Looking Within and Stimulus Control
Before we can actively make positive changes regarding weight loss, we must first recognize our trouble areas and learn stimulus control. In just three steps you can record and analyze your behavior followed by the implementation of stimulus control strategies
Step 1: Self-monitoring
The first step towards understanding your current behavior and moving towards weight loss is to monitor your relationship with food as well as general eating habits. Keep a daily journal about any food intake as well as the situation you found yourself eating in. Make sure to record any activities you were doing at the time and how you were feeling. The more detailed you are, the easier it will be to analyze possible habits and triggers.
Step 2: Analyze Your Behavior
After you have at least one week’s worth of data, try to uncover any unhealthy eating behaviors. For example, do you find yourself eating more when watching TV or when feeling stressed from work? The goal of this step is to find any external or internal factors that trigger unhealthy behaviors with eating.
Step 3: Fighting Unhealthy Habits
Stimulus control is an effective strategy for fighting unhealthy habits and supporting weight loss. There are three major strategies to help combat against unhealthy eating behaviors: separating a stimulus from eating (like not eating when watching TV), avoiding the stimulus entirely (don’t bring chips into the house), or change circumstances surrounding the cue (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute). In addition to these strategies, you can also make smaller changes like using smaller plates in order to make serving sizes seem larger or creating an eating schedule you abide by every day.
The holiday season is coming up and it can be hard to stay healthy and promote weight loss. But research shows that staying aware of your eating habits on a regular basis and establishing an eating schedule promotes long-term weight loss (Wing & Phelan, 2005).
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (n.d.). Best Way To Lose Weight. Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/behavior.htm
Wing, R. R., & Phelan, S. (2005, July 01). Long-term weight loss maintenance. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/82/1/222S/4863393