The Psychology of Weight Loss Part 3

By now I hope you have read The Psychology of Weight Loss Part 1, and Part 2. This final post looks at four people and their weight loss journey. Two subjects have achieved a weight loss of 10kg and have kept in off for over a year. The other two have tried and failed and are in the process of trying again.

As you read their answers to nine questions can you notice any differences in the attitudes or techniques used? Can you see the people who have chosen to be a certain way and the ones who are still grappling? Why don’t you sit down and answer these questions and compare your results with these four case studies.

Case Study:

Successful – female, early 30′s

Unsuccessful – female, early 30′s

Successful – male, early 30′s

Unsuccessful – male, early 40′s

Female lost 10kg and kept it off for more than one year

Female trying to lose weight. Has had previous unsuccessful attempts

Male lost 10kg and kept it off for more than one year

Male trying to lose weight. Has had previous unsuccessful attempts

Case Study:

Successful – female, early 30′s

Unsuccessful – female, early 30′s

Successful – male, early 30′s

Unsuccessful – male, early 40′s

Female lost 10kg and kept it off for more than one year

Female trying to lose weight. Has had previous unsuccessful attempts

Male lost 10kg and kept it off for more than one year

Male trying to lose weight. Has had previous unsuccessful attempts

QUESTION 1: WHY DO/DID YOU WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT?

They all had similar reasons why they wanted to lose weight.

QUESTION 2: WHY ARE/WERE YOU OVERWEIGHT?

I observed that the two successful subjects were quite forthright with their reasons for being over weight. They were aware that they were eating more and not exercising enough rather than making excuses as to why this was the case.

QUESTIONS 3: WHAT ARE/WERE YOU REALLY HUNGRY FOR?

The similarities in these answers are gender based. The girls were looking for comfort from food, the boys were looking for stress relief and a way to ease the pressures of life. Unfortunately the short term comfort and relief from over eating and lack of exercise lead to more long term discomfort and increased stress on the body. Ironic isn’t it!

QUESTION 4: WHY HAVE/DID YOU FAILED WITH WEIGHT LOSS IN THE PAST?

Everyone had very different answers. Subject 2 has a very insightful response to why she has failed in the past. She talks about accepting herself, and how she realises that until she accepts herself just as she is, she will never be satisfied with her weight which is often the major cause of yo yo dieting. She is definitely on the right track psychologically.

I can start to see a ‘blaming’ mentality develop in subject 4. If you read all his answers you can see that he looks to blame other factors rather than take full responsibility himself.

QUESTION 5: WHAT HAS WORKED IN YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS?

Well there is definitely a common theme of more exercise with more intensity. You can also see the varying degrees of focus with diet. You’ve got subject one who is quite strict with calories versus subject three who simply modified his eating slightly. Unfortunately this is where men often have an advantage over women.

QUESTION 6: WHAT HASN’T WORKED IN YOUR WEIGH LOSS EFFORTS?

Interestingly the two successful subjects hadn’t tried and failed before, this was their first real attempt to lose weight. The two unsuccessful subjects said fear and inconsistency were to blame. I would agree that scaring someone into losing weight will only ever have short term effects and should not be the driving force of weight loss. Subject 4 comments on how a lack of prioritizing brought on the inconsistency with exercise which led weight gain.

QUESTION 7: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SELF DISCIPLINE IN OTHER AREAS OF YOUR LIFE?

It is quite obvious in this question that the 2 successful subjects are more disciplined over all than the unsuccessful group. This leads us to a very interesting question, does improving your self discipline in other areas of your life help in your weight loss efforts? If not, what is it about certain people, who might be disciplined in most areas of their life not cannot keep a lid on their food intake? Love to know your thoughts…?

QUESTION 8: HOW MUCH HELP DID YOU HAVE/DO YOU NEED?

Well all subjects have had some form of help but there doesn’t seem to be any correlation suggesting that the more help you get, the better. It is interesting to note that three out of four see a trainer regularly and the fourth occasionally. I think having a trainer is very important…

QUESTION 9: WHAT IS YOUR PLAN MOVING FORWARD?

It is interesting that the two successful subjects are not focused on weight loss but rather on the exercises they are doing. It is also interesting that subject 2 is also not focused on weight loss but rather accepting herself as she is. If she then chooses to eat and exercise in a healthy way, I guarantee her weight will drop.

Are you taking full accountability for your weight or are you on the blame cycle? Who do you relate to more, the successful subjects or the unsuccessful? I hope you can use the tools gained from part 1 and 2, combined with the observations from part 3 to really start to understand the psychology behind your weight loss. Ultimately you must learn to accept the body you have and then if you so choose to live a healthy life of lower calories and regular exercise, you will enjoy a healthy weight loss as well.


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