Stick to your ‘healthy lifestyle’ guns

THE CONNECTION between poor diet, obesity, and cardiovascular disease is not one that is hard to trace. What is difficult, however, is changing one’s lifestyle to combat the dangers of heart disease. Attempting to undo a lifetime of poor diet and exercise choices requires real determination and willpower, two characteristics that aren’t necessarily the strong suits of those of us who say “yes” to second helpings and dessert more often than we say “no.” Conversely, a recent behavioral weight-loss interventional study may offer help to those looking to change their eating habits and lose weight to stick to their “healthy lifestyle” guns better than ever before.

The study divided participants into groups — those who frequently self-weighed themselves, those who sometimes self-weighed, and those who didn’t at all — and then measured the participants’ self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is defined as the strength of one’s belief in one’s own ability to complete a task or reach a goal. Essentially, self-efficacy is a measurement of a person’s ability to persist. In the study, self-efficacy related to how well the participants perceived they could control their own overeating in various situations.

The study found that those participants who self-weighed more than six days a week had a markedly higher self-efficacy rating in several areas than the two other groups. In short, the participants who weighed themselves many times a week were able to improve their own perception of their ability to stick to their healthier diet plans.

As in all things, our ability to believe in ourselves is of the utmost importance to our success; the lack of such self-confidence dooms many endeavors — dieting and exercise included — right from the beginning. While the researchers involved with the study contend that more research needs to be done, any strategy that increases self-efficacy when it comes to eating and choosing a healthy lifestyle is a strategy to be embraced.

This column is sponsored by Heart & Vascular Institute of Florida.



BIO: Dr. Irfan Siddiqui is a board-certified interventional cardiologist and a practicing physician at the Heart & Vascular Institute of Florida. He takes pride in taking an integrated approach for his patients to provide comprehensive, consistent care. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call (863) 42-HEART and ask to meet with Dr. Siddiqui.

Posted March 28, 2016

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