About Necessary Lifestyle Change to
Behavior Changes Helpful for Weight Loss
Guide to Behavior Change
Weight is an important health issue. Being
overweight is a risk factor for health problems such as diabetes, high
blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides, arthritis, gall bladder
disease, gynecologic problems, some cancers, and even lung problems.
Here are some suggestions for behavior
changes to help you lose weight.
Setting The Right Behavior Goals
Setting the right goals is an important
first step. Most people trying to lose weight focus on just that one goal:
weight loss. However, the most productive areas to focus on are the diet
and exercise changes that will lead to that long-term weight change.
Successful weight losers are those who select two or three effective goals
at a time.
Effective behavior goals are 1) specific;
2) attainable; and 3) forgiving (less than perfect).
"Exercise more" is a commendable
ideal, but it's not specific.
"Walk five miles everyday" is
specific and measurable, but is it attainable if you 're just starting
Walk 30 minutes every day" is more
attainable, but what happens if you're held up at work one day?
"Walk 30 minutes, five days each week"
is specific, attainable, and forgiving. In short, a great goal!
Weight Loss Behavior Changes - Shaping
Shaping is a behavioral technique in which
you select a series of short-term goals that get closer and closer to
the ultimate goal (e. g., an initial reduction of fat intake from 40 percent
of calories to 35 percent of calories, and later to 30 percent). It is
based on the concept that "nothing succeeds like success."
Shaping uses two important behavioral principles:
1) consecutive goals that move you ahead in small steps are the best way
to reach a distant point; and 2) consecutive rewards keep the overall
Give Yourself Effective Rewards for Behavior
An effective reward is something that is
desirable, timely, and contingent on meeting your goal. The rewards you
administer may be tangible (eg. a movie or music CD or a payment toward
buying a more costly item) or intangible (eg. an afternoon off work or
just an hour of quiet time away from family). Numerous small rewards,
delivered for meeting smaller goals, are more effective than bigger rewards,
requiring a long, difficult effort.
The Importance of Self-Monitoring
Self-monitoring refers to observing and
recording some aspect of your behavior, such as calorie intake, servings
of fruits and vegetables, exercise sessions, medication usage, etc., or
an outcome of these behaviors, such as weight. Self-monitoring of a behavior
can be used at times when you're not sure how you're doing, and at times
when you want the behavior to improve. Self-monitoring of a behavior usually
changes the behavior in the desired direction and can produce " real-time"
records for review by you and your health care provider.
For example, keeping a record of your exercise
can let you and your provider know quickly how you're doing, and when
the record shows that your exercise is increasing, you'll be encouraged
to keep it up.
Weight Loss Graphs
While you may or may not wish to weigh
yourself frequently while losing weight, regular monitoring of your weight
will be essential to help you maintain your lower weight. When keeping
a record of your weight, a graph may be more inspirational than a simple
list of weight measurements.
When weighing yourself and keeping a weight
graph or table, however, remember that one day's diet and exercise patterns
won't have a measurable effect on your fat weight the next day. Today's
weight is not a true measure of how well you followed your program yesterday,
because your body's water weight will change much more from day to day
than will your fat weight, and water changes are often the result of things
that have nothing to do with your weight-management efforts.
Changing Your Eating Behavior
Changing the way you go about eating can
make it easier to eat less without feeling deprived. It takes 15 or more
minutes for your brain to get the message you've been fed. Slowing the
rate of eating can allow satiety (fullness) signals to begin to develop
by the end of the meal. Eating lots of vegetables can also make you feel
fuller. Another trick is to use smaller plates so that moderate portions
do not appear meager. Changing your eating schedule, or setting one, can
be helpful, especially if you tend to skip, or delay, meals and overeat
Source: NIH National Heart, Lung &