by Esta Morenikeji
Successful losers are goal setters. They understand the importance of aiming their efforts at something. Successful losers set small manageable goals, and as each goal is reached they celebrate it and set new goals.
If losing weight is not rocket science, why does it seem hard? Why is it so easy to add on the kilograms and so difficult to lose them? A lot of people have become aware of the health danger associated with carrying excess weight and a larger percent of these people are trying to lose weight. Why is it difficult for some to lose and maintain weight, and easy for others to achieve good results?
The answer boils down to one single word: habits! Our habits make us who we are. Our daily habits is what shapes our future); we are the sum total of our habits. One good thing about habits is the fact that habits can be learned and they can also be unlearned. It is correct to say that, if we can identify and learn the habits that make people successful, then we can also get the kind of successful results they get.
What do successful losers have in common? What habits can the rest of us learn from their long-term weight loss success? Listed below are the 7 habits researchers have identified in successful losers.
They are motivated to change
People don’t change unless they see the need for change. According to health psychologists, people go through different stages of change before they adopt a new health behavior (Prochaska and colleagues). Every successful loser has a point where they come to the realization that, they need to change something. For some the motivation for change may come as an order from their doctor, for some the motivation may be to lose weight and look good, while others are motivated because they love their families and want to stay alive and healthy for them. Every successful loser has one or more reasons why they decided to lose weight.
They believe in the benefits
Beliefs are powerful driving forces. When we believe in something we go all the way to make it happen. Starting a new lifestyle is not really easy unless you believe in the benefits that come with the new lifestyle. It is natural for us as humans to cling to the familiar and resist anything that threatens our sense of stability; we don’t usually welcome change with open arms. Believing in the benefits of a lifestyle is so important, and that is one of the habits of successful losers. If you are familiar with my weight loss story, you would know that my main motivations were the benefits that come with healthy lifestyle. I read a book which convinced me about the health benefits of exercise and clean eating, that I changed the course of my life in a few months.
They believe they can
Self-belief is what makes people do the impossible. Successful losers have confidence in their own abilities. Self-confidence is defined as “the belief that you can be successful at something (for example, the belief that you can be successful in sports and physical activities and can improve your physical fitness)” – Corbin and Welk. You have to believe it before you can do it; faith is the substance of things hoped for, and hope is what keeps us from falling apart when the going gets tough.
They set goals
Successful losers are goal setters. They understand the importance of aiming their efforts at something. Successful losers set small manageable goals, and as each goal is reached they celebrate it and set new goals. The goals can be as small as walking 20 minutes a day, or as big as running a marathon. Every goal achieved reinforces a successful loser’s success. That is why some people can’t understand why successful losers keep pushing fitness boundaries, some people might think they are overdoing it, but in most cases it is the pure joy of conquering new fitness territories that motivate them to push harder.
They keep track
Self-monitoring is another habit all successful losers have in common because, records don’t lie. Successful losers keep track of their foods and physical activities. They also keep records of weight and different body measurements. They know that what can be tracked can be managed. Seeing the difference between where you are coming from and where you are now, is big motivating factor to a successful loser.
They enlist social support
Research has shown that those who enlist the support of friends and family are more successful with weight loss than those who do not. As a fitness instructor I have seen people achieve amazing results because they have group support, whether it is 2-3 people meeting together for a walk or whether it is being part of a group fitness class, people lose more weight when they have the support of others. A phenomenon) that’s happening right now is the virtual support groups springing up all over. There are support groups on BB, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Successful losers don’t joke with social support, whether it is from family, close friends or virtual friends, they keep themselves accountable to their support groups.
They continue in those habits that make them successful
Successful losers are able to maintain their weight loss in the long-term because, they don’t go on and off. They understand the journey to health and fitness is a long-term one, they are not looking for quick fixes, and weight loss magic. They exercise consistently, and make healthy eating a daily habit. No wonder they are able to maintain their weight in the long- term.
In the final analysis, we are what we consistently do. Like Aristotle rightly said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”. When it comes to losing weight, your gain is proportional to your effort, no effort no gain, small effort equal small gain, and big effort will produce big gains. Therefore if you don’t like the results you’re getting from your weight loss program, please check your habits. When you fix your habits the weight will fix itself.
Esta Morenikeji is a fitness instructor and fitness blogger. Once upon a time she weighed 92kg, now weighing in at 67kg, she teaches people how to lose weight and keep fit in a fun way. She blogs about fitness and weight loss at www.zonefitness.com.ng and tweets from @estamorenikeji
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.