According to the CDC, losing weight or preventing weight gain is a concern for over 65% of Americans. A 2007 study estimated the size of the US weight loss market at $ 55 billion. It is now estimated to be over $ 60 billion. Yet, 95% of those who lose weight on a diet gain it back within 1-2 years.
Just about any diet out there will result in some weight loss – as long as you stay on it. There is ample evidence that regular exercise can change your body and is good for overall health. However, successful long term weight loss is not determined only by what's on your plate and how often you are in the gym. Weight loss begins in your mind.
How do you think and feel about losing weight are major factors that are overlooked in popular fad diets and weight loss programs. Yet, eating and exercise psychology determine how successful you will be at losing and keeping off extra pounds.
Here are five questions to answer before starting any weight loss effort to set the foundation for achieving and maintaining your goal weight.
1. What is stimulating me to lose weight?
Write down how your weight has affected your life and how you envision your life will be different as a result of losing weight. Make a list of all the reasons you want to lose weight.
2. How do I think about weight loss?
Think about the benefits and sacrifices that come with losing weight. Write down all the pros and cons you believe come with healthy eating and exercise. The more positive beliefs and feelings you associate with your efforts, the more successful you will be in making permanent changes.
3. What am I afraid of?
Create a list of your fears. Do not hold back – include ordinary worries as well as things that cause true anxiety. Common themes are fear of rejection, disapproval, failure and, conversely, fear of success. Consider how your fears may affect your weight loss efforts.
4. Where am I successful in life?
Write down the accomplishments and triumphs you are most proud of unrelated to weight. Reflect on what strengths you used and what actions you took to make these things happen. Find ways to apply these to losing weight.
5. What will it take for this goal to be reached?
Write down what you think it will take in time, effort, money, support, resources, etc. to reach your goal. Consider if losing weight is really worth it to you to make the changes and take the steps necessary to succeed.
Use your answers to these questions to create the foundation to lose the extra pounds for good by building on your strengths, addressing your fears, acknowledging your beliefs and putting your motivation into action!