This year, resolve to...
- Take it one day at a time.
Weight loss isn't about what you do on one day; it's about what you do today, the next day, and the day after that. Just like you didn't gain all of your extra weight in just a matter of days (it probably took years) it's going to take a while to take it off. Expecting big results in little time makes losing weight only that much harder. Forget that you've ever heard the fad diets that promise "Lose 30 pounds in 30 days!" -- it just won't work. Strive for a half a pound to two pounds lost a week. Take it one day... one pound... one meal... at a time and you'll be much more likely to succeed.
- Make realistic goals.
Remember my size 6 pipe dream? Few of us will ever fit into the size we wore when we were say, 15. It's just not feasible. With time, our bodies change and despite your best diet and exercise efforts, you may be unable to shape your body into what it once was. Instead of striving for a previously-held size or weight, create a new goal based on a 10% loss of your current weight, or, one dress size within three months. By making a more realistic initial goal, you will be less likely to become discouraged and give up. When you reach that first goal, you can then set a second... and a third, and so forth.
- Eat more fruits and veggies.
By simply adding more produce to your diet, you may find that you begin eating less and thereby lose weight without making any additional dietary changes. The fiber in produce helps keep you feeling full and satisfied which may help you eat less (and less often). Plus, you'll get the extra benefits of taking in additional vitamins and minerals for a strong immune system -- something we all need in the wintertime. Start out slow by adding a piece of produce to each meal and you'll be more likely to make it a lasting habit.
- Not give in to all-or-nothing thinking.
Repeat after me: One minor slip-up does not a weight loss failure make! I had a hard time with this one myself so I've truly learned by experience that no time is a good time to give up. Even if you've given in to overeating during the holidays and haven't moved a muscle, that doesn't make your weight loss goals a lost cause. Tomorrow, if you go to an all-you-can-eat buffet, that doesn't mean you should throw away all your fruits and veggies the day after. (Yes; I've done this type of thing!) Giving in to all-or-nothing thinking creates a vicious cycle of losing-gaining-losing that isn't good for anyone. Judging your success on the basis of "one bad day" or giving up entirely because you "blew your diet" today isn't taking into account the big picture. Every time you have a slip-up, get right back "on the wagon"; you'll feel better about yourself and your tenacity will be reflected on the scale.
- Keep a journal.
Keeping a journal - whether it be a detailed food diary or a simple journal about your feelings and experiences about losing weight -- is a vital part of staying motivated and inspired. Not only is it a way to vent your emotions and frustrations about losing weight, it is also a handy method for charting your progress and problem areas. Each week, take the time to review your previous entries. Where did the mistakes happen? Why did you overeat? What can you do to change your habits? Your journal will help you address many questions you may have otherwise left unanswered.
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