For those who try to lose excess weight, the struggle can be real. Whether the weight gain came about due to a pregnancy, a slower metabolism, an injury or illness, medication usage, a sedentary lifestyle, or is something that has been a challenge forever due to genetic factors—many people who attempt to lose weight do not find it to be a straightforward task. When regular exercise, better nutrition, and even visits to a dietician fail, where do people turn? That is where weight loss psychology, such as using Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) can come into play. Behavioral psychology aims to understand why we behave the way we do and analyze patterns in our actions and behaviors. Using it to aid weight loss means understanding the many factors that influence weight gain, such as easy access to unhealthy foods. This can help us make changes to prevent this from happening. Although one study has looked at Noom's effectiveness when it comes to weight loss, it's still difficult to say whether it's more successful than other similar programs in aiding weight loss. But we do know from a wide body of research that many behavioral psychology techniques can be used to help people successfully lose weight.
1. Goal setting
Many weight loss programs start by asking people to set a goal. And research indeed shows that creating this "intention" actually motivates you to change your behavior. And this is true no matter if your goal is to lose a certain amount of weight, eat healthier or to exercise more. But since physical activity on its own is unlikely to cause a significant amount of weight loss, a combination of goals may be most effective in keeping people motivated and helping them reach their goals.
2. Trick your stomach into feeling full
We advise choosing vegetables such as carrots and celery over sugary treats when you're having a snack craving. Not only do they have less, calories; they are also fibrous and can make you feel full faster.
Measuring your weight and what you eat -- known as "self-monitoring" -- is one of the most effective strategies from the field of behavioral psychology for weight loss. It's also included in most weight management programs. Self-monitoring works by making you more aware of what you're eating, drinking, and what is happening to your weight. In turn, this can help you avoid overeating indulgent, unhealthy foods. People that are successful at losing weight -- and keeping it off -- weigh themselves regularly. Research shows weighing yourself at least once per week leads to the greatest success -- with one study even suggesting weighing daily.
4. Social support
The third strategy is to get feedback and support from friends, family or supervised programs. The reason social support helps is because it creates a sense of accountability. Research has shown that people who attend weight loss programs with a friend or family member are more likely to stick with it and lose more weight. There appears to be no particular person that's better for motivation -- the important thing is that supporters are engaged.
5. Think of exercise as a fun activity
Jared Haas, a geographic information systems coordinator, believes finding an exercise that's fun matters most, because you'll be more likely to incorporate it into your weekly routine. "If you hate running, don’t run. It doesn’t matter that running has been proven to aid in weight loss," Haas writes. "If you hate it that much, you’re not going to stick with it. If you’re not going to stick with it, it’s not going to yield permanent results."
6. Prioritize Sleep
Researchers have repeatedly found a link between sleep habits, weight gain, and unhealthy eating behaviors. So one of the most straightforward and relaxing steps to overcome psychological barriers is to improve your bedtime habits. Try to go to bed at the same time each night, rise at the same time each morning, and make your bedroom a sanctuary for sleep. Remove electronics (television, computer, cell phone charger) and do as much as you can to reduce noise.
7. Engage yourself
Another thing that you will likely discover in monitoring your eating habits is that excess calories are often consumed for comfort in times of boredom. For this reason, having activities to engage yourself can be important. Coaching a softball team might not actually burn many calories, but it gets you out of the house and away from the refrigerator. The same with a book club or any just about any other activity. If you do find yourself sitting in front of the TV, remember the healthy snacks—fruits, vegetables, and nuts are fantastic—and avoid the bowl of chips or sweets.
8. Understand your cravings
When you really start analyzing your food intake, you come to better understand your cravings. One thing I learned is that it really doesn’t take much to satisfy hunger. Small portions are usually enough because if we are mindful of our cravings and take appropriate steps, huge quantities of food at the dinner table and elsewhere are not needed to extinguish hunger. If we step away after just modest eating and focus on activities that take our minds away from food, we find ourselves quite satisfied and not at all hungry.
9. Motivate yourself by asking challenging questions
While self-affirmations can be helpful, consider tapping into your competitive side by turning weight loss into a challenge. "Personally, I find it much more motivating to challenge myself with self-talk like this: 'Can you lose this weight? Are you up to the challenge?'"
10. Eating habits matter
Also we are not a fan of traditional dieting, because he argues that it limits one's mindset. Once you're off your diet and have lost weight, you might revert back to eating poorly, not exercising and ultimately regain pounds.
When an individual struggles in losing weight by himself or herself, seeking professional help is always an option if it is within their means. Cognitive Behavior Therapy for weight loss has shown great success in many individuals who have not been able to get the weight off and keep it off by going a typical route.