Get Into Losing Weight
Positive Change – Eating and Activity Habits
by Vicki Handfield
Losing weight is one of the most difficult things to do in this life, especially at this time in history and in this country. We have advanced technologically and spend less time on physical activities and manual labor, so it is very easy to lead an inactive life. We also have so much prepared food available and many people rarely cook fresh foods these days.
Many have tried "diets" without long-term success because when it comes to losing weight, it is not just about what we eat, but also what we do (activity level). The best way to lose weight is to begin exercising first, then work on changing eating habits. If you choose to work on weight loss first, it will be more difficult, but it is still your choice.
So how do we get started?
First, write down what you eat. This helps identify your eating patterns. Often just the act of writing it down helps you make healthy choices. While some find it easier to write it down throughout the day (using a small notebook), others prefer to pick a time each day and write down their food intake for the previous 24 hours. Write down what you ate and the time you ate.
Second, identify your weaknesses. Most of us know what we tend to eat that we shouldn't eat so much of; but, writing it down helps identify it more completely. Again, the act of writing it down makes it more objective and helps you make better choices.
Third, identify the healthy foods you like and the healthy foods you might enjoy adding to your eating habits. Are there any foods you have heard of but haven't tried yet? These are important to include. Expanding your food horizons is helpful.
Eating "Forbidden" Foods Sometimes is OK
Too often, people ‘diet’ by excluding foods they enjoy. Too much exclusion means deprivation. Most often, if you go without these foods for a week or a month, and if you don't eat other foods you like, you return to the "forbidden" foods, and again eat too much. This creates guilt and puts weight back on, and then some.
Establish a plan, which includes realistic weekly goals. For women, this means losing a maximum of two pounds per week. Every month, include a week where you do not lose any weight or gain any weight. Losing weight this way means you will be able to keep it off in the long run.
Include in this plan a day in which you eat some of the "forbidden" foods you identified earlier. This is very important, because the ultimate goal is balanced eating. Over time, you will naturally eat less of these foods, but indulging sometimes is OK!
Finally, review your history of weight loss efforts. Most of us have done this before and we know our patterns. Take advantage of this knowledge and use it to craft a working plan. What I mean is, be on the lookout for the times in the past when the plan has failed, and create a way of preventing this, or recovering from it. Build in the knowledge that you aren't perfect, none of us are perfect! Allow yourself to stumble, but not fall.
To Get Started:
See Yourself in Your Goal Weight
Begin to see yourself at your goal weight. If you have photos of yourself at this weight, pull them out and display them at important locations, like a mirror in your bedroom, or the refrigerator. Develop your image of yourself as you want to be; imagine or recall the feelings of being trim, slender, comfortable. Begin to tell yourself you can do this, you can accomplish it, little by little. As you develop these images, see yourself eating less and enjoying yourself more. We will talk about your specific pictures and images.
Next, begin to choose your motivators and rewards. We all have things or experiences we wish we could have or do; these are things that are relatively simple and that we have control over, like going to the movies. This also emphasizes that we have choices, and that our choices are meaningful. We can choose to reward ourselves, or not, depending on our behavior choices prior to deciding. If you find that you can't be effective with these choices, perhaps someone in your life, a spouse or a friend, could help. This is especially true when you are getting started.
When choosing your rewards, make a list and designate what type of rewards you are considering. Some rewards could be linked to very short-term goals, like for a week's worth of positive behaviors; others could for be more long-term, larger goals. You could give yourself a nicer vacation, for example, for significant weight loss. It should be somewhere where you would be busy and active, without too much danger of putting a lot of weight back on.
Finally, when you have achieved your goal, we will identify times and situations where you may tend to gain weight in the future. We will make specific plans to deal with these situations to prevent returning to long-time tendencies to gain weight.
If you have questions about these tips or would like to know more about my 6 step plan to help with losing weight and for lasting life experience improvement, please let me know by contacting me and I will be glad to help you create the positive healthy, happy changes you want to make. As you make these changes, you will be pleasantly surprised at how powerful they are for you.