Pam’s made many efforts to lose weight, but she’s never succeeded in keeping it off. She’s tried many weight loss strategies, but nothing has worked for her. The heavier she becomes, the more overwhelmed she feels by the magnitude of the challenge. Pam’s not alone in her struggle – 95% of dieters gain their weight back.
Scientists working with the National Weight Control Registry have studied over 10,000 people who’ve managed to successfully maintain a minimum weight loss of 30 pounds for over a year. In fact, the average subject in their study has lost an average of 66 pounds and kept if off for over five years.
By conducting in-depth interviews, performing psychological tests, and closely observing the behavior of people who had successfully kept weight off for many years, NWCR found these common characteristics:
- 98% modified their food intake in some way to lose weight.
- 94% increased their physical activity (primarily walking) to 1 hour per day.
- 78% ate breakfast every day.
- 75% weighed themselves at least once a week.
- 62% watched less than 10 hours of TV per week.
NWCR researchers discovered two common denominators among people who were able to develop and maintain effective weight loss.
First, the NWCR researchers found that the majority of people who’d been successful at losing weight had a mentor, coach, or counselor. With professional support, each person had been able to go through an inner transformation that led them to living a new life. Many even became involved in making a difference in the life of another person, thereby redefining themselves as a helper rather than someone requiring help.
The PROPEL Principles have been shown to be remarkably effective at helping people transform their lives. For help with your weight loss efforts using these 6 positive psychology principles, email Sue Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive information about her six-class, small-group PROPEL program which starts on Monday, September 14.
Second, NWCR uses the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) to assess the thinking style a person uses when relating to other people, processing information, and solving problems. The HBDI determines which of the four quadrants of the brain is most dominate in a person’s decision making process.
The “A” quadrant is located in the upper left part of our brain and is the primary processing system of those who are mathematically inclined. These ‘numbers’ folks are logical, sequential problem solvers, but they can sometimes over-analyze a situation to the point that they never take any action. Success for this group requires counting caloric intake, measuring calories burned through exercise, and tracking their results. By using the data they collect, the “A” type continuously adjusts his or her lifestyle to achieve the proper ratio of calories consumed to calories burned.
The “B” quadrant is found in the lower part of the left side of our brain. This is the domain of those who love following a schedule and having a routine. They’re the type who use a calendar (electronic or otherwise), like to be punctual, and enjoy having their environment neat and organized. People who used this set of strengths in their weight loss efforts were found to be the most successful. They prevailed by creating and sticking to a specific, methodical plan for what, when, where, and how much they would eat and exercise.
“B” types produced results by scrupulously adhering to menu plans, portion control, and routine times for exercise. This external focus helps them to be much less likely to use food to deal with their negative inner emotions.
The lower right quadrant of the brain controls the thinking of the “C” type. These individuals tend to have powerful emotions as well as a strong connection to the both the spiritual realm and the human experience. This group does well when they explore their emotional relationship with food. By learning to be mindful of their emotions, they can deal directly with their feelings instead of subconsciously soothing themselves with food. They learn to recognize the impulse to eat as a signal to deal with their negative emotions. That awareness allows them to ask: “How else can I make myself feel better?”
The “D” quadrant thinkers are very visual, and are attracted to new ideas, having fun, and taking risks. Once the novelty of something wears off, they become bored. Success for this type of person means keeping weight loss interesting by finding new recipes for interesting foods. Sustaining exercise is best accomplished by participating in sports activities that provide some excitement.