Some patients week after week feel the slowness of the process when it comes to weight loss. How do we keep our patients emotionally stimulated when they’ve “only” lost a pound or two?
Clinical Psychologist and SWLC educator Dr. David Engstrom weighs in on the topic.
To me, this has a great deal to do with how people view their accomplishments. The simple way to deal with this is to psychologically “reframe” this experience, so instead of thinking “this is a ridiculously small amount of my total weight,” a person could say to themselves “this is one pound I don’t have right now,” or “right now, I am 1 pound lighter.”
Too often, people look at the big picture every waking hour… “My goal is to lose 60 pounds, I have to do it,” When they stay so focused on that goal they lose sight of what a big deal it is to lose a pound!
I just recently spoke to a patient who said his goal was to lose 95 pounds. He had already lost 40 pounds but had hit a plateau, with no weight loss for 3 weeks. He stated that he had a new way of viewing his progress. His reframed mindset was the following: “I already achieved my first small goal of losing my first 40 pounds, and now my next small goal is to lose the remaining 55. I will handle this in the same way I did for the first 40, but look for small changes I might need to make in my eating or exercise.” That’s the key to success! Whether he was aware of it or not, he had broken down his big goal into several small plans. I think this helps to reduce the negativity that people can experience from a first small step.
From my perspective, I think weight loss success has much more to do with how people shape their daily plans, and how they choose to think about the small steps they have already made.