Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals: The Top Benefits of Joining a Program
Achieve your weight loss goals
If you are trying to lose weight at the moment, you are not alone. A recent survey conducted by News.com.au as part of their “Great Aussie Debate” research found that 62 percent of Australian women over the age of 18 are trying to lose weight and very close behind were men at 52 percent. So, with so many people trying to lose weight, it is a good time to look at the recipe for success.
Have realistic goals
Many will try to tell you that weight loss can be fast. But when that doesn’t happen, it can leave us feeling deflated and demotivated. The reality is that the rate of weight loss will depend on your starting weight, how much you eat, how much you exercise, your age and your medical conditions etc. There isn’t evidence of an optimal rate of weight loss. A sensible goal however is around 1-2kg per month. Fast weight loss (more than 1kg per week) can put stress on the body and leave you feeling short on energy and low in mood.
Have a clear why
A person’s motivation can be broken down into two parts.
- How important the change is
- How confident you feel that you can make the change
It understandable to like the idea of losing weight, but if you can’t put your finger on a reason why it is important to you, then you are less likely to be willing to make the sacrifices necessary to reach your goal. Waking up early every morning to go for a walk when you would prefer to have an extra hour of sleep is hard. Spending more time preparing your meals instead of relaxing in front of the tv takes willpower. And unless you have a reason that is more important than catching up on Netflix or sleeping, then it won’t be long before you are pressing snooze again and ordering a take-away.
We all like to feel we are doing a good job. Most people know that feeling of starting a new job or learning a new skill and you don’t feel like you are getting anything right.. It is hard and makes you feel like giving up. So having some confidence that you can make a change to your eating or exercise will greatly increase your chance of success. If you find your confidence is low in an area, then make some plans boost your skills. For example, if you don’t have a good track record in the kitchen, then borrow some cookbooks or ask a friend to give you a few easy recipes to try (or better yet, ask them to show you how they are done). This will set you up for success because as your confidence grows, so will your motivation to keep going.
Stay one step ahead - “If you don’t plan, you plan to fail.”
If you were planning a trip away, you write a plan for where you will go and wh you will do so that you get the most out of the holiday. Having a plan gives you more control and reduces your stress. Planning for weight loss is no different.
Take some time to write down the main changes you want to make and the practical steps to make it happen. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to put into action. For example, you know that eating more vegetables will help fill you up and make it easier not to snack on treats. But rather than just plan to eat more vegetables (very vague), plan out when, what, where and how you are going to add more vegetables to your day. E.g. add raw carrots and cucumbers to lunch, fill half my dinner plan with veggies.
Within that plan, it can also be a good idea to think about what might take you off track and how you could ensure that it doesn’t. For example, you know that Christmas is coming up and you know you find it hard to say no to treats and drinks. So, you could give yourself a limit on the number of social activities you say yes to each week to ensure you have enough time for exercise. Or look up some healthy snack and drinks to take along.
Select the right approach or program for you
There are so many different options available for weight loss, it can be difficult to know which one to choose. The following is a list of things to consider:
- The program is provided or designed by a credible health professional with knowledge and experience in weight loss. Health professionals such as a GP or Accredited Practising Dietitian are bound to codes of ethics and professional standards that ensure the advice they provide is based on sound evidence that is likely to benefit your health. Dietitians are also the only nutrition professional that can provide Medicare rebates.
- The program includes behavioural strategies that show you how to stick to your new healthy habits. Evidence suggests that these approaches are more effective than just providing information (Correia J et al. 2023). These strategies help you build confidence and motivation while empowering you to feel in charge of your progress. This can include things like coping skills, goal setting, self-care and problem solving.
- The program provides or encourages social support. Being part of a group can be more motivating and provides accountability. This may include things like asking a friend to join you on your daily walks or asking your partner to made eating changes with you. Weight loss programs may also offer things like facebook groups or small group activities to help you stay motivated and positive.