Successful weight loss is about so much more than making the right food choices and exercising regularly. These are the two keys, of course, but we often need to do a lot of work on ourselves to reach a point where we are making consistent decisions in favor of a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. There are a lot of landmines on our path to being thinner, healthier and happier. That is why so many people struggle to adopt changes that on the face of it are actually quite simple, since we have total control over what we put in our mouth and do with our body. We are our own worst enemy but there are strategies we can adopt that will help us succeed.
We will never get where we want to be unless we figure out exactly where that is. We often lament we are unhappy with certain aspects of our lives, but when we really take a hard look at everything, it is clear that we have given very little thought to what we actually do want to have, be, and achieve. Setting goals gives us something to focus on, it motivates us and it helps us get back on track when we inevitably falter sometimes. When it comes to weight loss, setting specific goals, both short and long-term will help you keep your eye on the prize. Short-term goals can get you through the day-to-day, such as aspiring to fit into a dress you outgrew a mere six months ago. Long-term goals, such as running a marathon, will help you in formulating true lifestyle change that will carry you from this point forward.
Remember that you are trying to produce lasting, permanent change, not drop a few pounds for your upcoming high school reunion. Think long-term. You will have your moments when you slip up; forgive yourself and resolve to do better next time, do not just throw in the towel and resign yourself to a life of being heavy and unhealthy because you had a bad day. You will have your moments of weakness, it is okay; you are only human. Do not beat yourself up too badly.
High stress levels is one the biggest dieting saboteurs. You are in a bad space mentally where you no longer care about being healthy and you soothe your nerves by stuffing your face with junk; it gives you a temporary emotional boost, but then the guilt and self-criticism set in. Many of us have complicated relationships with food and we use it to heal emotional wounds. If you do not find ways to manage stress that do not involve eating binges, you will never be able to successfully maintain a healthy weight.
Even before you have fully become the new you who eats healthy and exercise regularly, act as if you are already that person. Our inner dialogue has a powerful effect on our thoughts, beliefs and behaviors. Tell yourself you are already that thin person who eats right and exercises regularly. You may think you are lying to yourself but not really—you are simply molding the new you.
Getting super-clear on why you want to lose weight is vital. When you have clarity about what you want and the deepest reasons why you want it, you are more motivated to go after it. Find your reasons behind the reasons. If you want to be healthier, why? If you want to do more with your kids, why? Getting clear about what you want keeps you from settling for anything less.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who specializes in health and wellness content. Check out SlimXpress, a science-based eating program for weight loss in Glendale