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The Importance of Self Discipline in Weight Loss

Weight loss is one of the most common reasons why people make the decision to adopt a healthier lifestyle and requires self-discipline.

Across the world, we are experiencing exponential growth in obesity, especially in developed countries. Although there are many factors contributing to obesity, the most common is the increase in sedentary lifestyles that lack physical activity.

Everyone knows the drill. Eat clean and exercise. However, losing weight requires both physical and mental discipline. You’re bound to fail if all you concentrate on is the physical aspect.

Losing weight and successfully keeping it off requires you to fight a very difficult psychological war between your desire to be healthy and your cravings for not-so-healthy foods.

What is self-discipline?

Generally, it refers to unfailing motivation and determination. In the history of mankind, discipline has never been more demanding.

In our ‘new normal’, all things are at our fingertips, from food delivery services to online shopping. Convenience has only contributed to the already poor rate of physical activity.

Self-discipline and weight loss often come hand-in-hand. Without one, you cannot have the other. Weight loss is one of the hardest things that requires motivation and self-discipline.

You’ll be plagued by hunger pangs, and it’s up to you to resist the temptation to satisfy them with convenient food deliveries or snacks.

The truth is, eating right and managing your daily routine have a lot to do with self-discipline. As a society where self-discipline lags behind indulgences, getting over the psychological speed bump of weight loss can often be difficult.

The Correlation between Self-Discipline and Weight Loss

As far as weight loss is concerned, self-discipline plays a crucial part in ensuring that the goals are being met.

In a study conducted by Crescioni et al., a test weight loss program was conducted on a group of participants over the course of 12 weeks1. The participants who had higher self-control weighed less at the end of the test period.

They also reported exercising more than their counterparts with lower self-control at baseline.

Independent of baseline differences, individuals high in dispositional self-control ate fewer calories overall and burned marginally more calories through exercise. According to the results of this study, self-control or self-discipline is indeed an important predictor of health behaviors.

Measuring Self-Discipline

A separate study conducted on overweight and obese individuals also showed the association between self-control and weight loss2.

By utilizing the Rotter score3 which measures self-control capability, the study found that despite having a stronger intention to lose weight. Obese individuals also exhibited a lower degree of self-control than normal-weight individuals. The study also showed that this lack of self-control is associated with poor eating and exercise behaviors, as well as increased BMI (Body Mass Index) and obesity risk.

Being able to implement this self-control and discipline is key to ensuring success in all aspects of our lives. Discipline allows us to achieve our goals by keeping us focused and warding off temptations.

Why then do so many people struggle to implement self-discipline to ensure sustainable weight loss?

Lack of Self-Discipline in Sustainable Weight Loss

More people are beginning to realize the benefits of adopting a healthy lifestyle, and are motivated to do so. Motivation does in fact tend to trigger a change. However, in order for the weight loss to be sustainable, these changes cannot be temporary.

Yet why can’t people simply ‘stop eating so much’ and ‘just get moving’ with ‘self-discipline’? Unfortunately, research has confirmed that there are 3 main reasons why dieters fail, despite their best efforts to remain disciplined.

1. Appetite increases rapidly with Dieting

Dieting makes people go hungry. According to a recent nutrition research journal, acute caloric restriction results in rapid changes in appetite, which leads to compensatory eating4. Once the diet was over, dieters ate 81% more calories than non-dieters.

“Compensatory eating” occurs when people get more hungry after dieting for a short period of time, and they enjoy their favorite foods more than before. This results in overeating, rather than lasting weight loss.

2. Exercise increases appetite rapidly

The same research study also showed that exercise can sabotage a diet. Exercise increases hunger and makes people eat more. Test subjects who exercised consumed more food after increasing their exercise because it gave a greater sense of pleasure and reward after exercise.

3. Stress increases appetite as well

Stress affects even the most disciplined dieters. It affects appetite in multiple ways, but it’s mainly due to a hormone called cortisol, which is released when we are stressed. Cortisol increases appetite, which often leads to what we know as ‘stress eating’.

On top of an increasing appetite, cortisol also influences which foods you choose to eat when you’re stressed. Cravings for foods that are high in fat, salt, and sugar are now heightened – and it has been proven to help dampen stress-related responses and emotions.

Putting a Stop to the Vicious Diet Cycle

If you’ve been on the quest to shed pounds for a long time, you might be aware that this common dieting experience has us living at the extremes. Diets swing wildly from on to off while we watch our weight fluctuate up and down. This dieting cycle seems to never stop, never finds a place of peace and moderation.

But how do we practice the right amount of self-discipline and ensure that:

  1. We’re losing weight
  2. Target the problem areas
  3. Keep the weight off?

The truth is that the diet cycle can be vicious. It is a cycle that ultimately leads you back to where you began. Sometimes, even further back from where you started. As you repeat this cycle a few more times, little by little, each cycle gets a bit more difficult.

Experiencing a period of starvation while dieting is an indicator to the body that it is in a poor, unpredictable environment. The body then, in this case, thinks that storing a bit more fuel for next time is probably a better idea6. Once you’re stuck in that cycle, it starts getting harder to lose weight or you regain more weight than you lost with the last cycle of dieting.

And as you grow more frustrated, you may start to feel out of control or doubt your own level of self-discipline. If you’re ready to end the diet cycle for good and get down to targeting these diet-resistant stubborn spots, here are some alternatives that you may consider.

Non-invasive Fat Removal Treatments

CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting is a non-invasive procedure that breaks down the fat cells through the cryolipolysis process. Unlike other types of fat reduction procedures, it does not require surgery or a laser. The extreme cold temperatures directly target fat cells without damaging the surrounding tissues.

The FDA has approved CoolSculpting for the treatment of a wide range of areas which include:

  • Abdomen
  • Arms
  • Inner Thighs
  • Outer Thighs
  • Waist
  • Muffin tops/ Love handles
  • Auxiliary fat/ Bra Fat
  • Submental Fat/ Double Chin Fat

It also has different applicators that are designed to target the different areas of the body as well as the varying volumes of fat. Find out more about the applicators here.

SculpSure

SculpSure also gets rid of fat cells, but it subjects them to heat to break them down instead. Fat cells are more sensitive to temperature fluctuations than surrounding tissues.

It then takes advantage of this by applying heat energy to disrupt fat cells without damaging the skin in the process. The fat cells are naturally removed from the body over the course of 3 months. SculpSure can be used to treat skin laxity as it is able to penetrate deep into the dermal layers of the skin to stimulate collagen production.

FDA-approved treatment areas for SculpSure include:

  • Chin
  • Arms
  • Chest
  • Abdomen
  • Flanks/Love handles
  • Inner thigh
  • Outer thigh

Conclusion

The lack of results from dieting and exercising might not be a reflection of a lack of self-discipline, but simply the body adapting to the diet cycle it is constantly being put through.

If you are frustrated by the never-ending battle with stubborn fat, schedule a body assessment today and design a customized body treatment plan based on your needs