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The Secrets of Weight Management Success

Get out of your own way

The biggest obstacle to developing a realistic sense of self-efficacy is an inability to use your own experiences (both positive and negative) to make appropriate adjustments in thought and behavior. When it comes to permanent weight loss, research indicates that persistent failure to learn from experience is most often associated with the inflexible, pessimistic, and self-defeating “explanatory style”.

Know what self-efficacy is and isn’t. Self-efficacy is not the same thing as self-esteem (feeling good about yourself), self-confidence (general faith in your abilities), or “cockeyed optimism” (a matter of persuading yourself that all things are possible if you work hard). These traits won’t help you develop self-efficacy or substitute for it.

You build self-efficacy for permanent weight loss gradually, as you successfully move through a process of breaking down your ultimate weight loss goal into positive, specific, and realistic short-term goals. Then you identify and master daily behaviors, techniques, and attitudes that will allow you to achieve these goals. With each successful step down this path, you prove to yourself that you CAN transform your lifestyle into one that is consistent with maintaining a healthy weight.


Take the initiative

Understand that simply “following instructions” does not help build self-efficacy. You have to take initiative: identify your own strengths, weaknesses, and needs; tailor your program to suit your individual needs; and regularly take a reasonable, non-judgmental look at the quality of your effort. If you continue to encounter the same problems or patterns—especially if this drains your motivation and confidence—consider the possibility that you’re not taking enough initiative.

Take responsibility for your own education

If you’re having problems or having trouble understanding concepts, don’t ignore it. Share your successes and problems with others. Participate vicariously in the successes of others, and/or let them take part in yours. When you see that others have succeeded or overcome problems you’re struggling with, it’s easier to believe that you can do it too. Likewise, when your story or advice has helped someone else, your self-efficacy gets a real boost.


Self-Monitoring: Moving from Diet to Lifestyle

Self-monitoring involves:

1) accurately observing and interpreting your behavior, and

2) learning how to use your observations to modify your behavior and attitude.

At some point, most people who struggle with weight realize that there is another dimension to self-monitoring to be mastered. To put it bluntly, there is a big difference between knowing how to lose weight and keep it off, and actually doing so. To become successful, most of us need to change the basic beliefs, priorities, and values that affect the eating and activity patterns we want to change. This step separates a “diet” from a lifestyle change, therefore requiring different self-monitoring techniques and tools.

Take a look at the reasons you give for not doing what you know you should—this is the easiest way to discover how your priorities and values affect your weight. Then ask yourself whether these reasons are out of your control, or whether they’re excuses to avoid responsibility. We tend to be either too easy or too hard on ourselves during self-examination, so enlisting the help of a friend is beneficial.

Take a look at these common reasons dieters give for not meeting calorie and exercise goals, and follow the advice for each that will help you change your priorities.

“I’m too busy,” “Putting time into this takes time away from family or work,” or “I have no choice.”On some days skipping a workout or not sticking to your food plan really is the best choice. But this should be the exception—not the rule. If you find yourself frequently using these reasons to put off your weight loss commitments you may be turning a manageable problem into an excuse. Consider these points:

People who fail to take care of themselves become less able to keep up with other responsibilities. Symptoms of burnout include irritability, resentment, feeling overwhelmed or helpless, getting easily upset over small things, fatigue, and an increase in minor health problems (colds, muscle aches, headaches, etc.). How is this going to help you meet your responsibilities?

Maybe the job you have right now is taking up too much of your time, and isn’t the best one for you at this point in your life. What you do every day usually comes down to a question of priorities. Where does your own health and well-being fit into your priorities?

“I’m just too tired,” or “I don’t have the energy to shop, cook, or exercise.” Again, this might be an accurate assessment—if a new baby keeps you up all night, or if you spent the whole day moving into a new house, or refinishing the living room floor. But keep in mind that there are several causes of tiredness, and a little exercise if often the best cure for many of them.

Most of us experience tiredness related to our mental or emotional states rather than actual physical exhaustion. Mental or emotional exhaustion is the product of a stressful day that may very well have been sedentary. If so, then some exercise and a healthy homemade meal may be just what you need to put that stress behind you and reclaim your energy. The hardest part is getting up and getting started. Once you get moving, you’ll feel invigorated right away—that’s why Mother Nature invented endorphins. So don’t let a tired mind talk you out of doing what’s best for you!

“What’s the point? I’ve been sticking to my diet and exercise plan for months and have hardly lost anything. This isn’t working.” Is this just the voice of Frustration talking, or is this what you really believe?

Weight loss is not an exact science, because we are unique individuals—physiologically, psychologically, and otherwise. This means no one can give you a program that’s going to work exactly as planned, all the time. You need to take the initiative to adapt general information and proven strategies to your individual needs. You’re the only one who can decide whether you’ll let frustration stop you from reaching your goals.

Plus, regular exercise and healthy eating offer you a long list of important health benefits even when the scale isn’t changing as fast as you’d like. In 99.9% of cases, failure to lose weight “on schedule” does not mean you can’t reach your goal weight. It only means that you need to do some experimenting to find the right combination of strategies for you.

In summary, a true lifestyle change usually involves changing the beliefs, values, and priorities that have enabled you to become overweight in the first place. Learning to monitor not only what goes in your mouth, but also what is going on in your mind and heart, are keys to making a permanent lifestyle change.

Weight Maintenance Success

Support: Glue that Holds it All Together

Weight management is really been about support—the kind we get from experts and others who have walked in our shoes, the kind we give to ourselves, and the kind we give to each other. You know it’s almost impossible to lose weight permanently on your own. Research shows that people do a lot better when they participate in a program that has a social support component (online or face-to-face both work), and when they have an active support network of family and friends. So, why do it the hard way?

Found on http://www.sparkpeople.com/

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