SolveYourProblem Article Series: Weight Loss & Dieting
How Do I Really Lose Weight?

     

Lose Weight - Psychological Factors Why You Succeed

Behavioral Psychology Expert Dean Anderson outlines 3 basic assumptions underlying all chronic failure people experience, including the persistent failure to lose weight. In brief these are:

  • the assumption that they posses a personal flaw inside themselves that is the cause of their problem;
  • the assumption that this flaw is permanent and cannot be changed, and;
  • the assumption that this flaw affects every aspect of their lives.

In this article, we discuss the diametric opposite of this attributional style designed for failure, an attributional style geared for success. Conveniently, Anderson breaks this opposing attributional style with three basic assumptions, labeling each with a word starting in the letter “S”.

Dean Anderson’s 3 S’s of Success are:

Self-efficacy

This is the inherent assumption from within oneself that one is capable of doing whatever is required to achieve one’s objective. This is the old attitude that you can do anything you put your mind to. This belief is fundamental to success in any endeavor, not least of which is losing weight. Without it, you’ll find it difficult to sustain the energy to see you through any worthwhile endeavor. But with this belief in your own self-efficacy, you’ll view setbacks and obstacles as nothing more than challenges to face and overcome in your path to inevitable victory.

Now, don’t make the mistake of confusing of confusing self-efficacy with self-confidence, self-esteem, or self-worth. While those are all great and valuable attributes, the assumption to which we are referring here is specifically a belief in your ability to accomplish tasks that you set yourself.

Break down your overall goal of losing weight into smaller, achievable steps (bite-sized, so to speak) and a sense of self-efficacy will start to naturally arise out of these more realistic and conceivable pieces a larger and more inconceivable goal.

Self-Monitoring

We need to be paying attention to ourselves in order to know if we are sabotaging ourselves or aiding in our own success. How can you know what thoughts you are thinking (whether they are positive and affirming or negative and disempowering) unless you’re listening?

In the book: “The Solution” , by Laurel Mellin, RD, identifies with her participants what factors besides hunger trigger them to start eating and then works with them to learn how to respond to those triggers in other ways, without resorting to food. To succeed at losing weight, you need to stay keen to your patterns of thinking and your patterns of behavior.

Self-monitoring does not just involve noticing your patterns and properly interpreting them; it also requires making appropriate adjustments to your thinking and behavior accordingly. If you don’t following up your observations with action, modify your behavior in response to messages you receive from your self-monitoring, then you’re really not self-monitoring at all. This is apparent in the person who says they “know” exactly what they need to do and just don’t “do” it.

The crux here is that the changes a person “knows” they need to do aren’t steps in a process or items on a To-Do List. They are basic beliefs, values, and priorities affecting their patterns of eating and activity that need a complete overhaul. And many people would rather tune out than respond accordingly and appropriately to those messages.

Support

This one is easy; we are not meant to go through life alone. If we were, there wouldn’t be so many darned people around. We are social creatures, designed to cluster around others of our kind with whom to give and receive support in our individual and collective aims. Your aims at receiving support have led you here. Congratulations; that’s an excellent start (or step). Now keep up the good work: by joining a group of others who share similar weight loss goals, by drawing on your existing support network of family and friends to encourage and assist you, and by seeking further support from experts and other people who have already gone through what you are going through now.

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