9 Strategies to Lose Weight and Stop Dieting… Once and For All

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healthy-livingStruggling with excess weight? Whether you’ve recently gained a few pounds or chronic dieting is a regular way of life, here are nine strategies to lose weight and stop dieting… once and for all. Ready? Here we go:

1. Kick Your Sugar Habit. If I didn’t have thousands of clients who’ve done it (including myself), I wouldn’t be as convinced that this is the single greatest, most important gift you can give yourself for lasting weight loss, energy and health. Imagine your cravings gone, fat melting away, endless, steady energy and so much more. That’s what happens when you kick sugar to the curb.

2. Find Your Motivation. There’s a deeply personal reason why you want to get the weight off. Sure you want to look and feel better, but dig a little deeper and what you’ll find is the real motivation behind the attempts you’ve made in the past. Do you want a new relationship, confidence to change careers, energy to keep up with your kids? Identifying your “why,” writing it down, and reading it throughout the day can help keep you motivated and on track.

3. Identify Automatic and Habitual Behavior. We’re creatures of habit and the majority of things we do throughout the day prove it. Just try to brush your teeth differently, put on the other leg of your pants first, or change your morning routine and you’ll see what I mean. How does this apply to weight loss? It’s not in those giant leaps but in those small, seemingly insignificant daily habits we have that have been causing weight gain in the past. For example, do you have a habit of cleaning your plate, choosing addictive foods, standing while eating, or eating to wind down from your hectic day? The first step is identifying all of the habits that create weight gain then finding healthier strategies to create new ones that take you where you want to go.

4. Get Support. Creating new habits, taking a different approach, adopting a healthier mindset and more, can be tricky. That’s where support can help. Working with a coach (health coach, dietitian/nutritionist, trainer, etc.), having a like-minded buddy, keeping a food journal, or finding an in-person or virtual support group can help. The key with accountability is a combination of finding the right fit along with keeping it consistent. Find the people, resources and arrangement you need to get your job done and commit to it regularly for better results.

5. Go Public. Unsure if you’ll stay committed to your new, healthy habits? Tell people what you’re up to! Not only can it motivate others to join your mission, but you’ll think twice about falling off… and staying off track.

6. Make Your Space Work For You. Are you living or working in a messy, cluttered and disorganized space? Do your surroundings encourage a healthy way to think and act? Your environment needs to support your efforts, and a new way of thinking can be amplified with the right surroundings. It may be something as simple as this: when you end your day, you sit in that cozy chair with your bowl of chips. Just rearranging the room can shift that habit for you. Or, that messy, cluttered space just doesn’t make you feel good. A clean, uncluttered environment creates a better mood, which often leads to better choices.

7. Preplan. When you’ve preplanned your meals and snacks, you’re in control and aren’t at the mercy of what’s available when hunger strikes. Sure, it may take some extra thought and effort to plan what’s available or prepare a few healthy meals ahead of time, but the payoff is a greater sense of control and healthy habits that support your efforts. Isn’t that worth it?

8. Surround Yourself with Healthy People. Take a look at the people you’re spending your time with. Do they encourage a healthy way to think, act and behave or is your social circle filled with “food pushers” and “eating buddies”? Do they have habits that encourage or discourage healthy lifestyle habits? We become the people we spend the most time with, so when you’re trying to create lasting change, it’s important to be around others who support your efforts, or at least won’t try (consciously or subconsciously) to derail them.

9. Reframe Your Perspective. So often we look at weight loss as the things we’ll have to give up to reach our goal. We view it as deprivation, punishment and all the things we can’t have. But, look at all you’ve been giving up because of the way you look and feel? There’s probably a handful of foods that have such a tight grip on you that they’ve caused you to be unhappy for years, if not decades. To me, that’s the real loss and the real deprivation. Get those foods out of your life and embrace all you’ve been missing out on. It’s not about the foods you’re giving up, but all you have to gain once this perspective is embraced.

So are you ready to lose weight once and for all? Which strategy will you make YOUR next habit? I’d love to know, comment and share!

Photo from here, with thanks.

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    Paula is a highly qualified and experienced nutrition counselor on the staff at Village Green.
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March 2015
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