Losing those weighty expectations

IT TOPS the new year's resolution list, but for many people their promise to lose weight is fast becoming a distant memory as unhealthy habits creep back in.

A survey by the Dietitians Association of Australia found that 42 per cent of women want to lose weight this year.

But most will break those new year's resolutions because of poor long-term planning.

Celebrity trainer Michelle Bridges said shedding unrealistic expectations was necessary for the couch potatoes who vowed to move it to lose it this year. "We tend to make these decisions when we are in an emotional state of mind, panicking about weight gain," she said. But an all-or-nothing mindset that often accompanies resolutions can hinder positive behaviour change because it doesn't account for setbacks or allow time to see results.

''Consistency is the key here," she said. "Research has proved that setting reasonable goals that span a long period of time is much more successful than rushing to an over-ambitious goal in a short period of time. When it comes to sticking to weight loss and fitness goals, our psychological state is of paramount importance.''

An experiment conducted at Stanford University looking at the effect of cognitive load on self-control suggested the prefrontal cortex can become overburdened with extra information, causing willpower to become weak.

The story Losing those weighty expectations first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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