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Counseling & Psychological Services
Montana State University
P.O. Box 173180
Bozeman, MT 59717-3180

Tel: (406) 994-4531
Fax: (406) 994-2485
Location: 211 Swingle
> Counseling & Psychological Services
Counseling Services

Permanent Weight Control

Why Traditional Diets Fail

Research indicates that most diets fail in the long run. In fact, 98 percent of individuals who engage in commercial diet strategies will regain their weight within a year. To understand why most diets fail in the long run, consider the following components:
  • time limitations (diet for only two weeks)
  • strict calorie limits
  • prescribed menus or combinations of foods (foods are labeled as "bad" or "off limits")
  • focus on "willpower".

The above factors do not contribute to the learning of new behaviors, attitudes, or lifestyles. Permanent weight loss is achieved only by learning an entirely new lifestyle.

Changing Eating and Exercise Habits

Weight gain occurs when your caloric intake exceeds what you expend through exercise and basal metabolism. Therefore, to lose weight you must use up more calories than you take in. Losing weight solely by limiting food intake requires radical food restrictions and may be hazardous to your health. Exercise, in conjunction with decreasing caloric intake, helps burn up calories and provides other important benefits.

How to Lose Weight

Before beginning any exercise or weight loss program, consult your physician for possible precautions. A constant weight loss/weight gain cycle is unhealthy for your body, particularly your kidneys.

It is unrealistic to make changes you can't live with permanently. Don't eliminate foods you enjoy and be cautious of diets that are geared for rapid weight loss. When considering an exercise program, choose an activity that you enjoy. Remember that the emphasis is on permanent lifestyle change - those changes in eating and activity that you can maintain for the rest of your life.

Suggestions to Help the Process Along

  • Analyze your eating and exercise patterns. Do you overeat when bored, lonely, depressed, angry, frustrated, or tense? Do you act as your own worst enemy with statements such as "I've already gone over my calorie allotment, I may as well forget my goals today", or "I'll never be able to lose the weight I want"? Do you put off exercise indefinitely?
  • Avoid simple solutions such as "I won't eat between meals".
  • Turn self-defeating statements such as "I'll never lose weight" into self-helping statements such as "It will take time to lose weight".
  • Consider consulting a nutritionist in order to ensure that you are getting the required daily nutrients that your body needs".

For additional help, call the Counseling Center (994 4531).


View Text-only Version Text-only Updated: 12/17/08
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