Shaping is a behavioral technique in which you select a series of short-term goals that get closer and closer to the ultimate goal (e.g., an initial reduction of fat intake from 40 percent of calories to 35 percent of calories, and later to 30 percent). It is based on the concept that "nothing succeeds like success." Shaping uses two important behavioral principles: (1) consecutive goals that move you ahead in small steps are the best way to reach a distant point; and (2) consecutive rewards keep the overall effort invigorated.


"Women score slightly higher than men on people-pleasing measures," says Julie Exline, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Case Western Reserve University. That may be because guys are raised to be assertive while women are socialized to value relationships and "basically to be nicer," Exline explains. (Related: The #1 Myth About Emotional Eating Everyone Needs to Know About)
Until then, *assuming* your goal is fat loss, you only need whatever amount of cardio that’s needed to ensure the optimal deficit is created. So if you’re not making it happen through you’re diet (by eating less calories), you’ll need more cardio. But if you ARE making it happen through (or at least partially through) your diet, you’ll need less cardio, or even none whatsoever.
You don't really want dessert, but your friends are having some, and they're urging you to join them. So you give in and order a piece of tiramisu. Sorry to say it, but you've just committed sociotropy, aka people pleasing-a behavior that can make you gain weight. In a recent study, women and men who regularly experienced negative emotions like guilt, anxiety, and anger, and were impulsive and disorganized, tended to be heavier than those who were more even-keeled.
The plan promotes long-lasting, sustainable changes, and undoubtedly a bounty of research backs this up. In fact, one December 2013 study in the American Journal of Medicine shows that people following Weight Watchers were close to nine times more likely to lose 10 percent of their body weight, compared to people following a self-help diet plan. (20)
He hasn't let his busy schedule, however, get in the way of his goals. His latest target: Do his first unassisted pull-up. (He's expecting it to happen once he reaches 230 pounds.) "I'll probably cry tears of joy once I'm able to pull up my own body-weight unassisted," he says. He also has his eye on completing a 5K run, but those goals are still further down the road. For the time being, he's just taking things one day—and one workout—at a time.
Glued to your desk every day for eight hours or more? You need to take action, says Richard Atkinson, M.D., a clinical professor of pathology at Virginia Commonwealth University. Get up and walk around for five minutes at least once an hour. Take a stroll around the office. Go talk to a coworker rather than sending her an email. Pace back and forth while talking on the phone.
The plan promotes long-lasting, sustainable changes, and undoubtedly a bounty of research backs this up. In fact, one December 2013 study in the American Journal of Medicine shows that people following Weight Watchers were close to nine times more likely to lose 10 percent of their body weight, compared to people following a self-help diet plan. (20)
"When going out for fast food, I used to get the large-size value meal. Now, I satisfy a craving by ordering just one item: a small order of fries or a six-piece box of chicken nuggets. So far, I've shaved off 16 pounds in seven weeks, and I'm on track to being thinner than my high school self for my 10-year reunion later this year." —Miranda Jarrell, Birmingham, AL
Cancer, a very common and sometimes fatal cause of unexplained (idiopathic) weight loss. About one-third of unintentional weight loss cases are secondary to malignancy. Cancers to suspect in patients with unexplained weight loss include gastrointestinal, prostate, hepatobiliary (hepatocellular carcinoma, pancreatic cancer), ovarian, hematologic or lung malignancies.
He hasn't let his busy schedule, however, get in the way of his goals. His latest target: Do his first unassisted pull-up. (He's expecting it to happen once he reaches 230 pounds.) "I'll probably cry tears of joy once I'm able to pull up my own body-weight unassisted," he says. He also has his eye on completing a 5K run, but those goals are still further down the road. For the time being, he's just taking things one day—and one workout—at a time.
If you don’t have an established exercise routine, simply walking is the best first step toward weight loss. “Walking is a pretty good entry point for people,” says Gagliardi. This is particularly true if you have been out of the gym for a while and want to ease back into a workout routine. One small study published in The Journal of Exercise Nutrition & Biochemistry found that obese women who did a walking program for 50 to 70 minutes three days per week for 12 weeks significantly slashed their visceral fat compared to a sedentary control group.
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