So, you’re ready to give losing weight another try. Good for you! This time, though, instead of choosing a diet like your last one, are you open to trying a more healthy weight loss program? This may be your first attempt at losing weight without starvation, relying on supplements or focusing on one food or food group. You’ve tried other programs, but this one can be your last. You can do this!
Are you the kind of person who jumps in with both feet when starting anything? You know what I mean:
You decide to go on a diet. Of course you want to lose a lot of weight fast, so you join a program where all you do is drink four shakes a day (packed with all the nutrients you need!?) plus a salad with diet dressing for dinner. It’s a total of 800 calories and after a week you’re so light-headed and sick to your stomach you’re gonna throw up if you have to drink just one more.
You decide to take up hiking and even though you haven’t walked around the block in months, you hike so far up a mountain that you’re in pain and not sure you can make it back down.
You’re doing the Christmas baking. By the end of the day you have six dozen each of six types of cookies. That’s 432 cookies plus four loaves of cranberry bread and two pumpkin pies. For you and your husband.
On one hand, passion is fabulous. On the other, passion without reason is, well, insanity.
When you have a lot of weight to lose, you just want to get it done. Like climbing the mountain, you don’t care how hard it is or how painful, you’re willing to do anything to get the weight off.
This time, though, you need to approach your weight loss with a tortoise attitude. Slow and steady wins this race. It isn’t a matter of suffering through a grueling month and then, voila! success. You’ve tried and you know how that worked out. This time, you’re in it for the long run.
So how do you take a long-term approach? Here are three keys to keep in mind:
Key to Success 1: This time you’re laying a foundation
Are you ready to do it right this time?
You’ve tried to diet dozens of times and failed. This time, if you lay the foundation for a healthy lifestyle, you’ll learn which foods and exercise work for you and which don’t. By crafting a personal lifestyle that works for you, you can change your thoughts and attitudes around specific foods. When you start you may say, “Nope, not eating broccoli, no way!” but as you add more vegetables to your diet and learn new ways to fix them, you may be open to eating broccoli at least once a week.
Key to Success 2: This time you’re in it to learn as much as to lose
You’ve heard the saying, “Those who don’t learn from the past are destined to repeat it”
This is usually said in the context of world history, but your history is just as important. This time, don’t be afraid of the failures you experience. You often learn more from your failures than your successes. If When you fall off the apple cart, make a note of it in your journal and move on. If it happens at breakfast, don’t use it as an excuse to throw caution to the wind and eat everything that passes by you the rest of the day.
Key to Success 3: This time you’re changing your lifestyle
How many times have you gone off a diet and regained all the weight you lost, and more?
You may have to answer that question with a good guess. The fact is, you probably can’t answer specific questions about your diets and why they have failed. The easier the diet, the less you have to think about it. You just do what you’re told and expect the results the diet company has “promised.” (Be sure to read the fine print.)
This time you need to commit to being fully involved in your weight loss. Keeping a journal is a good way to begin creating a new lifestyle. Take notes about which foods keep you feeling full longer, how you feel after walking a mile or how you’re dealing with frustrations. For at least the first month write down everything you eat and how you were feeling. Were you so angry you ate a whole bag of chips or were you celebrating something with a salad and low-fat dressing? Keep track of who you were with. Do you always have the chocolate dessert when eating out with Karen?
Of course there’s a lot more to losing weight than I’ve addressed here. I will be writing a series of blog posts for the “Baby Steps Weight Loss Program.” In the meantime, get started, and keep in mind that this time is the last time!
To your success!
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