Sunday, September 26, 2010

Changing Diet and Behavior to Drive Weight Loss

(Article first published as Changing Diet and Behavior to Fuel Weight Loss on Technorati.)
The reasons we gain weight and the path to successful weight loss are extremely complicated, as factors beyond diet and exercise can exert a significant influence on our body composition, hormones and the environment which surrounds us. Some of these factors are within our control while others are not. The key to permanent weight loss is to understand those events and behaviors which we can modify and learning to live within the confines of our external environment. Fortunately there are important steps we can follow each day to tip the scales toward weight loss success.

Friends and Family Influence Our Weight
Sustainable weight loss is not possible until we’re able to successfully control our lifelong habits and behavior which are responsible for the excess pounds. In many ways, these factors can be much more difficult to identify and change as they become part of the fabric of our day to day life. Friends and family can also have a significant influence on when we eat as well as the type of foods eaten.

The results of a study released by the University of Michigan examined the effect of peer pressure and behavior modification on female college freshman roommates. They found that roommates with a partner who weighed more than average were much less likely to gain weight over the course of their first year. On average, dorm mates with a heavier counterpart gained only one-half pound during the year while the typical gain was two and a half pounds for those with slimmer roommates.

Understanding the Social Impact on Weight Loss
Researchers suggest that the heavier roommate was much more likely to be on a reduced calorie diet or exercise routine and these positive weight reduction behaviors were adopted by the slimmer partner. Each roommate became more aware of the importance of diet and nutrition to prevent the dreaded ‘freshman 15’ and altered their lifestyle habits toward weight maintenance and reduction. There are a number of important behaviors you can adopt to assist your weight loss goal.

Set a Goal You Can Live With
The top reason people fail to achieve their target weight goal is they set an unrealistic number to reach. It’s much more important to focus on the lifestyle changes you need to make to drop weight rather than reaching for a number which is out of reach. Set an intermediate weight goal which may be mid way between your current weight and ultimate target. Successful weight loss is accomplished in steps as you allow your body time to metabolically adjust to each new weight plateau.

Reward Your Success
Since our childhood, we’ve been rewarded when we perform well and marching toward our weight loss goal is no exception. Treat yourself to a movie, or put some money aside for a larger purchase each time you mark a milestone. Make sure your reward is not food based so you don’t halt your forward progress. Small rewards along the way provide positive reinforcement to keep you on track to your ultimate achievement.

Get Help From Your Peers
Behavior which encourages healthy weight loss is socially contagious. We are subconsciously aware of the beneficial and negative habits of our friends, family members and peers. When our immediate circle of friends engages in activities which promote weight gain, we’re much more likely to follow suit and the pounds suddenly appear. Become a team leader and modify your diet and lifestyle habits toward healthy weight loss and others around you will follow.

Our behavior is constantly changing based on the influence of people around us along with environmental factors. Find friends with a common weight loss goal to provide yourself the opportunity to develop a healthy weight loss lifestyle. Take the initiative to lead your friends, family and peers toward a life which promotes sustainable weight loss.


Kelli C. said...

Very useful and informative. It can be a real challenge to change your ways at first.
Check out my recent article on defeating food cravings to losing weight for the long-term.

Kelli C.

Weight Loss Diet said...

Getting help from friends in lifestyle changes is very helpful.

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