One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is losing weight. With more than 66 percent of adult Americans considered to be overweight or obese, more and more people are resolving to choose healthy lifestyle habits and reach a healthier weight. The key to successful weight loss is to stay focused and set reasonable goals that are reachable. You can shed extra pounds by following a few simple tips to help you stay on track with your weight loss efforts.
Set realistic goals
Setting unrealistic goals that are too big, too much, too hard, etc. can be so overwhelming that it can be too difficult to achieve. Take baby steps when setting up your weight loss goals. Gradually make small changes each week. You can achieve long-term weight loss success by incorporating smaller, realistic changes into your daily life. Here are some weekly goals to get you started.
Week One: Drink eight cups of water every day.
Week Two: Take the stairs at work instead of using the elevator.
Week Three: Drink unsweetened beverages, such as diet sodas, instead of sugary drinks.
Week Four: Eliminate or reduce fried foods from your daily diet.
Week Five: Eat at least one vegetarian meal each week.
Set the date
Leaving your time-line wide open can make you fall into the “I’ll start my diet tomorrow” routine. Set a completion date for each goal you want to reach and write it on the calendar. For example, let’s say you want to be able to walk two miles per day. By setting a completion date, such as by July, you will allow yourself time to work up to walking two miles, starting out with 10 minutes of walking and gradually adding 5, 10 or 15 more minutes each week until you reach your goal. This way you can pace yourself according to your goal instead of doing too much, too soon.
Keep a journal or food diary
Write down your goals, feelings and experiences regarding losing weight. in a journal or food diary. This can help inspire you and keep you motivated. Not only can you vent out your frustrations and emotions, but you can also keep track of your progress and problem areas. Review your comments weekly to determine why you overate, where did the mistakes happen and what you can do to change those bad habits. Keeping a journal will help you address a number of questions you may have.
Eat more fruits and vegetables
By including more fruits and vegetables in your diet, you may find yourself starting to eat less, which in turn will help you lose weight. The fiber that is found in fresh fruits and vegetables help you feel satiated, or full and satisfied, which can help you eat less food, less often. In addition, you will reap more health benefits by taking in more vitamins and minerals, which will help strengthen your immune system. If you start slowly and add some produce to every meal, you will have a better chance of making it a permanent habit towards a healthier lifestyle.
Rewarding yourself as you progress will help keep your momentum going. Set up your own reward system. Treat yourself to something special when you lose a certain number of pounds. If you enjoy reading, you could reward yourself with a new book when you lose five pounds. Buy a new dress when you lose 10 pounds, etc. Treat yourself to something really special whenever you reach a milestone of 25 or 50 pounds, such as a weekend getaway or a day at the spa. The rewards you set can be anything you want. Set up your rewards now so you can have something to look forward to as you reach your specific weight loss goals.
Losing weight can be a difficult process. However, you don’t have to do it alone. As a matter of fact, getting support from your friends and family can help you be more dedicated to accomplishing your goals. Tell them how they can help you stay on track. Share your goals with people and you just might find a weight loss buddy that will go through the weight loss process with you. This is a great way to keep your motivation going.
One day at a time
You didn’t gain all your weight at once, so don’t expect to lose your extra weight overnight. It will take some time to successfully lose those unwanted pounds. Fad diets that promise you can lose 30 pounds in 30 days just don’t work. Strive to lose one or two pounds per week as a realistic goal to reach. Take it one day at a time and you will have better chance to succeed.
Don’t give in
It is easy to overeat and not exercise during the holidays. If you do slip up, don’t get discouraged. Falling off the wagon doesn’t mean your weight loss goals are a lost cause. Giving in to an all-or-nothing way of thinking will create a vicious cycle of losing weight, gaining weight, losing, gaining, etc. which is not good for you or your body. You can’t judge your success by having “one bad day” or totally giving up because you “blew your diet”. Every time you fall off the wagon, make sure you get right back on it. You will feel better about yourself and you will see that reflected on the scale.
Stick to it
Your body changes over time, regardless of your diet and exercise efforts. It may be difficult to shape your body to the way it once was in your younger years. Instead of trying to get to a previous weight or size, strive for a new goal based on losing 10 percent of your current weight or losing one dress size within a three month period. You will be less likely to get discouraged and give up.
The best and safest way to lose weight is slow and steady. Aim to lose around one or two pounds per week. Any diet that helps you lose a lot more weight than that, may not be safe or healthy, and more than likely, the weight won’t stay off. It probably took you years to gain the weight, so you shouldn’t expect it to come off overnight. For more information and tips to help you with your New Year’s weight loss resolutions, go to Healthy Diet Guidelines.