- Take your journey one step at a time.
Healthy habits take time to become engraved in your daily routine. If you take too much on at once, you are more likely to become discouraged. If it’s too hard, it’s challenging to keep the momentum going. This is generally why New Year’s resolutions generally don’t last. How many of you have heard of this resolution, “I’m going to eat better, eat less, exercise more, get more sleep, and better manage my stress!” Instead, focus on one small specific goal at a time. For example, “I’m going to cut out soda this week.” Once you have accomplished this goal, add another, “I’m going to eat breakfast every morning.” Before you know it, you will be on your way to building the core habits that will be part of your daily routine and lead to real results.
- Be accountable to yourself.
Our ability to rationalize is very powerful but it can also sabotage us from reaching our goal. Try to make the world around you more concrete so the rationalization loses it’s power. Many studies support the usefulness of food tracking for the purpose of losing weight. Tracking your food brings more awareness to what you eat and when you eat. It’s easy to forget the grazing unless we consciously write it down so it’s hard to deny. When progress happens slowly, it’s hard to see the changes in our body. Consider putting on the same pants or skirt once a week during your journey so you can feel how different it fits. Or, pick up a hand weight that matches what you have lost and carry it around for a few minutes. Appreciate how much this weight has impacted your energy level (and your joints) by the end of the day. Making the abstract more concrete can help mark the progress you are making and help motivate you.
- Be prepared.
Preparation helps us avoid weight loss sabotage and control hunger. If you pack your meals and snacks the night before or over the weekend, you will find it easy to stick to your new diet. Without planning, you may skip your lunch and set yourself up for temptation as you drive by a fast food chain on your way home or overeat at dinnertime. Instead, set yourself up for success by preventing and preparing for the breakdowns that come with hunger. Take control of your hunger by having healthy foods and snacks readily available.
- Do not be embarrassed to be “picky.”
You should be proud to be mindful of what goes in your body. When going out to eat, don’t hesitate to ask the restaurant to make substitutions. You would be surprised that they are more than happy to accommodate your requests. Don’t forget that YOU are the customer and the server’s desire is to please YOU. So go ahead and substitute your side of mash potatoes for a salad.
- Learn to forgive yourself.
Everyone recognizes that all of us experience good days and bad days. However, feelings of guilt and shame on the bad days can sabotage your weight loss journey. For example, you may recognize: “Why did I have that cookie? I must be worthless and have no will power whatsoever. Because I had a cookie, when I really didn’t want to, I’ve ruined my future chances to get back on track and I am just doomed to fail. Because I gave into my temptation, I will always give into my temptations and I will never lose weight. As I go into lunch, might as well have a pizza instead of a salad, like I planned, since I’ve ruined it already with that cookie.” Studies show this black and white blanket interpretation or “throwing in the towel” attitude, is very common. One incident doesn’t define the future. Tomorrow is a new day and a new opportunity to get yourself back on track. So find some self compassion and recognize that it can lead to some positive results!
These five tips can surely help with your weight loss journey. However, the most important tip of all that is not listed is to believe in yourself. The mindset that you can embody your weight loss dreams, starts with shedding the negative beliefs inside us. Thoughts such as, “you don’t deserve it” or “you can’t do it”. These are thoughts that you would never tell your child or your loved ones, so why can say this to yourself? Believe in your capabilities, believe in the process, and believe in you! Empower yourself so you can make change happen.