Six Weight Loss Tips to Get Off the Diet Roller Coaster in 2010
Losing weight and keeping it off is a favorite topic of conversation at this time of year. Weight loss and getting in shape top the list of New Year’s Resolutions! While we rush around enjoying the holiday’s festivities, we are already thinking about the diet we will begin come January 2nd. There’s one big problem – diets don’t work.
Family, friends and the media talk about the new diet that promises success, the pill, tea, or shake that burns fat, or the newest exercise trend that is supposed to burn more calories than any other. It is a topic often charged with emotion, and leaves many feeling confused and frustrated. The thought of trying once again to lose weight is depressing and exhausting. However, once you really make up your mind to focus both your heart and head, the science behind weight loss is really not that complicated. You need to eat less and move more. See if any of these tips can energize you to kick the quick fix approach and finally get real about losing weight.
1. Stop dieting. If you want to lose weight permanently, you need to stop the on, off again, diet roller coaster. Stop searching for the newest, latest and greatest diet fad. Think healthy, not thin. When you begin eating healthy foods, and minimizing junk, not only do you feel better, but also the weight usually takes care of itself.
2. Find the food plan that works for you. No diet or exercise plan works for everyone, and there are no "magic bullets" or quick fixes. When successful weight maintainers are asked which food plans work best, most say they created the plan they could live with. For some that might mean focusing on smaller portions, for others eating six small meals a day, while still others eliminate all refined sugars and white flour. The bottom line is, if you eat less and move more, the weight comes off. Only you can determine the food and exercise plan that keeps you feeling satisfied and healthy, and brings results.
3. Overcome your barriers to exercise. Not only do studies show that exercise increases the likelihood of weight loss, but a critical difference between maintainers and those that regain lost weight, is their commitment to exercise. Experiment with different ways to exercise, and find what is enjoyable for you. If you do not like health clubs, invest in home exercise equipment or videos. If classes are not your thing, try sports clubs such as biking or hiking groups. Rediscover the activities you enjoyed as a kid. Ice skating, dancing, or joining an adult soccer or volleyball league, are all great ways to build exercise into your life.
4. Add more activity to your daily life. Remote controls, on-line shopping, video games, cordless phones, and so much more modern technology allows us to move less and still accomplish what we need to. The result is we burn less calories than our parents and grandparents, and it is going to be even less for our children. Deliberately finding ways to add more activity to your daily life can really make a difference in the total number of calories you can burn every day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car further from the entrance, walk to your co-workers office rather than emailing, take a walk after dinner rather than watching TV. The choices are as vast as your imagination.
5. Be good to yourself. You are a wonderful person with many attributes, talents, and gifts to offer the world. You are not the number on the scale. Weight is just one area with which you feel challenged. Do not wait until you lose weight to show the world your beauty, and to nurture yourself. Taking care of yourself makes you feel better emotionally and builds self-esteem. Dress the best you can no matter what weight you are at, get a fashionable hairstyle, treat yourself to a massage for every five pounds you lose.
6. Enlist the help of professionals if you need it. If you know in your heart of hearts, that you are doing everything possible, and you still cannot lose or maintain your weight, see your doctor. Not often, but sometimes there is a medical reason for weight gain. If you are really not sure what constitutes a healthy diet, a few sessions with a registered dietitian or a great nutrition book can give you the information you need. When your exercise program is not getting you the results you want, a consultation with a fitness professional or working with a personal trainer may be the answer. And if it is motivation, self-sabotage, lack of support, or just feeling overwhelmed by the whole process, a wellness coach can guide you to create the vision and plan that will work for you.
So the next time you find yourself amongst friends and the discussion turns to weight loss, surprise them all. Tell them you have decided to never go on another diet, and you have never had such great success!
-Ellen G. Goldman, M.Ed.