How I Lost 25 Pounds by Fostering My Own Behaviour Change – Part 1

Many websites and book store shelves are full of weight loss tips. But few if any provide weight loss tips that are rooted in the science of behavioural change. I have explored this topic and want to share my own success in the hope that it will help others.

For 25 years I have developed Community-Based Social Marketing (http://cbsm Programs to foster sustainable behaviours in others. I have had the pleasure of working across Canada, in the UK, in the Caribbean and in Australia (although in the latter only remotely, unfortunately). Topics I have addressed include waste management, pollution prevention, air quality, invasive species, species at risk, depression in Seniors, occupational health and safety, and many more.

One topic I had not tackled was my own health, and in particular, my fitness. But my doctor warned me last year that I was pre-diabetic (http://www NULL.joslin NULL.html). I realized that I once and for all had to get my weight under control and increase my fitness level.

Twenty-five years ago I was a runner. Not a speedster, but running 10 or 12 miles was not a big deal to me. I would do it once or twice a week. My longest run was 18 miles during training for a marathon, which I had to abort a few weeks before the race due to an injury. That was in 1997. Since then, my level of fitness decreased as my weight slowly increased.

Anyhow, tipping the scales at 218 pounds last year I knew I had to lose weight and get in better shape if I wanted to avoid diabetes. So I reviewed my attempts at dieting over the past 15 years, and considered the wide array of often conflicting weight loss tips I had read. I tried to see how I could get out of the 20 pound loss and 25 pound gain cycle trap.

Then it occurred to me. I needed a change in behaviour, one that was sustainable. And I thought, “Hey, I can get other people to change their behaviours. I need to use those the same tools taught to me by Doug McKenzie-Mohr again, but this time I need to use them on myself.” (Incidentally, Doug and I ran together back in the mid-90’s. At the time we were working together on some CBSM programs in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.)

So in November 2016 I undertook a classic CBSM approach to fostering new behaviours, this time in myself. The tools used included:

  • Research
  • Behaviour evaluation and choice
  • Baseline Measurement
  • Identification of barriers and motivators
  • Breaking down barriers and implementing motivators
  • Securing commitment
  • Prompts
  • Creation of Social Norms
  • Feedback
  • Measurement

I am still on the journey towards a loss of 40 pounds, to get under 180. But I have lost 25 and last month my doctor said all of my tests returned normal. I believe I have made enough of a change in behaviour, and have sustained it long enough, that I can call the CBSM program a success. I am confident I will reach my goal. One milestone is I will be running a 5K in just over 3 weeks from now. My last race was in 1997!

In the next few blog posts I will detail each of those steps mentioned above. My intent is to describe a successful case study, but also to perhaps show others that they too can change their own habits and behaviours through CBSM, should they see fit to do so. And to share some weight loss tips you won’t find in the many books and websites on the subject.