You need to be in the right headspace before you can effectively tackle the task of initial weight loss. Although we tend to think a person develops confidence through mastering an ability — whether it be athletics, painting, or losing weight — researchers have found that it is the other way around: confident people tend to achieve success.
The Confidence Ruler presented below will help you rate your weight management confidence. Take a few minutes to answer the following questions using the ruler to guide you.
The Confidence Ruler
1. I can make the necessary changes to manage my weight.
2. I can eat healthier.
3. I can increase my physical activity.
4. Not only can I make changes to better manage my weight, but I can also maintain those changes.
For each of the statements, write down the factors that may be preventing you from scoring a 10. These are the areas in need of improvement.
Four tips for increasing your confidence
Increasing your confidence can boost your performance. However, weight control can be as hard as giving up smoking or another vice because it is easy to slip back into old habits. While you may have the skills and self-confidence to achieve weight loss, you need clear performance incentives to achieve success. Here are four tips to increasing your confidence.
1. Building on successes
Sports coaches build confidence by making sure everyone achieves initial success; only then do they increase the complexity of the training regimen. No one starts as an expert, so build on small successes and then push yourself a little further. As an example, you may want to work on flexibility. If one day you can reach your knees in a forward fold, then push a little harder each day until you can touch your ankles, then the floor, until you are finally flexible enough to get your palms flat on the floor.
2. Take a team approach
Inspiration comes from those who reached the goals you are hoping to achieve. People who have already achieved success can provide firsthand insights and tips on how they dealt with various challenges. Weight management groups are often successful because people achieve mastery through observing and modeling others. Belonging to a team of people with the same goal can help build the will to win. If joining a group is not practical for you, then find a mentor who successfully manages his or her weight.
3. Find a cheerleader
Charismatic friends or mentors can challenge and inspire us to achieve our goals. Find a person within your circle who is willing to be your cheerleader and provide support and encouragement.
4. Exude confidence
Fatigue and stress can affect your mood, lowering confidence levels. Sometimes just seeing someone who has been critical or demeaning in the past can send confidence plummeting. Although success or failure is perceived differently depending on your state of mind, simply altering your body position can increase confidence. Psychologists call this “embodied cognition” — if you stand taller, widen your chest, and put your chin up, you are decreasing production of the stress hormone cortisol and boosting the feel-good hormones.
Self-efficacy — another term for self-confidence — will rise as you master each small challenge along your journey. So, if you lack confidence now, don’t be disheartened — it is there to be nurtured and to grow with each step you take toward your desired weight.