As a registered dietitian, one of the issues that I notice many of us face in the desire for health and weight loss is that many of us look for easy and quick solutions to achieve a preferred weight. Often times these effortless solutions are advertised quite well on the TV, radio or internet, making them hard to avoid and resist. In fact, some are advertisements for products or diets that are impossible to maintain or have no scientific backing to support them. The problem with these diets, weight loss pills or even weight loss gadgets is that results are hard to maintain, and if unsupervised, often can cause damage to ones health in the process. If your New Year’s resolution is to live healthier and lose weight the right way, this blog post is just for you.
In my opinion, one of the most important things to keep in mind when changing a lifestyle or starting a weight loss plan is to remember that this process should be looked at, as a “marathon”, not a “sprint”. This means that in most cases, you will encounter ups and downs, will need to practice your behavior, and take this process step by step to achieve your desired goal. The path to being able to keep the lost weight off, or maintain your newly developed health habits, should be built by setting realistic and specific goals which will help you move forward, yet not be too hard to achieve.
Get your fans on board
If you were actually running a marathon, wouldn’t you like your family and friends cheering you on or meeting you at the finish line?
Discuss your health and weight loss goals with those who impact your everyday life. Not only will you enjoy their encouragement, but will be surprised how long their support in your efforts goes. Sharing your efforts with them may get their support regarding certain tempting foods that you wish not to bring into your home, may get them “on the same page” when it comes to a healthy cooking style or may even to agree to a healthier choice of restaurants when dinning out.
Turn your efforts social
Making and accepting any kind of change can be a challenge. This is especially true when it comes to our eating habits. I do, however, find that making change with others makes the process a little easier. Take actions to maintain an active lifestyle by joining a physical activity you enjoy with a friend or partner, join weight loss support groups that meet on a regular basis, or even reach out online to individuals who share your efforts. In addition, make your shopping trip or cooking into a social affair and enjoy it.
The finish line
I used to hear others say “everyone is built in a different way” and be annoyed with that sentence. Regardless how hard it may be for us to accept this fact, it’s true. It is important to understand your body’s limitations going into a weight loss process, and understand that your body has a set point with which it is comfortable with that may be different than your best friend’s or your siblings’. Set a goal and set measurable objectives so you know when you have reached your goal. There is no better feeling than accomplishing something you worked hard for.
Keep yourself motivated and excited about the process
Often times I ask people who did not complete a weight loss plan, why they quit. Upon further analysis, I conclude that the plan wasn’t “working” anymore because they simply got bored with it. Since this is a common phenomenon, I believe in providing clients with tools on how to make healthier food choices as opposed to telling them what choices are better. Keep your plan interesting by trying new foods, cooking new recipes, participating in different physical activities, and acknowledge your accomplishments early on.
Starting a weight loss program may be easy, but the trick is to be able to stick to the plan. Remember that baby steps are key and that if you lose the weight too fast without changing your eating habits, most likely you will put all that weight back on just as fast. Use our tools to help you focus on your goal and you too, will reach your finish line.