Finding Success with Behavior-Based Weight Management
Nearly 74% of adults 20 and over in the U.S. are obese or overweight. Researchers have found one sensible approach that can be followed throughout one’s lifetime to maintain a healthy weight. Behavioral-based programs offer hope to those struggling with the scales.
What is Behavior-Based Weight Management?
While calorie- and nutrient-restricted diets often fail long-term, a behavioral approach to weight loss helps identify your habits, thinking patterns and initiates setting goals, as well as finding outside encouragement. All these elements seem to make a huge difference in not just losing weight but keeping off extra pounds over a lifetime.
Here are the key elements in a behavior-based weight management program:
- Set goals. These goals will encompass not just pounds or inches lost, but also internal motivations such as wanting to feel healthier, having a positive self-image, wearing a certain outfit or feeling energetic enough to play sports with your children.
- Examine your thinking patterns. Do you beat yourself up when you eat more than you wanted or a food you considered off-limits? You will learn to write new positive scripts for thinking.
- Track your food and activity. Keeping a food diary tends to help people eat healthier. It’s a type of accountability and awareness that encourages you to stay on track. You may also track your activity with a fitness device or app, or a simple notebook.
- Don’t categorize food as good or bad. If you label a food bad, you’ll often become more tempted to eat it. If you allow yourself some treats occasionally, managing how often or the portion size, you won’t be as likely to abandon your healthy eating lifestyle.
- Control your environment. Learn what your patterns are and adjust them. Don’t buy empty-calorie food, or at least keep them out of sight. Instead, buy or prepare some easy-to-grab nutritious snacks. Also, don’t eat mindlessly in front of the TV, where you may end up eating more than you would at the dining table. If eating at a restaurant, ask for toppings on the side, fill up with healthy choices or ask your server to bring you half the entrée and bag up the rest to take home.
- Enlist a support system. While many successful programs provide coaches/mentors, you can get similar results with a partner. Have an exercise or meal prep buddy so you can encourage one another. Simply telling others your goals will solidify your commitment to a healthy diet and lifestyle.
- Monitor success and reward yourself. When you reach a milestone, or sometimes just because you are hanging in there, celebrate by grabbing a new pair of sneakers or some yoga pants. Take your exercise buddy to a movie, or buy yourself a book. Whatever motivates you to stay the course is what’s important.