Before you can get started you need to decide to make it happen. This is what trips people up the most. Most people know that to lose weight; they should eat less and exercise more. However, its not what to do thats the issuebut how to do it. HOW do you eat less and exercise more?
By educating yourself and making sure you have all the proper behavioral tools, you can make positive changes and continue to improve your health day after day!
1. Plan Ahead: Without a plan, you wont know where youre trying to go. You may have all the information in the world; make the right food choices, increase your exercise intensity, etc, but if you dont plan your great intentions will go right out the window. Lets start with food and feeding your body what it needs. Is it low carb, low fat, or low calorie? And if it is low calories, how many calories do you need? These are all questions that can be determined by seeking out the help of a professional or searching the pages of ediets.com to determine the best bet for you.
2. Learn to Grocery Shop: This one is right in line with planning ahead. Your weight loss efforts really start before you make any meals in your house. They start at the grocery store and if you dont know what do look for, the secrets marketers use to sabotage your good faith efforts, and #1 rule for smart grocery shopping, youll struggle when faced with the 50,000 products that fill grocery store shelves. Need some assistance? Take the guesswork out of it and get on your way to permanent weight loss. Check out the Grocery Shopping Made Easy DVD (www.mohrresults.com) for tips, tools, and strategies to take with you for life!
3. Realize there is no magic bullet. Many folks become discouraged when beginning an exercise or weight loss program because they expect a magic bullet, or overnight success. But starting a simple exercise program or reading a diet book wont cure a 30 year ice cream or soda addiction. Small steps each day mean big changes in the long run; nothing will happen overnight and its important to continually encourage yourself. Unhealthy habits werent created overnight and they wont be changed overnight. You need to work towards improving your habits day after day.
4. Understand Motivation. Why do you want to lose weight? People often give very general reasons for wanting to lose weight, such as to look better, or to become healthier, etc. These reasons arent specific enough. If you ultimately want to change behavior, you need to dig a bit deeper so you can find something to really help you to commit. Lose weight, for example, is very general and is not likely to keep you motivated to continue for the long haul. Weight loss sounds good until Friday at 5 PM rolls around and its time for you and your friends or co-workers to go out and kick back after a long, hard week. Remember, you need to find the fire within, the motivation to drive you daily, to reach your goals.
5. Self-Monitor. One of the most valuable tools you have at your fingertips is to self-monitor behaviors. Self-monitoring is the observation and recording of a specific behavior. Self-monitoring can be as detailed as writing everything down regarding that behavior (i.e. specific details, date, time, location, emotions, etc) to as little as placing a checkmark on a calendar indicating that a desired behavior was achieved. Many times people are not aware of their own behaviors and self-monitoring can increase awareness. Self-monitoring can be useful to gather a baseline for behaviors or as an as needed measure when struggling. Try writing down everything you eat and drink day after day; this alone can help you achieve your weight loss goals.
6. Problem-Solve. A study conducted at the University of Florida showed that individuals who used behavior change and problem-solving strategies when losing weight did better at maintaining weight loss than those who merely used behavior change strategies. Problem solving requires identifying the real problem that is preventing you from reaching your goal. Next create possible strategies to overcoming the problem, based on your current lifestyle and likelihood of success. Choose one strategy to implement and evaluate its success at overcoming the barrier and work on this strategy daily until it becomes a habit.
It is important to recognize that not all strategies will be successful. Various strategies can be created to ultimately identify and correct a problem. Also remember that just because something works for one problem, does not mean it will work for every problem. Seek out the best solution for each problem you face. Long hours at work, social settings, traveling for business, etc.; each present different challenges to your weight loss efforts, and will require unique strategies. Be creative.
7. Work with a friend(s) or spouse. Social support has been shown to improve the ability to lose and maintain weight loss. Use this to your advantage. Get a group of friends, family members, or co-workers together to get on a plan and work towards a goal. Its much more likely that you make time for exercise if you know you are meeting other people; it is just another way to be held accountable. At the very least, get a friend to train with; this will help both of you when trying to push and break through to the next level.
8. Train like you mean it. Dont go through the motions when at the gym, on the track, or wherever you exercise. When youre in the gym, go hard or go home. If youre spending more than 60 seconds between sets, youre wasting time (remember, our goal is weight loss here). Just like step 1 suggests planning ahead for your nutrition program, you need to do the same with your training. Pick up a little spiral notebook and plan out your workout so you dont go into the gym blindly. Dont be afraid of the weights, but the combine them with some form of aerobic based exercise as well.
9. Learn to Read Food Labels. While this doesnt seem like rocket science, losing weight permanently requires an understanding of the proper portions of food and, not only that, but also the quality of the nutrients. First rule of thumb is that the nutrition information given is for ONE serving and the amount of this serving (e.g. ½ cup, 1 cup, etc) is listed at the top of the label. This is covered extensively in Grocery Shopping Made Easy DVD visually in the DVD and in the written booklet that accompanies each DVD because there is much more than can be written in this little article.
10. Eat Breakfast! Youve clearly heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? Well, if not its true! Not only has research shown that those who eat breakfast regularly consume higher levels of many nutrients, but it has also shown time and time again that those who eat breakfast daily have lower body fat levels and body weights! And, get this, youll be more physically and mentally alert all day! Sounds like a panacea to medont skip this important meal.
There are always going to be an endless amount of barriers to changing eating and exercise behaviors. But to be successful in any area of life, you need to step out of your comfort zone and have a change of mindset. Its very easy to stop at a fast food restaurant or order a pizza for dinner, instead of taking 10 or 20 minutes to prepare a healthy meal. But the time to make a change is now! Dont let another summer go by with you hoping you were in better shape.