Weight loss plans come in all shapes and sizes. Some are fad diets that are too restrictive to follow more than a couple of weeks, while others provide professional interaction with customized plans. All of them provide you guidelines on what you should and shouldn’t eat to ultimately reach your weight loss goals. No matter how many food plans you try, healthy or unhealthy, there are some fundamental things you must know in order to be successful in a weight loss program that, believe it or not, have nothing to do with food.
Readiness- Are you ready to make change in your life right now? How would you know? The reason many weight loss plans fail is because people are not truly emotionally ready for change. In order to have true lifelong weight loss you have to commit to trading your old habits in for a new lifestyle. This has more to do with readiness for change than a desire to shed pounds- there is a big difference.
Ask yourself a few questions. Are you ready to make permanent dietary changes for you and your family? Are you ready to start exercising regularly? Are you ready to defend your new lifestyle changes to those who are undermining your efforts? Don’t fret if you aren’t completely ready to dive into change. This is the stage to keep up the learning process by reading articles and gathering information. You will know when the time is right and that will be when you answer an unequivocal “Yes!” to the above questions.
Developing a vision- When I ask people what their goals are for a weight loss program the answer is always, “to lose weight of course”, or “to lose x amount of pounds”. It is crucial to have another more, heart-felt reason to lose weight other than losing pounds and appearance. This is because when times are tough, and they will be during any change process, you will need a heart-felt or internal reason to lose the weight to keep you motivated. Losing weight for appearance is ok but it is an external reason and will not help to keep you motivated for long.
Self Talk – is yours negative or positive? Unfortunately it’s true that we are our own worst critics and like hearing any critic it often leads us to failure because we believe the critic is right. Furthermore, we start to believe things are true that are absolutely not true. For instance, if a child is told they are a klutz from an early age they will likely always think they are a klutz. We believe what we are told repeatedly.
What do you tell yourself? One common statement I hear a lot of these days is, “I always fail at weight loss programs ”. This is a belief that you have set up from constant defeating self-talk and once you believe it then no doubt you will act it out. Your belief makes it your reality. So whenever you hear yourself say I can’t do something or any other self-defeating talk. Stop yourself and change the sentence to a positive. For example, “I realize that dieting has been a challenge for me in the past, but more and more I am making successful lifestyle changes and reaching my weight goals.” Keep working on your own positive reinforcement by being gentler with yourself and tell yourself all that you can do.
Be prepared for change- All weight loss programs require you to change a habit yet no one warns you about the process of change. The first thing to know is that the beginning of change is difficult and uncomfortable. This is because it forces you to get off autopilot and focus on your new behaviors. Luckily it takes about 21 days to make a new habit and the uncomfortable part goes away and your new habits become autopilot.
Changing habits is the difficult part. Start with small changes and build on them over time. You’ll find more success taking your time instead of leaping into the next program.