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Are You Sick And Tired Of Battling The Bulge? 5 Behavior Change Strategies For Success

Behavior change strategies must be part of any diet plan. Otherwise, you’ll end up a yo-yo dieter. First, you lose weight. Then you gain weight. Lose it again and before you realize it, you have regained the weight plus more. Without behavior change, weight loss can be a vicious cycle.

What Happens To Your Weight Without Behavior Change?

If you are a yo-yo dieter, you do not need me to tell you what happens once you have reached your goal weight. However, it is worth repeating. In fact, weight gain and re-gain are very common. One to two-thirds of those very successful people who lose weight, regain it within 1 year.  And, from there almost all weight is regained within 5 years.

Possibly, weight gain happens overnight while you are sleeping. More realistically, you slide back into poor eating habits because you followed a diet and did not use behavior change as a part of your strategy.

Battle The Bulge With Behavior Change

You can’t just follow a diet blindly. The key is to find a sensible way of eating that fits your lifestyle. Winning the battle of the bulge means maintaining a realistic healthy weight forever.

One way of doing this is to make practical behavior changes. This, in turn, will help to optimize long term weight maintenance success with the diet of your choice. Otherwise, you are at risk of living on an eternal weight loss and emotional roller coaster.

Yo-yo dieting, defined as an 8-10 pound weight gain over a 5 year period significantly increases risks for heart disease, diabetes, and death! So what have you got to lose?

If weight-maintaining behaviors are substituted for weight gain behaviors, you will lose weight and keep it off. No more emotional ups and downs with every 5-pound change on the scale. Five pounds or five hundred pounds, it doesn’t matter. The weight-loss roller coaster is not healthy.

Regardless of the type of meal plan you follow, battling the bulge is much easier when you adopt healthy behavior changes. Therefore, I am suggesting that you try to incorporate these 5 behavior change strategies as part of a daily routine.

5 Behavior Change Strategies For Successful Weight Control

  1. Daily Accountability

Journal what you eat and drink. There are 3 valuable lessons in doing this. One, tracking what you eat provides insight into your ability to recall what you actually ate. Two, it increases your awareness of what and how much you eat in real-time. Three, it acts as a platform to help you analyze choices, feelings, and behaviors that support or sabotage your goals.

Stay on track. Set up a convenient way to track these important variables at any time of the day. Note your feelings about the foods you eat and how you feel after you eat them. Which foods make you feel full or just make you want to eat more?

This list may help get you started:

  • Was the food you ate worth it?
  • Were you stressed because you weren’t following your plan?
  • Were you soothed or stressed by your food choice?

Your notes will give you a better understanding of your relationship with food. This is the start of healthy behavior change.

If you followed your plan despite having a tough time, make a note of how it felt to do the right thing. On the other hand, if you’re not satisfied with your responses or outcomes, plan how you might do things differently for the next time.

  1. Create Your Own “Eat-To-Win” Behavior Strategies

Forget about what works for everyone else. Your behavior change plan should be personalized.  In order to create eat-to-win (ETW) behavior change strategies, use the journal as a way to identify challenges that are specific to you. For example, late-night munchies, working late nights, trigger foods.

A behavior change strategy for working late night is to replace chips and candy with sliced cucumber, and celery sticks Monday and Wednesday. Then eat hard-boiled eggs Tuesdays and Thursdays.

It can be any snack you choose, 1/2 an apple and an ounce of cheese or completely replace the unhealthy eating with an activity, maybe walk around the parking lot.

Behavior strategies must be specific. What are you going to change? How often? Specifically identify how you will ensure plan execution and success?

Dedication and commitment help reach your goal. However, if you fall off the wagon, do not give up. Just get back on track ASAP. If strategies do not work they need to be changed. Re-asses your strategies until you are able to follow your own ETW rules.

  1. Avoid Food Triggers

Typically, trigger foods are high in calories, sugar, salt, carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats. None of which will help you maintain an ideal weight.

One critical goal is to avoid out of control eating caused by trigger foods and situations that create an avalanche of eating. Thus, sabotage any healthy behavior change.

If the unthinkable happens and you are a victim to a trigger, track it in your journal.  Afterward,  eat lean protein and veggies for a few days to undo the damage. By eating foods that are nutrient-dense and cutting off the trigger source, cravings can be controlled.

There may be hurdles that impede your progress but whatever they are, let nothing get in the way of your ultimate success.


  1. Replace Food With Behavior Change Activities

Life seems to center around food. But it doesn’t have to. Select an enjoyable and relaxing activity as part of your day. It can be anything that has nothing to do with food.  And then, these pleasures can replace eating.

By doing this, you replace the cravings you feel from boredom or unhappiness with contentment.

You can start by making a “fun” to-do list as part of an ETW strategy. What do you enjoy? Consistently, bringing happiness into your life will positively affect your appetite.  So, move your body, read a book, dance, watch a comedy show, or whatever turns you on. Just do it. Replace food with a happy experience.

  1. Stay Positive And Supportive, Ditch The All-Or-Nothing Mindset

Behavior change starts with your mind. Stay positive. Because negativity will interfere with battling the bulge. One negative thought can instantly change behaviors from good to bad.

Use a “cheat” to renew focus, commitment, drive and above all fortitude. Your attitude is important to bouncing back from any deviation.


A positive attitude allows a cheat to be considered trial and error”. It acts to guide you. The information (the why, what where, how) is used to support your weight loss strategy and success, not defeat you.

For example, when you fall off the wagon and have an “all-or-nothing” mindset, all is lost. The fall infiltrates the day or even into the week. It gets you nowhere good.

However, if you do not throw in the towel over one snack or meal slip-up. And, you use the deviation to set up strategies to prevent the pitfall from occurring again, you win in the long run.

I know this sounds simple. Yet it is anything but easy. Even if it takes you a few times to get your head in-line with the plan, you are doing well.

Try to keep in mind, the old rule of thumb: If at first, you do not succeed, try, try again.

5 Behavior Change Strategies For Battling The Bulge Wrap up

Why be sick and tired battling the bulge? When you can be happy and love your body forever. Use behavior change strategies and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Yo-yo dieting is emotionally draining and can increase health risks. Combine these 5 strategies with a sensible eating plan. Being mindful of what you are eating, identifying food triggers,  analyzing eating trends, and practicing how to bounce back from slip-ups are all part of the ETW process. When you make practical food and behavior changes, you will achieve long-term weight maintenance.


About the author

Valerie Goldstein

Valerie raises the bar for health and nutrition know how with unconventional expertise and unconditional support for wellness.