The process of resilience skill development is:
1. Recognizing the thoughts and emotions that automatically arrive in the aftermath of a SETBACK; thoughts that speak poorly about you and your ability to manage your weight.
2. Learning to challenge these thoughts is the process of generating resilience. You will discover how changing your thinking will help you recover from SETBACKS and maintain your motivation to adhere to your weight management efforts.
You may remember from earlier that adherence—the degree to which participants are able to maintain the changes they have made—is most strongly associated with weight loss and improved health. Resilience is a key skill in determining adherence. Again, like WANTING and restraint, the capacity to practice resilience is considered a variable trait and is highly heritable.
Another way to think of this is that SETBACKS can negatively affect adherence. The following are three common SETBACKS. When you read them, try to picture yourself in the immediate aftermath of each one, and imagine how you feel.
In the restraint module, you were invited to discover, challenge and ultimately change autopilot thoughts, also called ‘permission thoughts.’ In this module you will see an exact parallel. You will be invited to discover, challenge and ultimately change another set of automatic thoughts.
Remember that we have two thinking systems: one that is fast and automatic, and a second that is slow, deliberate and forward thinking. Here, the fast thinking Autopilot generates thoughts that come when you are in the aftermath of a SETBACK. Where do these thoughts come from? Why are they there?
These thoughts are the product of your past weight loss efforts (if you have not tried to lose weight in the past, these may not be present and may not be an obstacle). If past weight loss efforts have been challenging or numerous it is quite likely that you have developed a library of automatic thoughts that:
Speak poorly about you as a person
Speak poorly about your capacity to succeed in managing your weight
These negative thoughts use your past weight loss efforts and failures as evidence against you. The predominance of these thoughts will also be the consequence of genetics, the presence of depression or anxiety, and even of childhood experiences. In what follows you will learn the proven method of developing and strengthening resilience.