Weight loss is a common goal for many, whether it’s for improving health or boosting self-esteem. In the UK, it’s one of the top New Year’s resolutions, with 43% making losing weight a goal for 2023. Other top resolutions include exercising more and improving the diet, contributing to weight loss and better health. However, it’s not easy to maintain this goal, especially when implemented. Adjusting one’s lifestyle requires a lot of perseverance and sacrifice; without resilience, it is easy to give up.Developing resilience is essential for achieving long-term success in weight loss. It involves building mental and emotional strength to overcome obstacles, setbacks, and temptations hindering your weight loss journey. To cultivate resilience for weight loss, here are some strategies:
Set realistic goals
When trying to lose weight, it can be easy to be ambitious and have high expectations. However, these extravagant goals can be challenging to achieve, and it’s easy to slip into a mindset of failure when you can’t reach them. Instead of pursuing unattainable achievements, establish achievable goals that align with your overall health and lifestyle and avoid drastic or unrealistic targets that can lead to discouragement and frustration.Instead of saying, “I want to lose weight,” set a specific goal, such as “I will lose five pounds by the end of the month." From there, you can create smaller goals like committing to eating five portions of various fruits and vegetables a day, which is the recommended amount for adults. Considering your lifestyle and preferences is also crucial. For instance, you can make it a goal to walk for 30 minutes every morning for three days a week instead of doing high-intensity workouts daily, which can be difficult to achieve if your body isn’t used to it. Setting realistic and attainable goals that won’t be a chore to commit to can help build resilience for weight loss and encourage you to keep going.
Find a community
Weight loss is not an easy thing to go through, especially on your own. It’s easy to lose drive without the right help. As such, communities can play a powerful role in helping individuals build resilience for weight loss by providing support, encouragement, and accountability. Being with like-minded people who share the same goals, struggles, and experiences can give a sense of belonging and understanding, allowing you to build resilience and motivation. They can hold you to your goals, encourage you when times are tough, and celebrate your wins and milestones, and you can offer the same help in turn.These communities can come from anywhere. They can be family members, friends, or neighbours who may also be looking to lose weight. Besides those close to you, you can seek weight loss workshops that specialise in providing guidance and support. You can search for “weight loss workshops near me” to find a group nearby that offers expert coaching, a tight-knit community, and weight loss guidance suited to your needs. These workshops are also flexible, working around your schedule and providing virtual options if you can’t make it in person.
Many weight, diet, or fitness perceptions or habits can stem from negative feelings about oneself. Shame and guilt can lead to poor behaviours that provide temporary relief but can eventually lead to even more shame and guilt, continuing the cycle. Behaviours like ‘overeating’ or ‘comfort eating’ may feel rewarding at first, and the thought of making adjustments like dieting can seem contradictory, depriving you of what you need.Rather than withhold yourself from your needs, practising self-compassion in your weight loss journey can help you find comfort in a healthy way without moving toward deprivation. Self-compassion can help you recognise your needs and make conscious choices to address them healthily. In the example of comfort eating, you don’t need to resolve it by restricting yourself from eating food you love. Rather, when you are kind to yourself and aware of this need for comfort, you can seek it out by doing activities that stimulate activity, improve mood, improve self-worth, or raise self-esteem. This allows you to lose weight without dieting restrictively and perpetuate negative feelings.
Being kind to yourself can help you build resilience in the face of internal struggles, helping you overcome negativity that's hindering progress.