Your New Year’s Resolution: “This year I will lose weight’
Every year the dreaded question comes forth,...‘What’s your new year's resolution?. Then every year you boldly utter the words ‘This year I will lose weight!’, while the nagging voice in the back of your mind screams ‘you said that last year!’.
However, 2017 will be your year to stick to your resolution and silence the nagging voice in your head once and for all.
If your resolution is to lose weight this year you are not alone! Topping the list every year is the desire to lose weight . So, why do we seem to fail every year?
The Psychology of Dieting
Often when you begin a diet you start out with determination, yet as the days pass by cravings take over and perseverance begins to diminish, why is this? Habits are hard to change we have learnt and generated cognitions that spur us to act in the way we do.
There is a step-by-step that is called the ‘Stages Model’ (Prochaska and DiClemente,1984) which helps to describe our behaviour. The stages go:
- Maintenance /Relapse
Precontemplation is ‘I would like to lose weight as I am unhealthy, but it’s too hard’. This stage describes a desire to carry out an action, but the person in question is too uninformed to do so. They do not have the required motivation or knowledge to carry out their goal.
Contemplation is ‘I would like to get healthy because I am overweight and unhealthy, if I lost weight and exercised more I will live a better life’. This phase describes when the person is preparing themselves for their goal. They are aware of the pros and cons of losing weight and this gives them motivation to start their goal.
Preparation is ‘I am going to join the gym, talk to my doctor and stop eating badly’. This is the stage of readiness. Where people start to plan how they will achieve their goal.
Action is ‘I will go to the gym 3 times a week, quit eating dessert and stop drinking soda’. This is where the final modifications are made so that their goal is achieved. This is where most differences will be made so that the goal can be put into action straight away.
Maintenance is ‘ I have lost 6lbs in 2 weeks’, this marks the beginning of the goal and confirms that changes have been made to their lifestyle. Maintenance can last between 6 months and 5 years. However the person may encounter relpase. Relapse can occur in most people, when their diet has ceased. This may be due to denial which is one of the hardest and most persistent annoyances in human existence. According to statistical data 89% of the female population restrain form eating one or more food groups. Famous Psychologist Wegner tested this with the white bear theory. He asked his participants to not think of a white bear. They were then asked to record when they did. Those that were told ‘DON’T’, thought about the white bear more. This perfectly demonstrates the power that denial has over the brain .
What are the best methods of weight loss?
What is important to remember is that it is not just about weight loss, but maintaining health. This means not cutting calories and not exercising every hour of the day. Health weight loss considers the following:
- We advise the following tips for healthy nutrition and a balanced diet:
- Eat a minimum of 5, 80g portions of fruits and vegetables a day.
- Cut the fat off meat, or opt for leaner meats, and fish.
- Or choose low fat and vegetarian protein sources such as legumes, beans and tofu.
- Choose whole grains/brown carbohydrates over white as this increases fibre and controls blood sugar to prevent cravings. e.g pasta, bread, rice and cereals.
- Swap saturated fats from cakes, biscuits, chocolates and dairy products for unsaturated fats from avocado, fish, plant oils and nuts.
- Exercise at least five times a week for 30 minutes. With a mixture of moderate (brisk walking, jogging, or swimming) or vigorous activity (sprinting or weight lifting).
- Just become more active, take the stairs instead of the escalator. Park half a mile away from work and walk the rest. Don’t eat at your desk, take a walk in your lunch break. Or spend more time playing with the kids.
- Incorporate natural pre-workout supplements into your exercise routine. Those rich in B-vitamins, and herbal extracts such as Maca.
Setting good habits
- If you come home from work and often ‘can’t be bothered’ it can lead you to eat poorly or snack. In an attempt to avoid this dedicate an hour after a food shop to prepare your vegetables or batch make meals.
- Eat 3 meals a day.
- If you need to snack eat a small handful of nuts, or a piece of fruit.
- Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day, this will keep you hydrated and satiated. Reducing cravings for food.
- Try weight loss supplements such as Chitosan, Green Tea, Capsicum , Chromium, Garcinia Cambogia, ALA, or Caffeine.
- Avoid getting into bad habits, e.g. takeaways once a week, or always having something sweet after savoury, as these are difficult to break.
- Kent and Sussex Courier. (2015). Top 50 most popular New Years Resolutions for 2016. Available: http://www.kentlive.news/50-popular-new-year-s-resolutions-2016/story-28436034-detail/story.html.
- Pro-Change. (2016). The transtheoretical model. Available: http://www.prochange.com/transtheoretical-model-of-behavior-change.
- Cook. S. (2012). Explanations for the success or failure of dieting.Available: https://revisepsychology.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/4-explanations-for-the-success-or-failure-of-dieting/.