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5 Guidelines on How to Reflect Effectively

Luuze’s philosophy is that you can lose weight using 3 steps:

  1. Track your progress (accurately)
  2. Get honest feedback about that progress
  3. Reflect on that feedback and make adjustments. 

This post discusses the third step: reflection. It can often be the most difficult step!

An Example of Great Reflection – Darla’s Journey

If you haven’t yet read Darla’s success story, I highly recommend you do: it’s a great example of how a person can struggle with weight loss to start, but if they can reflect on the challenges and successes, they can succeed. Darla’s trend weight gave her feedback on whether or not the things she was doing actually created weight loss for her. Her reflections allowed her to focus on the right things to actually lose weight and become successful.

darla's before and after
Darla, before and after Luuze.
Darla's chart - reflection to eventually succeed
Through reflection, Darla figured out the triggers that actually created successful weight loss for herself.

The Power of Reflection

Reflection is where the magic actually happens and where your damaged feedback loop (which is the root cause of weight gain) actually gets repaired.

When done right, this step leads you to permanent weight loss. Eureka moments can occur that totally change your outlook on how weight loss actually works for your unique self. These insights then can lead you to long-term success, because your skill of weight loss has now permanently improved.

When done wrong, feelings of frustration, stress, and even impacts on one’s mental health can occur. Too often people take the wrong conclusions from the feedback provided to them on their weight loss journey, causing undue grief or feelings of hopelessness.

This is why it’s important to do reflection right.

Although how a person reflects effectively is unique for each person, here are a few guidelines to consider to ensure that reflection moves you towards progress.

  1. Create a process for reflection
  2. Seek honest truth, but balance it with forgiveness
  3. Remember to reflect on the successes too
  4. Determine the next action that comes out from your reflection – the most important step!
  5. Reflect on your reflection process

Guideline #1: Create a Process for Reflection

Much like the other steps, reflection is most effective when done on a regular basis. Things get done on a regular basis when there is a consistent process to it. Consider setting a specific time aside to reflect on the day, whether it be immediately following your weigh-in, or just before you go to bed.

Some people have told me that they reflect by taking pictures of what they have eaten during the day and then looking at the photos in the evening. Others have told me that they write a brief diary at the end of the day.

For some people, the process doesn’t have to be difficult or detailed: Even just a brief sentence written in the notes section of every weigh-in in Luuze can be sufficient, or even just a mental reflection every day. For others, deeper reflection may be more beneficial. What’s important is that the process works for you, and allows you to gain insight and take action on a regular basis.

Guideline #2: Seek Honest Truth, Balanced with Forgiveness

The process of reflection can be scary. Sometimes, people hesitate to self-reflect because it can expose their weaknesses, mistakes, or failures. When these things are exposed, we can feel terrible and potentially beat ourselves up. Negative feelings like these generally don’t support us on our weight loss journey.

If we get these negative feelings, we may think that the truth is that we don’t have it in us, weight loss is impossible, or we’re failures. These are lies.

At the same time, the honest truth is that many people DO suck at weight loss… right now. That’s fine! Many people don’t actually understand their bodies and how it works, for various reasons. They are on the far left side of the weight control spectrum. That’s why we’re working on repairing the feedback loop!

The risk of reflection is that if a person is lacking confidence, it can bring about self-pity, or sadness. It can also reinforce ignorance as people’s egos attempt to protect themselves from their mistakes. They come to potentially incorrect inconclusions, either blaming themselves when they should be reflecting on the environmental factors that cause weight loss, or do the opposite and blame external factors when they should actually be focusing on themselves.

But the advantage of reflection when done right is that it can expose issues, internal or external. This exposure allows us to improve things for the next time around.

This is why it’s also important to balance the exposure of these setbacks with self-forgiveness. Setbacks are a natural part of every journey. In fact, setbacks are what make the story.

And because weight loss is a skill, the only way to actually improve is to actually make mistakes! Exposing why these setbacks happened is the very first step into discovering the problem, which in turn allows us to discover a solution.

I like to switch the perspective: the more setbacks you make, the more opportunities there are to repair your feedback loop and the more lessons you get to learn! Setbacks, as long as you learn from them, will actually accelerate the improvement of your weight loss skillset.

I would rather take three years to lose the weight I need to but learn all of the skills and techniques necessary to maintain my weight for the rest of my life, rather than lose all the weight I needed to in 6 months but have no idea how to maintain that new weight. It’s why many people who go on fad diets just regain the weight: they haven’t actually learned anything.

Guideline #3: Remember to Reflect on the Successes Too

Too often, people only reflect during periods when they encounter setbacks. Equally important is to reflect on the points where you are succeeding on your weight loss journey. This is why Luuze offers questions for reflection when you are doing well – these reflections may actually be even more important!

When you actually reflect on the things that have caused you success on your weight loss journey, you can reinforce these habits, which will lead you to further success. These reinforced habits then become a new lifestyle, which will create permanent weight loss.

If something is working, then figure out what it is and keep doing it!

Guideline #4: Determine the Next Action

Reflection is just one part of the equation. Actually acting on the conclusions of your reflections is the key step. Just like if a swimmer realizes that their stroke is incorrect, it isn’t just going to get fixed just by understanding it. The swimmer has to take actual action in adjusting their stroke. They may need to experiment with doing things in a way that they aren’t used to, or they may need to get further feedback on what they need to do next.

In the process of taking this actual action, they may actually end up swimming slower at first. This is the same with weight loss: the next action may actually end up creating what may feel like another setback. However, eventually, with enough experimentation and reflection, an improvement can occur.

Sometimes the act of reflection makes us feel like we’ve accomplished something, but it’s important to actually act on the reflections. If you find yourself struggling with this point, think smaller. Even the smallest action or adjustment can make all the difference! Here is a list of 17 ideas.

Guideline #5: Reflect on Your Reflection Process

When you reflect on your weight loss journey, how do you feel? Does the process motivate you to act? Or does it cause you to want to just give up and quit? If you act after you reflect, great. If you always get negative feelings or get feelings of self-sabotage, it’s important to reflect on why.

For many people, there are often a lot of emotions attached to the process of weight loss (and gain). The process can bring about anxiety and negative emotion. If the reflection process brings about feelings of self-hatred or anger every single time you do it, then it’s not a good process! Many people give up on weight loss because they think they have to be perfect. The truth is that almost every weight loss journey has plateaus and periods where weight gain occurs.

Because the process of effective reflection is critical in weight loss success, it may be worth reflecting on how to improve this process before focusing on weight loss. Once you find a process that is more positive and leads to effective action, that is when it may be worth continuing the journey.

Bonus Guideline: Reflect the Same Way You Solve Problems

Related to guideline #5, the process of reflection is really a process that helps you solve problems. If you looking to improve your ability to reflect, think to yourself: how do you usually solve problems? Do you solve them by writing things down, or by experimenting with new methods? Some people reflect alone, while others talk out their problems with a friend.

Think about the challenges you have overcome and the problems you have solved in the past. What external resources or internal skills did you use to solve them? Doing the same thing for weight loss can support weight loss success.

Reflection Supports Permanent Weight Loss

picture of a reflection of a tree

Losing weight and losing weight permanently are two very different things.

You can lose weight by eating fewer calories than you use. We all have done this at least one day in our lives, I’m sure. But to be able to do this day in and day out on a regular basis is the only thing that causes permanent weight loss. Doing this requires an understanding of WHY we eat more calories than we use. This is a question that can be difficult to answer, but once answered, can enable the control of our weight.

This is what reflection does. It allows us to dig deeper into the root cause of our challenges, which then allows us to address them, solving the problems for good. If you can develop an excellent reflection and adjustment process, then you’ll be will on your way to successful, permanent weight loss.

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