A more proactive, mindful approach to losing weight

Our eating and exercise routines largely determine the overall state of our health and figures. But what determines our eating habits? Dr. Howard Rankin, an expert on behavioral changes posits that many individuals think they can control their behavior more effectively than they actually can. However, various mental states such as stress and addiction can limit our conscious control over the choices we make.


So, how can we transform unhealthy habits, improving quality of life while simultaneously shedding weight? Here are some scientifically proven practices to help guide you on your way.


  • Monitoring what you’re doing. Research proves that keeping a daily log of what you eat increases the odds of success at losing weight. Writing down thoughts, feelings and any other information about where, when and what you were doing while eating is helpful.
  • Tracking your levels of physical activity. This includes how much you exercise, measuring activity while using a pedometer etc.
  • Eating regular meals. Skipping meals slows down your metabolism, making you more prone to binging.
  • Practicing ‘mindful’ eating. If you don’t pay attention to whether you are actually hungry when you eat, that can negatively impact your eating habits.
  • Understand habitual practices you associate with food. Often people link eating with certain emotional states or certain activities such as watching TV. Making progress in breaking these associations is also important.
  • Becoming more self-aware.  What are you feeling when you are snacking, overeating or choosing unhealthy foods? Are you actually hungry? If not, an alternative way to meet that need must be identified.


If you have tried various diets over the course of many years, and none have seemed to keep those extra kilos off, you should perhaps consider consulting with a psychologist. They can help you devise better coping strategies and plans in order to reassess and modify your eating habits. Losing weight is more about long-term lifestyle changes, rather than diets, which usually involve a fast track into weight-loss via some sort of caloric intake restriction or nutrient deprivation. The latter usually results in weight gain instead of a loss, in addition to having potential detrimental effects on the body.


So whether you’re considering trying Beyonce’s Master Cleanse (only drinking a concoction of water, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper) or going to give the Paleo Diet a try (eating only foods that would have been available to our Paleolithic ancestors), first consider giving a visit to the psychologist a try.






Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 3 Jan 2019
Medical Author: Dr. med.