Many individuals want to lose weight. That can be difficult, and keeping the weight off can be difficult. I have pursued an easier goal for many years — preventing myself from gaining weight. Did you know that adults tend to gain about a pound a year? That adds up over the decades of life. I have seen individuals gain 20-30 pounds in a year — enough that their clothes no longer fit. I set a maximum weight (169 pounds or 77.25 kgs) many years ago, and I have been successful in keeping to that. I have found it more difficult in recent years to do so, and I just read an article today about research showing that animals that live near humans, e.g., pets and research animals, have gained weight as a group over recent decades just as humans have. The researcher interpreted the findings as evidence that some environmental force (an organism?) is causing weight gain in humans and animals. However, at the moment, the only sure causes of weight gain are the number of calories going in and the number being burned up. I have usually found it easier and more fun to increase exercise than to restrict calorie consumption. For whatever reason I now need to do both, as I am about a pound over the maximum and have not been able to get “down to weight” by exercise alone. I need to reduce calories daily — I will try eliminating one fruit for lunch, leaving me with two rather than the usual three fruits. I will keep a daily chart of my fruit eating at lunch. I will also aim for 1.5 hours of exercise a day on average, and keep a daily record of that. I will weigh myself on the same scale once or twice a week. There — I have important elements of a self-control project: A measurable goal, a daily plan, self-monitoring of key behaviours and outcomes, and public announcement of the plan.
Associate Professor of Psychology