5 phases of a weight loss journey

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By: Dr. Kim Feinstein, Psy.D

A transformative process takes time and effort. Especially when it comes to lifestyle, it can be difficult to make changes. However, the difficulty and emotions associates with this experience are completely normal and natural. Read below to learn more about each of the weight loss journey phases as defined by the Kübler-Ross Psychological Model.

Progression of emotional states

1. Denial

Denial is a defense mechanism used to protect oneself from the potential hardship associated with facing a goal. This emotional phase allows the patient time to settle into their lifestyle and prepare for the phases of coping.

Ex. “This is easy,” or “I don’t even miss my old lifestyle!

2. Anger

At this time, resentment for your choices may surface in the form of rage. You may project resentment for yourself and jealousy of others. These feelings are thought to be the beginning phases of accepting the inevitable.

Ex. “I hate that I have to be mindful about what I eat!”

3. Bargaining

You understand what is “right,” but may still do what’s “wrong” to avoid feeling confined or controlled. It is common at this point to question fate or a higher power.

Ex. “One cookie won’t hurt…,” or “If only I didn’t let myself go…”

4. Depression

You may miss the “old you” and feel overwhelmed by the permanence of your commitment. This grief allows you to appreciate the past while looking forward to the future.

Ex. “I’ve always been overweight, what is the point?”

5. Acceptance

During this last stage, You will accept that your new lifestyle is the best decision for yourself. Your feelings are far less intense than before and you have achieved a more peaceful state of mind. At this time, you are able to reinterpret your journey as a whole.

Ex. “It’s going to be okay,” or “I can do this”

Remember: Transformation is not a quick-fix

The only way “out” is through! It is important to continue your journey beyond reaching your optimal healthy weight. Be sure to ask your medical provider for more information on how you can successfully avoid rebound weight gain by following our transition protocol and using our RM Control Kit.

Dr. Kim Feinstein, Psy. D. Headshot

Dr. Kim Feinstein, Psy. D. is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Red Mountain’s Behavioral Weight Loss Specialist. She specializes in weight management, body image concerns, and eating disorders & prides herself in her ability to educate, guide, and inspire patients to overcome obstacles and ultimately achieve their goals.


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