Written by: Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Kim Feinstein, RedMountain Weight Loss Behavioral Weight Loss Specialist
Have you ever wondered how some people balance their eating and exercise habits while maintaining a stable and healthy weight? We might think of these people as “genetically lucky” or believe they have a fast metabolism. In very few cases, you may be correct, however, what about those people who were once unhealthy, overweight and inactive who eventually changed their behaviors and now manage their weight and live an active healthy lifestyle?
Research tells us that these individuals actually developed and embraced new attitudes, values, and ways of thinking which thus guide their healthier behaviors. If you learn how your attitudes and values regarding weight loss/management influence your behavior, you can actually change your attitudes and values so you change the way you behave. This will help motivate you to eat right and exercise more!
Research demonstrates that our attitudes and values regarding weight loss and weight management are the foundation of your success in managing your weight. Let us take a look:
The Pyramid to Weight Loss/Management Success
Research indicates that the components involved in achieving weight loss/maintenance success are like building blocks of a pyramid. Each component is vital and necessary in creating lasting weight loss and a healthier lifestyle.
Most people think that if they can get their eating and exercise habits in line that they will lose weight and keep it off. What they fail to realize is that their attitudes and values play a vital role in determining their actions. In fact, their attitudes and values are the foundation upon which all other building blocks depend — they form all of your exercise and nutritional behaviors!
What are your Attitudes and Values Regarding Weight Loss/Maintenance?
Do you have a “Fattitude” or “Fittitude”?
What is a Fattitude?
A “fattitude” is a negative attitude and pessimistic outlook that discourages you from taking the necessary actions to lose weight and increase exercise. It is otherwise known as a thought habit; an old way of thinking that leads to self-defeating behavior regarding weight loss and management.
If you have a “fattitude,” you likely experience an internal war of competing goals and motivations, which leads to emotional exhaustion, yo-yo dieting, emotional eating, guilt, shame, and weight management failure.
How do you know if your attitudes are currently a roadblock to you achieving your weight loss goals? Here are some signs that indicate you have a Fattitude:
• You feel like weight loss/weight maintenance is “too hard’
• You believe that exercise is often a punishment
• You feel that eating healthy will stop you from having fun.
• You place greater value on work, family, and/or relaxing than on your health.
• You often feel victimized by your slow metabolism
• You frequently make excuses for why you can’t lose weight or exercise
• “Why bother, I’m only going to gain it back”
• “I’m not losing weight fast enough”
• “It’s too hot/cold to exercise outside”
• “I don’t have time to plan and prepare my foods”
• “I travel frequently”
• “I am in chronic pain”
• “I’m just too lazy”
• “I’ll look foolish at the gym”
What is a Fittitude?
A “fittitude,” or a winning attitude in terms of weight management, is the first thing you’ll need to successfully achieve your weight loss goals. In order to be successful in this process, it is crucial that you identify amd recognize your attitudes and values regarding weight loss and maintenance.
Do You Have a “Fittitude”?
Are you committed to taking action?
Do you believe you are capable of making lasting changes?
Are you willing to make nutritional and/or exercise behavior changes?
Do you believe the benefits of changing outweigh the costs?
Do you accept ownership of your behaviors or do you blame others?
Do you focus on the consequences to your choices?
Are you willing to accept temporary discomfort?
Are you making yourself a priority?
It’s Time To Lose your “Fattitude” and Develop a “Fittitude”: The 3 C’s
Developing a positive attitude towards weight loss is the first thing you’ll need to successfully achieve your weight loss goals. Use the Catch it, Check it, Change it method to take charge of your ‘Tude and develop a winning weight loss attitude once and for all!
Use the 3 Cs Method: Catch it, Check it, Change it
1. Catch It
The first step in changing your “’tude” is to notice or “catch” your “fattitude” in action. The best way to do this is to use your emotions as cues. Take note when you feel unmotivated and pessimistic about your weight loss journey.
• What am I thinking?
• Could those thoughts be making me engage in self-sabotage?
2. Check It
After you catch your thoughts, it is time to examine them more closely. Consider whether your thought is helpful or harmful.
• What am I telling myself that is making me feel this way?
• Is this extreme thinking?
• Is this distorted thinking?
• What is the evidence to confirm that my judgment is accurate?
• Is this thinking helpful or harmful?
3. Change It
If you have identified a harmful thought, it is time to work towards developing a stronger “fittitude”.
• What inspiring and motivating thought could replace my harmful thought?
• What will encourage me?
Remember, it’s time to get thinspired! If you stop and purposefully initiate alternate thoughts and positive self-talk phrases, you can have a significant impact on your weight loss behaviors. It’s time to fight back! You can do it and we are here to help.