behaviour change goals weight loss

Successful Behavioral Strategies for Sustained Weight Loss

Gad Saad is an evolutionary psychologist And Professor of Marketing at Concordia University (Montreal, Canada). He’s written over 75+ scientific papers as well as writing for psychology today, and publishing several books.

He writes on a broad range of evolutionary psychology disciplines including consumer behaviour, marketing, advertising, psychology, medicine, and economics.

Gad recently shared some of the behavioural strategies he used to help him lose a large amount of weight.

I’ve organised these into 4 simple recommendations

1. Chunk Down Goals Into Small Wins

Perseverance is probably the most important aspect of sustained weight loss.

Take one day at a time, and persevere. The small wins add up over time into big wins. 

Don’t overly focus on the total weight loss goal. Instead, break it down into small manageable chunks or goals.

This is less overwhelming, and helps to keep motivation higher over the long run.

2. Be Specific With Behaviours

Be specific when it comes to your behavioural weight loss strategies.

For example, just saying “I’m going to try and eat less” is too vague, and doesn’t give a consistent reliable measure.

Here are some examples of more specific behavioural strategies:

“I won’t eat more than X calories per meal / day”

“I won’t eat after 7pm”

“I will only eat 3 meals a day with no snacks”

“I won’t drink alcohol all week, but will allow myself 2 drinks on a Friday”

3. Create Feedback Mechanisms

Create feedback mechanisms by measuring and tracking regularly. E.g weighing / measuring daily or weekly.

Failing to regularly measure and track progress is metaphorically like an ostrich burying it’s head in the sand.

Weight gain usually occurs gradually over a long period of time, and without regular monitoring it’s easy to ignore it, and avoid taking action.

Weighing & measuring regularly is a mechanism to intercept this process, and auto correct at more regular intervals.

This recommendation is also one of Layne Norton’s 5 evidenced based habit and behavioural strategies to lose weight that I wrote about previously.

4. Work Around Obstacles

On the weight loss journey, there will be obstacles, such as  injuries, emergencies, distractions, work changes, holidays, parties, etc. 

Cultivate a mindset that expects obstacles and works around them. Don’t allow obstacles to become excuses.

For Example:

With a shoulder injury, walk instead.

Having to work late, do a small workout in front of the TV before bed.

At a party where there will be lots of cake. Eat a large healthy meal before going.

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