term process to achieve a particular measurable outcome, whether it’s losing a certain number of kilos, or fitting back into our favourite outfit, or looking good at an important event. This creates a sense of having achieved a goal, without much thought around how to sustain it long term, which is why the majority of people soon regain all the weight they have lost. It figures that in order for the weight loss to be permanent, whatever changes you have made to achieve this also need to become permanent.
Most people don’t understand the impact their mindset, thought patterns and beliefs have on their efforts to lose weight, and which can sabotage any achievements they may have made. Black and white and all or nothing thinking can easily stop us from appreciating any small shifts or achievements we may have made, while underlying beliefs such as ‘my family are all big, so I’ll always be big’ will also prevent us from positive long term change.
So how can we achieve our weight loss goals this year?
Change your mindset from losing weight to gaining health. This will create a more ‘holistic’, positive and sustainable approach encompassing a number of different ways to achieve this, not solely focussed on reducing your food and drink intake. Appreciate that any changes you need to make to lose weight need to become permanent, so slowly introducing new habits and foods which you enjoy will make the process so much easier. Similarly including exercise and stress relieving activities will also assist the process.
Examine your habits, particularly those which are creating your weight issues, and introduce new positive habits. We tend to spend most of our energy eliminating negative habits, without understanding that introducing new positive habits will gradually override the negative ones, without us even realising it. Positive habits, such as listening to our bodies, when they signal fullness, or simply eating more mindfully are simple new habits with potential huge positive impact.
Become aware of any beliefs, mindsets and thought patterns which may be holding you back. Change these by challenging whether these are still relevant, and whether they are supporting you in achieveing your health and wellbeing goals. If not, consciously reframe these to create a more positive and supportive mindset to help you achieve your outcomes.