With the excessiveness of the festive season a distant memory (except for those pants that no-longer fit) and the calendar diary looking fresh and inspiring, most of us take the time to reflect, look forward and set goals for the year ahead. Interestingly (and maybe a direct correlation with said festive cheer) statistics show that ‘weight loss’ ranks as the number one New Year’s resolution.
So why do we set this goal, year after year, and why do we so often fall short of achieving it?
Perhaps this is because our weight loss goals are slightly unrealistic? Commencing a hardcore exercise regime whilst eating gluten free, carb free, organic salads might be difficult to maintain unless you are an elite athlete or live with ‘The Commando’.
So here are are some tips from Clinical Psychologist, Kathryn Smith, on how to keep your New Year’s resolution going strong.
- Practice Mindful Eating. What does this actually mean I hear you ask? Try observing the textures, taste, smell and even sound, enjoy and savour the food. The more you observe, often the more satisfied you feel.
- Break Bad Eating Habits. A phrase you will often hear from the mouth of a child is: “I’m hungry” when a lot of the time they are actually bored and not in fact hungry. Well… adults do this too. So next time you find yourself staring into the pantry, ask yourself’ “Are you actually hungry?”
- Sit Down to Eat. Avoid eating on the fly. Sit down, put down your phone and make a proper experience out of eating, you might find you enjoy the food and count the meal as one.
- Weigh up your options. If you are unsure of the caloric value of what you are about to devour, look it up, as often this information is quite enlightening and can clarify a source of previously discounted kilojoules. Don’t mistake fat free or gluten free for being kilojoule free!
- Check in with reality. It sounds hideous but a weekly weigh in will help keep you on track, it’s hard to know how you are doing without a set of scales or a measuring tape.
- Wait and See. Research indicates that it takes on average 15-20 minutes for the stretch receptors in our stomach to send a message of satiety to our brain. So before you rush off for a second helping, maybe wait and see.
- Be Kind to Yourself. Take a self compassionate viewpoint and be aware of your self-talk. Gently encourage yourself as you would a friend if you make some poorer choices or do not have the expected weight loss. Avoid the “all or nothing approach” as many people will give up their new regime as soon as they have missed something.
Despite being experts in behavioural change, psychologists seem to be overlooked as a resource for weight loss management. However, by using cognitive behavioural therapy, a psychologist can help patients address their thoughts and behaviours surrounding eating whilst addressing any underlying causes, like self-esteem issues or depressive disorders.
If you think a psychologist could help you with your weight loss goals this year, check out our team of male and female clinical psychologists on the Brisbane Psychologist page of our website.