5 Tips for Lasting Weight Loss
Tip 1: IT’S YOUR CHOICE
Dr Larocque says “If you really want to change, if you have the intense desire to lead a happy life, the new insights we have gained into human physiology and behaviour will enable you to attain your goal.” No matter what is happening in our lives, whether good or bad, positive or negative, we can decide how to react to any given situation. Even if we’re conditioned by our parents, peers or surroundings to believe certain things, we are not powerless to change, we do not need to accept all that we have learned. It is down to choice. We can choose to be happy or unhappy, this is a state that comes from how we see ourselves and choosing to have self-belief in what we set out to achieve. We are a different person every day, with an array of ever changing emotions. We make many choices in life, we can condition ourselves to make the right ones, ones that will lead us to reaching goals through perseverance and a burning desire to change.
Tip 2: LEARN BETTER HABITS
The more we do something the more it becomes the norm and eventually we do it automatically. This is what we call a habit. It is claimed that a habit can be formed by repeating the same thing for 21 days consistently. This is a guideline and is dependent upon experience and personality. It is certainly a good start, but remember old habits die hard once the neurological pathways have been formed, so poor habits can be reactivated with even the slightest provocation. Keeping good habits in place takes discipline and hard work, especially when inspiration fades and reality sets in. The key here is to ask yourself the right questions based on the benefits these habits will give you, the consequences of making the right choices day by day. It is also important not to look too far ahead, take it day by day, week by week. Monitor progress, be accountable to yourself, and don’t worry if you slip up. Learn from the mistake and move on. This is how successful people think. With healthy weight loss habits, you’ll be delighted to gain control, you’ll soon feel the benefits, and with the correct motivational tools and attitude you and others will soon see the benefits too.
Tip 3: ACCEPT YOU WILL SLIP
Anyone who is successful in losing weight and maintaining their weight loss has come to realise that slips are inevitable. It is our reactions to slips that need to be worked on, which stem from our attitude. Everyone has the potential to be successful, but the inability to accept that things won’t go perfectly all the time means the likelihood of abandoning a weight loss plan is certain. Certain habits like smoking or drinking alcohol can be given up completely, however we have to eat to live so therefore we have to balance our intake every day. The key to managing slips is not to equate them to failure. One slip has no detrimental effect on weight loss, it is our reactions that cause the problem. Self-criticism pulls down our self-esteem leading us to guilt and a strong desire to punish oneself. Therefore one slip turns into 3, 4, 5, reinforcing the sense of guilt and frustration. It is this self-destructive behaviour that dictates a negative outcome, not the initial situation. Learning to manage slips is vital in life long weight maintenance. Learning from mistakes and understanding the triggers, whether physiological or psychological is key to making progress. You can develop strategies to minimize the occurrence of such triggers and avoid turning it in on yourself. In any new challenge one expects to make mistakes, eating behaviours are no different. Quick recovery, no guilt and a reminder of your ultimate goals and benefits, will sort out the deviation and help you to get back on track.
Tip 4: CHALLENGE YOURSELF
Anything worthwhile doing takes effort, focus and commitment. Through advertising, society has created a myth that we can buy happiness. This is not true, real happiness can only come from within. Dr Larocque suggests that you look within yourself for the goals that are meaningful to you, and then strive to attain these goals. He says “people are happy when they feel they’re doing their upmost, when they push themselves to the limit and realize their full potential. People need challenges.” Taking the easy option, settling for less and accepting that life is not easy leads to a mediocre existence at best. Many people avoid challenge because fear of failure is paralysing their minds. This is because of faulty programming. Certain regions of the brain store a person’s past experiences in memory, even if that person no longer remembers them. So long forgotten experiences and incidents are stored in the part of our brain called the sub-conscious which altogether form beliefs we have about ourselves. This mental image we have of ourselves dictates all our actions and behaviours, everything we do is determined by the records in our mental computer. When people try things with a negative attitude it’s because they have no belief in succeeding, so lack of enthusiasm leads to failure, reinforcing the original belief. Failure engenders failure. The solution is to reprogramme your computer properly.
Tip 5: KNOW YOUR MENTAL WEIGHT
Habits and attitudes become so engrained that we are no longer aware of them. We learn to think a certain way through our parenting, peers and life experiences. Our behaviours are dictated by this thinking, often unconsciously, so we need to be made aware of these, so we can work on those that hinder our weight loss progress. Dr Larocque and his team of psychologists designed a questionnaire so clients can realise and analyse various habits, attitudes and behaviours, and go on to amend those that need work. A combination of answers on the mental weight questionnaire give each person a ‘mental weight’, in other words a weight which their current lifestyle with no change will eventually arrive them at.