The Most Important Thing You Need For Weight Loss Success... It’s Not What You Might Think.
It is likely that if you are overweight or obese you have tried to lose weight multiple times and now have doubts about your ability to successfully change your lifestyle and health.
In fact, you may even wonder if it’s actually possible for you to lose weight.
In this post, we will look at one of the biggest barriers to successful weight loss and some effective strategies to help you overcome this barrier and work towards that goal of losing the weight that you so badly want to lose!
You may have heard of the term self-efficacy and wondered what this means…
Well self-efficacy is simply the idea that in order to be able to successfully change, you need to believe that you are capable of achieving that change.
People who are overweight with low self- efficacy are often attracted to the idea of quick fixes – like amazing offers that promise you can lose 5kg in two week and when these sensational claims don’t work, are left feeling defeated and frustrated. Crushing their sense of self-efficacy even further!
Increasing your self-efficacy is one of the most important tools that you can use to help you achieve effective long-term lifestyle change.
With a positive sense of self-efficacy and the advice of a good weight loss professional to help you break that negative cycle, you are indeed capable of achieving the lifestyle changes that you want.
If anybody else can do it then so can you!
The problem with working with grand goals
Often, people who are overweight or obese tend to have large goals, such as losing 30kg in time for a wedding, a holiday or a health reason. Although there is nothing wrong with having a weight loss goal like this – you can increase your self-efficacy by breaking this goal into smaller, achievable steps.
These smaller steps can be considered a series of phases that will lead you towards your overall goal. For example, each phase might run for 1 to 4 weeks, where you focus your energy on only one small, achievable change at a time.
Once put together, these smaller achievable goals from each phase will positively contribute to your overall weight loss target and sense of self-efficacy by helping you to realise that over time, you do in fact have the power to positively change your health and weight.
Why grand goals and multiple changes all at once don’t work
Despite the temptation to multi-task, giving yourself a few things to work on at a time risks making you feel overwhelmed. In fact, the only time that multi-tasking really works is when you do the ironing in front of the television!
You may struggle with the added complexity of trying to achieve multiple tasks and begin to feel that it is all too hard and give up altogether.
Examples of small and achievable goals that you can introduce one phase at a time include drinking more water, eating an extra serve of vegetables per day, tweaking your regular breakfast, or starting a weekend outdoor activity like taking a walk.
Remember, only one goal at a time in short achievable steps is the key to achieving grander more satisfying goals.
Five simple ways to help increase your self-efficacy include:
1. Learning to see exercise in a fun and playful way.
Finding a way to exercise that you enjoy will help you shift the idea that exercise is hard ‘work’ to a pleasurable activity.
It is important for you to establish exercise as a positive experience in order to reap the mental, physical and emotional benefits that regular exercise can bring you.
2. Take the time to recognise what motivation is behind your weight loss goals.
For example, do you want to lose weight to improve your health and lifestyle, do you have a major event coming up? is there a dream that you want to pursue that you need to be fitter and healthier for? or is there some other reason motivating you?
Write these thoughts down and really reflect on why your goals are important to you.
3. Celebrate your wins.
Give yourself praise to recognise your achievements, no matter how big or small they are. This helps to reinforce your positive progress by increasing your sense of self-efficacy.
4. Set exercises that you can perform.
Attempting activities that you cannot do yet may set you up for frustration or embarrassment – resulting in lower self-efficacy.
5. Explore and build upon the successes from other areas of your life or previous weight loss efforts.
For example, where else have you successfully overcome a challenge that you faced? What has worked well for you in previous weight loss attempts?
Then identify how you can incorporate these successful strategies into your current approach to weight loss.
Believe in yourself.
Kovar, E. R. (2014). Building Exercise Self-Efficacy in Overweight and Obese Clients. IDEA Fitness Journal, (January), 84–88.