While the internal benefits, and yes aesthetic benefits of losing weight can be worth their weight in gold, establishing a reward system can also be beneficial to reinforce positive behavior change. Studies show rewards that are personal in nature help you to stay motivated and create long-term habits. Other studies have shown a link between financial incentives and weight loss. Whatever it is that inspires you, utilizing incentives can make the path to weight loss a little more rewarding.
In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in April of 2013, Kullgren and his colleagues utilized a group-based and individual financial incentive system for weight loss. In a group of 105 obese participants, each participant’s weight loss goal was 4 pounds every 4 weeks for a total of 24 weeks. The difference between groups came in the distribution of financial resources. Incentives included $100 for each participant who met or exceeded his/her weight loss goals. However, while those in the individual group would receive the $100 for meeting or exceeding goals, those in the group structure would receive $500 if any of the 5 members met or exceeded weight loss goals – to be divided equally among all members who met or exceeded his/her goals.
Do you know how to set a good goal? One you can stick to and achieve?
Many people are struggling to lose weight, because they don’t know how to carry out their plans even when they have the best intentions to do so.
There are two types of goals. Outcome goals and process goals. Both are equally important. An outcome goal might be to lose 50 pounds, while a process goal could be to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. The outcome goal gives you an end point, while the process goal is a step along the way. Process goals are your roadmap to success.
Can you believe it is spring already? Where does the time go?
This is the perfect season for rejuvenation and growth. Not only is it a good time to check in and see how everything is going with your weight loss goals, it is also a great time to set the stage for your next phase of growth.
Before the year trudges on any further, let’s talk about re-committing to or rearranging current plans, since the majority of people who make New Year’s Resolutions do not achieve them.
If you are struggling to lose weight, here are some ideas to revitalize your efforts:
- Remind yourself why losing weight is important to you. It’s easy to get caught up in the number on the scale, but why do you really want to lose weight? How do you think it will change your life? Connect to that.
- Do something different. Monotony in our habits can lead to boredom and stagnancy. Additionally, it’s important to shock the body for continued progress and to avoid plateaus, so try something new. If you normally walk or lift weights, do a hip hop or yoga class – something to keep your body on its toes! The more out of your comfort zone it is, the more points you get. As a side benefit, you’ll feel proud of yourself for having tried something new, which builds confidence and positive energy.
How do you lose weight AND keep it off? This is really the issue, isn’t it? Many of us go through ups and downs in life, and it’s not uncommon for our weight to follow suit. While it’s true many people have difficulty keeping the weight off once it’s disappeared, there are systems you can put in place to sustain your progress. After all, weight maintenance is a lifelong process not a one-time event. Even if you’re not in a position right now to sustain weight loss, you may benefit from knowing what it is people do to both lose the weight and keep it off. It’s all about what you do NOW that can begin to change your future.
First of all, research shows those who keep track of their behaviors are more likely to take weight off and keep it off. This may include tracking your exercise, your meal plans, or even how often you eat. Writing it down will help you see exactly what’s going on. Start by choosing a target area – something that’s been giving you a hard time, or something you want to work on. Is there a particular part of the day you find yourself snacking more? Is exercise harder for you during certain times of the day or even certain times of the year? Where exactly do you slip when you get off course? Beginning to target certain areas like this can provide the awareness to move in the right direction.
What can you do today to set the foundation for sustainable results?
In order to lose weight, you need to manage the balance of calories in versus calories out. If you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight. Conversely, if you eat less calories than you burn, you lose weight. However, you can’t just starve or deprive yourself beyond what is healthy and expect to lose weight. We all need a set number of calories/day to meet our basic needs. It’s a delicate balance.
Do you know how many calories you eat during the course of a day? A three day food log can help you get a handle on what you’re putting into your mouth. See if you can commit to tracking what you eat for three days without adjusting anything, so you can get an honest look at your starting point. Write down what you eat, what time you eat, and any other notes such as how you are feeling, so you can get a sense of your own personal food patterns. This is simply an act of observance. You don’t need to judge yourself for where you are.
There are numerous ways to reach your weight loss goals. While there are a myriad of programs available to help you burn fat, increase strength, and lose weight, the formula for weight loss really comes down to two things: physical activity and nutrition. However, losing weight and keeping it off remains a battle for so many, so there must be more to the story. For now, we will keep it simple and focus on exercise and finding time.
Many people think they don’t have enough time to exercise. As the demands of life increase, the desire for and practicality of fitting in a good exercise session decrease. Let’s face it, the pace of our society keeps getting faster and faster. This can lead to stress, a whole host of health conditions, and yes, weight gain.
So, let’s be real. We don’t have time not to exercise. While the following guidelines are basic and general in nature, they are meant to give you a sense of just how much time is needed to prevent weight gain, lose weight, and maintain your weight loss.
“Birds of a feather flock together.” Ever noticed how life is easier when you’re around people who share common interests or are working toward similar goals? There is a reason for this. Utilizing social support is one of the best ways to deal with and cope with stress. That is if you have access to the right people. Sometimes we all just need a little help from our friends.
The good news is research even backs this up as it relates to weight loss. In a study exploring the benefits of utilizing friends and social support during the weight loss process, Wing and Jeffrey (1999) recruited participants either alone or with three friends or family members and assigned them to a standard behavioral treatment with social support strategies.
Participants who were recruited with friends had greater weight losses at the end of the four month treatment and ten month follow-up.