Plan in Small Steps to Achieve Big Things: A new way to approach weight loss

Eat less. Exercise more. Use willpower.

This is the usual advice handed out for weight loss. This simple advice may be true, but it doesn’t seem to work. 50-80% of dieters put the weight back on and of people resolving to lose weight on 1st January, only 8% make it to February.

So what gives? If the advice is true, why doesn’t it work? Why can’t people lose weight? Is it a lack of willpwer?

‘No. It’s a lack of planning tackling a big task’ says Dr Niall Aye Maung, Medical Director at Vala. ‘Even if you know everything you should be doing for a big goal like weight loss, trying to implement everything at once is just too overwhelming. People lose momentum and give up.’

To try and help maintain momentum for change Dr Aye Maung recommends an incremental approach. ‘I prefer patients to make continual small changes, and try to really to get comfortable with each change so they become a routine part of their life.’ Small changes are easier to put into practice and create less resistance. The more resistance, the more likely a patient will have to rely on willpower. Relying on willpower alone hasn't proven to be an effective technique.   

It all starts with goal setting and a baseline analysis. ‘It’s important for patients to understand where they are starting from and use it to identify the steps they will need to implement to reach their goal’. Effective planning in small steps reduces the time and effort, making it easier for patients to overcome big hurdles ‘David Katz MD talks about “Skillpower over Willpower”; effective planning means patients don’t have to rely on willpower alone’ explains Dr Aye Maung.

The 6-step framework is that method that Vala uses to structure a plan for weight loss. It takes techniques from behavioural psychology and fuses them with military planning.

Over the next few weeks the blog will go through each step and outline the methods and explain each stage in more detail. We’ll provide downloadable infographics that you can use to plan your strategy.

Start planning small to achieve big things.