The last time you went on vacation did you plan where you'd go, where you'd stay, how long trip would last, what you might do when there? Most of us follow a plan every day, even on days we do same thing as always, we still have a basic structure to our day. Why then do we attempt to lose weight without making a similar plan? How are we supposed to make progress if we simply hope for best and then go face world? It's no wonder we forget our resolve to eat better by 10 AM.
It's far easier to reach your destination with a map; therefore, here is your roadmap to permament weight loss. Follow these five steps, every day for one week. At end of week (say Sunday evening) take stock. How has week gone? Did you follow through? Did you make a plan and then follow your plan?
Make adjustments where necessary. That's whole point. When you discover a plan that really is workable, you'll be much more likely to work toward following through until that new plan becomes your new habit.
Each week decide if you'd like to follow steps for another week. It takes some discipline to follow-through, but anything worthwhile takes effort. Even lottery requires buying a ticket.
STEP 1: State What You Want to Achieve in Next Month
"I want to lose 50 pounds."
Is that achievable in next month? If not, break it down into smaller mini-goals. "I want to lose 5 pounds this month."
What other ways can you describe what you want? Try using other senses such as what you'll see, what you might hear (compliments, etc.) and what you will feel:
"I want to step on scale and see (a certain number) of pounds (remember keep it reasonable for something you can achieve in one month).
"I want to feel my pants getting looser."
"I want to see myself in mirror wearing last year's bathing suit and it fits."
"I want other people to notice my clothes are getting too big for me."
"I want to easily bend over and touch my toes."
"I want to get up from a seated position, easily and gracefully."
Those are positive goals. Focus on what you want. How you want to feel, what you want to experience. Imagine hearing these things, feeling these things. Does it "feel" right? Are there any issues that pop up regarding what you are imagining? If so, you'll be able to refine your goals as you progress.
STEP 2: Make A Plan
Get out your weekly calendar and start with eating less (portion control), eating more (healthier foods), or eating differently in some way. Obviously, you're going to need to make some changes but that doesn't mean you have to find latest fad diet to follow. Absolutely best thing is to look at how you eat now and see where you might make some changes.
Do you eat pizza every Friday night? What if you ate it only three Fridays a month? What if you stopped at one slice less than usual? I've noticed that Friday nights I can easily eat four slices yet Saturday leftovers one slice seems to be plenty. What's different is that Saturdays don't have "indulgence" atmosphere that I associate with Friday nights. Have you noticed anything similar in your eating habits?
Do you mindlessly snack out of bag of chips until they're all gone? Start to use some portion control. Take a small bowlful to your chair instead of whole bag. Decide in advance how many bowls you'll eat, and stick to your plan. Be reasonable. If you know it's going to take three bowls full of chips, fine. It's still probably less than eating whole bag, and later you can cut it back to two. One day you'll find a handful or two is plenty.
Gradually cutting back on quantity, gradually introducing other ideas such as an apple here and there, modifying what you prefer to eat is a far better approach than eliminating all your favorites. The former is a way to develop an eating style that works for you and that you can live with. The latter (fad diet approach) is fine for short-term weight loss but that weight inevidebly comes back simply because you'll eventually go back to eating style you prefer.
STEP 3: Consider Exercise
Adding regular exercise helps more than anything else because more active you become more calories you burn, and if you build muscle, more calories you'll burn at rest. What, when, how often? Do you need equipment, books, tapes or can you just get started and gather other ingredients as you go?
Write it all out. Your plan should include which days of week and at what time. Don't make mistake of trying to decide you'll exercise every day. You're not likely to stick to a plan that doesn't have build-in off days. Make it easy at first. You can always add more later.
Hate to exercise? Think outside box. Exercise does not have to mean getting sweaty to oldies. It can be gardening, bike riding, it can be enjoying nature. Anything where you're up and doing something other than sitting watching TV, unless of course you're using DDR (Dance, Dance, Revolution) or new Yourself!Fitness program for X-box, PC and PlayStation. Dance, play, go fishing. Whatever floats your boat but get out and get busy.
STEP 4: Decide Whether Your Plan Is Workable For You
Take a look at your plan and decide whether it's possible. If not, make changes until it is.
Start by listing each individually what you want to achieve, and then answering question of how you will achieve it?
1. I want to eat less quantity. I'd achieve it by having half or three-quarters of amount I usually have. See if that is sufficient. Keep a food diary for one week, religiously writing down everything that goes in my mouth.
2. I want to eat more, healthier foods. I'll achieve this by adding more fruits and vegetables for snacks, so when I'm hungry, or think I'm hungry, I'll have an apple or some carrots. This has added benefit of more nutrition.
3. I want to eat in a different manner. I'd achieve this by pay more attention while eating. Turn off distractions. Think of each bite as a separate event. Write down what I'm tasting and see what I notice now that I never noticed before? Different smells, sights, textures, and subtle tastes. I'll make an effort to really chew each bite at least 10 times.