1. Focussing on Weight Loss rather than Total Health Management:
Effective Total Health Management is a marathon, not a sprint. People commonly make the mistake of focussing solely upon weight loss (which, in the scheme of things, is the easy part); yet they fail to plan for the long term sustainable future. This is the biggest problem in my experience.
With proper goal setting and planning strategies, the mindset can be refocussed towards the long term, rather than the immediate quick fix results, which often back-fire in the long-term (ie: weight gain / cyclical dieting / yo-yo’ing).
2. Failure to Acknowledge the Interaction between Thoughts/Feelings/Behaviours & Recognising Unhelpful Thinking Styles:
Our thoughts influence the way we feel and how we respond to situations around us. However, because we are not usually aware of our thoughts, we may not realise how much they actually influence our feelings and behaviours.
When we react to a situation, it’s not usually the situation that makes us feel the way we do, but rather, the way we perceive, or think about the situation.
Thoughts are neither right nor wrong or good or bad…. They are however, either helpful or harmful (unhelpful).
Common unhelpful thinking styles include:
- All-or-Nothing or Black-and-White Thinking,
- Jumping to Conclusions,
- Emotional Reasoning,
- Disqualifying the Positive,
- Magnification, Catastrophising & Minimisation,
- Shoulding & Musting,
Unhelpful thinking styles, as well as biased expectations and negative self-evaluations, affect our attitudes about exercise and fitness, food and nutrition and weight and shape. Everyone thinks in these ways from time to time, but if these thinking styles become too frequent, it’s possible that they can result in an increase in negative feelings, which can in turn reinforce the health management challenges. They can even lead to disorders such as depression and anxiety.
With appropriate coaching, clients can learn to approach long term sustainable total health management more effectively by recognising and limiting their self-sabotaging thoughts.
3. Failure to Set Goals & Stringently Plan
Like any other important project (workplace or home), effective total health management doesn’t just miraculously happen all by itself (although it’d make life so much easier if it did)!! Good health simply doesn’t ‘self-manage’ for the majority of us! We cannot take a laissez faire approach if we want to achieve success. We need to be diligent in our managerial ‘responsibilities’ and appropriately plan & ‘project manage’ our health for the long term. Setting goals, planning, creating contingencies, analysing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threat, are all critical success factors when establishing and sustaining long term, health management habits.
4. Relying Upon Willpower rather than Habit
Willpower can only sustain us for a finite period of time. Burnout will eventually follow. When people rely upon willpower, it’s just one more ball to juggle…. & when we already have so many other balls to juggle, it’s usually the one that makes us feel most deprived (from limiting food as a short term quick-fix), that is the first one to be dropped.
Focussing on a system and process of habit re-formation rather than the commonly used ‘willpower’ to achieve a short-term outcome is a far more effective strategy for long term, sustainable total health management.