Week 1 - Mindset, Goals and Motivation
Week 1 - Mindset, Goals and Motivation
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In the first week of our programme we focus on your mindset, goals, and motivation for weight loss. When we want to lose weight, it’s just as important to look at how we think about weight loss as it is how to lose weight. We’ll help you to understand how realistic goal setting and a positive mindset can help you stay motivated, giving you the best chance at reaching your goal weight.
Welcome to week 1 from the Lifestyle Medicine team.
‘Your “why” for weight loss’
Knowing why you want to lose weight has been found to be really important for successful weight loss (1). Focusing on your weight loss “why” helps you to maintain motivation to lose weight when you hit challenging days or weeks- or when the going gets tough.
Everyone will have a different reason to lose weight. Sometimes it's about your health, or fitting into an item of clothing that has become too tight. Maybe you want to enjoy being more active. The important thing is to really take the time to think about why losing weight is important to you, so much so that you're willing to give it your best shot and keep going when challenges arise.
Here at Boots Online Doctor, we advise you to engage with an emotionally charged reason, or “why”, for wanting your weight loss to be a success story. Write your “why” down, framed in positive language. To make this super simple, we have a free poster for you to download and complete with your “why”. Put it somewhere you'll see it everyday - so you can remind yourself of why you're changing your habits on a regular basis. The more often you repeat this positive message to yourself, the more it will stick. For example: “I will successfully lose weight so I can have the energy to run around with my children; I want to be the best parent I can be” or, “I will lose weight to feel increased confidence and I will put myself forward more at work” or, “I would like to look and feel great when I go to my graduation”
Setting a weight loss goal can increase your chances of successfully losing weight (2). When setting your goals, we recommend that you set a long term goal and write this down. We also recommend that you create some short term, smaller goals that are more easily achieved.
When you achieve your first small goal it's really important to celebrate your achievement. Celebrating your successes can create a sense of positivity and we know this helps keep you motivated on your weight loss journey, increasing the chances of you achieving your long term weight loss goal (3).
For example, if you're aiming to lose 3 stone in total, losing 3 stone is your long term goal. Now create a first step towards achieving this goal, a small achievable goal. We recommend that for long term achievable weight loss, aim to lose 1-2lbs or ½ to 1 kg a week, with or without medication. Based on this, your first short term goal could be to lose 7lbs (or half a stone) in the next 8 weeks.
Once you have worked out what your long term and short term smaller goals are, write them down and put them somewhere you'll see them as a regular reminder - this could be on the fridge or in a notebook. It can be helpful to share your goal with a friend or family member to keep you accountable. Is there someone you can share your goal with?
Welcome to week 1 episode 2 where we’ll talk about connecting with your personal reason for wanting to lose weight. In this episode we’ll take a look at your food and eating habits. It’s important to understand and become aware of these habits when you’re aiming to lose weight.
Take a moment to reflect on the behaviour or habits that have led to you gaining weight. This simple exercise is aimed at increasing the self awareness, not self judgement, of your habits that are not helping you in managing your weight. If you already know what habits have led you to gain weight, write these down so you can start making a plan to overcome them. We’ve listed some examples of unhelpful habits to help you think about what you might be doing, often on autopilot, that sabotages your weight loss goals. Have a read and then write down some habits that you recognise as contributing to your weight gain.
- Do you find that every time you stop to get petrol, you buy yourself a chocolate bar or a sugary fizzy drink?
- Do you get the munchies after dinner and spend the evening picking at food or snacks?
- Do you graze when you're watching television and lose track of how much you’ve eaten?
- Do you go back for second helpings even though you might not be hungry?
- Do you finish the food on your children’s plates so as not to “waste food”?
- What other habits can you think of? Write these down too.
Becoming aware of your habits, often things you do on autopilot, allows you to get a clearer picture of your patterns of behaviour. There are things that you may have been doing without thinking for years. Recognising these patterns is the first step in changing them. This means you can make a step-by-step plan to minimise the impact of these behaviours as you introduce some new healthy habits, which will support your long term weight loss.
Plan for success
- Meal planning
- Keep fewer snack foods in the house
- Prepare for long work days
- Celebrate yourself
- Be realistic with your expectations
Here are some tips that can help you to successfully lose weight; make a meal plan for the week and shop based on this; reduce the amount of snacks in the house - if you need them for other family members then put them in a separate cupboard that you don't have to use regularly.
Be prepared by taking healthy foods or snacks with you when you'll be out of the house or for any long working days; make sure you have made your lunch in advance or take some fruit and nuts as an easy snack to get you through the day. Once you've started making these new lifestyle habits, celebrate your success and give yourself a pat on the back. Feeling positive and acknowledging your success is an important step in your weight loss journey.
If you're taking weight loss medication try not to expect too much too soon. Ease yourself into taking the medication and follow our eating plans to make this a long term success. Take a couple of selfies as a record of “before” so that you can use this as something to refer back to for motivation to keep going on your weight loss journey.
Creating new healthy habits
- Using your free Food and Symptom Diary
- Look for patterns
Creating new habits is an important step in any health journey including weight loss. A good place to start is by identifying the habits you developed that contribute to weight gain (4). If you aren't sure what these are, try keeping a food diary for a few days. Write down everything you eat and drink - including the amounts. Keep a note of the time you eat or drink, as well as any reason other than feeling hungry that led to you eat. When you look back over these notes you'll see if there are any patterns or times where you’re more likely to snack or reach for some comfort food. This is designed to help you to learn about yourself, so you really don't have to share this with anyone, and the more honest and detailed you are, the more you'll get out of this process. It can be an empowering step in taking control of your health and making some lasting changes.
Thanks for watching this episode. Take some time to absorb what you’ve watched this week. Remember, you can always re-watch an episode or take notes. You'll find free downloads below that can also help you.
See you next time.
It's important to remember that weight loss is a journey. It rarely follows a straight line and for most people it doesn’t happen overnight. What's your motivation to lose weight? It might be because it’s important to you personally. For example, you want to feel healthier. Or, because it’s important for an external reason such as fitting into a new outfit for a special occasion. Research suggests that while external motivation can work for you in the short term, long term weight loss is most successful if you connect with your deeply personal reason(s), or your “why”, for wanting to lose weight. Really focusing on what really matters to you and making this your “why” will support your long term weight loss most successfully.
Medication can assist with weight loss, but it's not a magic wand. The lion’s share of the effort will need to come from you. You’ll need to put in place new eating patterns and habits that will help you to keep the weight off for good. This webinar series will help you to understand the behaviours and habits that have led to you being overweight and to take the action required to change these.
With this weekly program, the Lifestyle Medicine team aims to give you a clear strategy to follow, without any gimmicks or fads. Weight loss medication can help to motivate you by helping you see results in the short term. Use this to motivate you to make the changes to your lifestyle and the way you eat that will support further weight loss, help you create those new healthy habits and keep the weight off in the long term.
Weight loss generally happens in stages. There can be plateau phases where your body is adjusting to changes and your weight stays the same for a while (5). It’s vital that you understand that this is a normal part of the process and don’t lose heart. Continue with your new healthy choices throughout the plateau phases too, and you'll get the results in the long term.
If you’re using weight loss medication, consistency is key. Stop-starting can be hard on your body so we advise you to stay consistent through holidays and events as much as possible for the best outcome.
In the first few weeks of using a weight loss medication, steady weight loss is expected. On average around two pounds or one kilogram is a healthy weekly weight loss. Rapid weight loss is normally unsustainable and there is a risk your weight will rebound back up. You're more likely to maintain moderate and steady weight loss in the long term. If you need specific medication advice, please message us through your Boots Online Doctor patient record any time. You can read about side effects and how to manage these plus see the frequently asked questions section using the links below. Positive changes are possible with focus and patience. We are committed to supporting you to achieve your weight loss goals and to maintain your healthy weight for the long term. It’s important to keep up your motivation for the changes you're making throughout these phases. Remember why you're on this journey, use this “why” as your anchor.
Lifestyle Medicine Weekly Weight Loss Tracker
Use this tracker to help you monitor your weight changes. Ideally, weigh yourself every week at the same time of day, wearing similar clothes. Remember weight loss has ups and downs and is rarely a straight forward journey. There will be times of steady loss and times of plateau as your body adjusts.
- 1. Hall K, Kahan S. Maintenance of Lost Weight and Long-Term Management of Obesity. Medical Clinics of North America. 2018;102(1):183-197.
- 2. Avery, A., Langley‐Evans, S., Harrington, M. and Swift, J., 2016. Setting targets leads to greater long‐term weight losses and ‘unrealistic’ targets increase the effect in a large community‐based commercial weight management group. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 29(6), pp.687-696.
- 3. Carrillo A, Feig E, Harnedy L, Huffman J, Park E, Thorndike A et al. The role of positive psychological constructs in diet and eating behavior among people with metabolic syndrome: A qualitative study. Health Psychology Open. 2022;9(1):205510292110552.
- 4. Huttunen-Lenz M, Hansen S, Raben A, Westerterp-Plantenga M, Macdonald I, Stratton G, Swindell N, Martinez JA, Handjieva-Darlenska T, Poppitt SD, Silvestre MP, Fogelholm M, Jalo E, Brand-Miller J, Muirhead R, Larsen TM, Vestentoft PS, Handjiev S, Schlicht W. Forming new health behavior habits during weight loss maintenance-The PREVIEW study. Health Psychol. 2022 Aug;41(8):549-558. doi: 10.1037/hea0001182. Epub 2022 Jul 4. PMID: 35787141.
- 5. Sarwan G, Rehman A. Management Of Weight Loss Plateau. [Updated 2022 Oct 24]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from here
Meet Our Lifestyle Team
Dr Sam is a GP, yoga and nutritional therapist, writer and meditation teacher. She believes in taking a holistic approach to care and is joint Clinical Lead for Lifestyle Medicine with a focus on weight loss.
Ruth is a BANT Registered Nutritionist®, health and wellness coach and registered nurse. She is passionate about lifestyle medicine and supporting people to improve their health and quality of life.
Dr Sarah is a GP and trained physiotherapist. Joint Clinical Lead for Lifestyle Medicine, she’s committed to helping patients improve the quality of their health and wellbeing through positive lifestyle change.