A Realistic Path to Weight Loss
By Nancy Adler
Health & Wellness
Originally published in The County Woman Magazine / January/February 2009
The New Year is a time for reflection, but also a time for goal setting. Year after year, we make empty promises to ourselves to lose the weight once and for all. We set lofty goals that are almost impossible to achieve. We simply want results and we want them fast! We want to look better, ditch our health problems and have more energy to get through all the things we try to fit into our busy days.
This year can be your chance to try refocusing your weight loss goals. Setting a goal to lose 100 pounds is probably not realistic for the average person. Instead, try narrowing down your weight loss goals to a specific percentage (i.e. something like 10% of your body weight). Include a goal of not eating after 6 p.m. and scheduling regular exercise. These are attainable New Years resolutions that you can follow and stick with. Once you begin to attain your goals, your self-esteem will increase and you can continue to plot your course toward permanent weight loss the sensible way!
Seek a professional
With so much nutritional advice, out there things can get confusing. Bad diets and wrong advice lead to people being overweight and disgusted. Sitting down with a nutritionist will finally give you that balance and structure to your life that you need to control your eating. Learning to make healthy choices is better than being on a diet that only sets us up for failure!
Draw a picture of yourself
Do not giggle, I am serious. This psychological exercise gets different parts of your brain involved in thinking about how you look right now. Try to draw the picture as accurately as you can. Then compare it to a photo of yourself. Your work of art may make you realize just what you really think about yourself.
Read the food labels
When you are drooling over your favorite junk food at the grocery store, motivation is often just one glance away. Read the label. Most of the time, the number of calories, fat grams, or sugar grams is enough to put you into shock, and suddenly, you are not so hungry anymore.
Reward yourself with new clothes
Not food! Clothes! Treat yourself every 10 pounds you lose. Every time you drop a size, you beam with pride. Clothing is not just a reward. It is highly motivating to see the smaller size on the tag!
Avoid people who discourage you
If you can avoid them, do it. If you cannot avoid them at least talk to them about how their attitudes are affecting your progress. It can be tough, especially when grandma is making you feel guilty about not eating a pound of her homemade cookies, but be firm. Standing up for yourself will give you new confidence that you can use to help you stay on track as you continue to meet your goals.
Communicating weekly with your nutritionist is vital to your success in reaching your goals. Keeping a food journal will help you learn how to make changes and will contain valuable information for your nutritionist in understanding your eating habits. Positive changes can be made, helping you to stay focused and on track for success.
What if we cannot achieve our life goals, but we hate the thought of quitting?
Think of quitting as a course of correction, and you will be able to forgive yourself easier than if you view quitting as failure. People who walk away from unproductive situations view this as a course of correction. They realize they are wasting their time on one path and will simply find a new and better way to use their skills and talents.
Embrace and accept your new lifestyle changes! Stop the doubt, love yourself.