Many popular weight loss programs include substantial information about nutrition, food, and meal plans – but fail to address aspects of lifestyle.
Without addressing these issues before changing your diet – even the very best program can fail.
1. What are your current eating habits?
Do you eat at desk? Maybe in the car or on the bus? What do you eat during these times? How will it be compatible with your new food choices?
2. Are you prepared to eat differently than your friends at social functions?
Eating often accompanies many social gatherings.
How do your friends eat? Do they consume foods that you know will not be compatible with your lifestyle? How will you address this?
3. Are you prepared to change your home environment?
Does your home environment work with your new plans?
You may have chosen to eat mindfully and leisurely. The trouble is, your home is utterly chaotic, noisy, and messy – with barely a place to sit down – let alone have a large pleasant space to indulge in your new gourmet meals. What will you do to change this?
4. How do your current habits fit?
What if your leisure activities always involve eating junk food?
What happens if you start a diet that completely rules out junk food? What will you do? Change your habits? Find a different comfort food? Divide up your packets of chips or other snack foods? Think about it.
5. What about eating out?
Do you eat at restaurants a lot? Which restaurants do you go to? Will they fit with your new style of eating? Are you prepared to leave food on your plate if their portions are too big?
6. Is your kitchen set-up properly?
Take a look around your kitchen. You’ve decided to try the Sonoma Diet and you need to actually cook and prepare food. Trouble is, all you have are 3 forks and a corkscrew… Or maybe you’re going to start making a smoothie every day.
Now where do you fit a blender? After all, will you actually use it if it’s stored in a cupboard 10 feet up? Or maybe you plan to portion up your meals. Do you actually have enough fridge/freezer space? Enough containers? Enough time?
7. Are you being totally honest with yourself?
You read about a new diet in a magazine, and it requires eating a lot more vegetables.
On the surface you are busting to lose “10 pounds in 2 weeks”, but deep down you know you cannot stand vegetables. Which part of you will win out in the end? Probably the voice that says you hate vegetables. This must be addressed. Why do you hate veggies?
Are you prepared to cook more, or learn different ways of cooking veggies? Is it the taste? The texture? The time taken to prepare them?
8. Can you accept the things you cannot change?
You cannot change the way other people act and the way they speak – “oh, so you’re on another health kick again are you?”…
But you can choose how you will respond inwardly and outwardly – ahead of time.
9. Will you continue monitoring yourself objectively?
Many people reach their ideal weight, and then let old habits creep back in. However there are a few warning systems in place – one is the waistband in your pants. Will you choose to conveniently ignore it if it gets tighter? Or will you be objective?
10. How will the lifestyle of family and friends affect your weight loss efforts?
If your whole world is filled with people who are couch potatoes – how do you plan to work against this culture? Will they influence you to be more active or more sedentary.
- Linde, J. A., Rothman, A. J., Baldwin, A. S., Jeffery, R. W. (2006). The impact of self-efficacy on behavior change and weight change among overweight participants in a weight loss trial. Health Psychology, 25(3), 282. Link
- Dohm, F. A., Beattie, J. A., Aibel, C., Striegel-Moore, R. H. (2001). Factors differentiating women and men who successfully maintain weight loss from women and men who do not. Journal of clinical psychology, 57(1), 105-117. Link
- Matz, P. E., Foster, G. D., Faith, M. S., Wadden, T. A. (2002). Correlates of body image dissatisfaction among overweight women seeking weight loss. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70(4), 1040. Link