People are motivated to change through their ability to manage their own behaviors.
Different strategies are needed to offer individualized guidance. We have to raise awareness, give information, provide dietary guidelines, correct misinformation, encourage clients to visualize themselves in a healthier lifestyle, substitue positive behavior for unhealthy ones, identify barriers to success, support a strong sense of self-efficacy.
The patients are responsible for making changes. The goal is to increase intrinsic motivation to that patients were able to express the rationale for the changes. These consepts are important to consider in faciltating dietary changes:
- Think wellness not weight loss. Do you only make good food choices when you are trying to lose weight? This could lead to rebound weight gain if you go back to your old habits once you’ve reached your goal. You have to eat every day, so why not eat better every day?
- Eliminating your favorite foods will just make you want them more. Find a way to limit your intake (in portion or frequency) to avoid feelings of deprivation.
- Set realistic goals for diet success - the first step to maintaining your mojo should take place before you cut a single calorie. Setting smaller, attainable benchmarks, like losing 5 pounds or a single dress size, will give you the confidence to continue.
- Diet success entails making real lifestyle changes, and that doesn't happen overnight. If you cut back 200 calories a day, you won't even realize it and the weight will come off and stay off. If you keep in mind that optimal weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds a week, you'll be less frustrated.
- One of the biggest diet motivation-busters is the dreaded weight loss plateau. You've been doing everything right, exercising and eating well, and the numbers on the scale have been steadily dropping. The scale stays stuck for several days in a row. This is a natural part of the weight loss process. When you hit the plateau, you may want to try something slightly different to jump-start your diet. Commit yourself to expending an extra 100 calories a day with walking, for instance. A few minor adjustments and you'll soon be back on course.
- Dieting is hard work - and it's not always a whole lot of fun. Small rewards can provide an incentive to keep going. But make sure your rewards are not food-related. Your reward could be a massage, a round of golf, a new pair of jeans, or a hot bubble bath.
- For many people, losing weight is far easier than keeping it off. It's important to remember that healthy eating is a lifelong goal, not a one-time project.