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Weight Loss Mindset

Perseverance and confidence are key.

Woman with positive weight loss mindset

Weight loss mindset may be key to client success. Pay close attention to mindset when coaching clients who are trying to lose weight and who struggle with behavior-change issues. In a large-scale study of those who maintained their weight loss, the most successful individuals attributed their success to a mindset of perseverance and confidence, according to research published in Obesity, the journal of The Obesity Society (2022; 30 [3], 751–61).

“One of the most impressive findings was how weight-loss maintainers described perseverance in the face of setbacks,” said lead study author Suzanne Phelan, PhD, professor of kinesiology and public health at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. “Weight-loss maintainers saw setbacks as part of their successful journey. Setbacks were not described as failures. They were seen as a temporary interruption in their path. Many weight-loss maintainers described getting back on track at the next meal or the next day and measuring overall success based on long-term goals.”

The study included more than 6,000 member participants of WW (formerly Weight Watchers) who had lost more than 50 pounds on average and kept it off for more than 3 years. In response to open-ended questions, participants described their motivations, strategies and lifestyle changes. The study was funded by WW International Inc. and had student fellowship support from the William and Linda Frost Fund at California Polytechnic State.

See also: Be a Better Fitness Pro With Mindset Training

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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