Health

How to (Really) Lose Weight in 2009

| by Mitzi Dulan

Achieving your weight loss goals can happen. The good news is that it’s completely up to you. Most Americans want to lose weight but simply don’t want to put forth the effort to exercise and eat better.

It really comes down to one thing: making choices. Just as you talk to your kids about making good choices, you also make dozens of choices every single day that will affect your health, fitness and fitting room experiences in the months to come.

Delete your excuses and avoid blaming, complaining or justifying why you are not doing something--and just do it. Save yourself the energy and put it into lifting weights or going for a walk. I have heard it all and counseled some of the most successful CEOs, CFOs, venture capitalists, professional athletes, working moms and ultra-busy stay-at-home moms who do make their health a top priority. So the “I’m too busy” just doesn’t fly.

So what else can you do to avoid the common traps that prevent most people from sticking to their resolutions? Simple, you can understand and apply the “just a little bit” principle. In a nutshell, this means that if you consistently do “just a little bit” day after day, month after month, eventually you have created enough compound interest to feel and see very noticeable improvements.

Here are some additional tips to help you stay on track to achieve your weight loss goals this year:

Write Down Your Goals

If you are serious about losing weight in 2009, write it down. This is such an important step to successfully reach your weight loss goals. Just the act of writing down your goals makes a thought three-dimensional. You can write your goals in a journal or simply on a piece of paper. I prefer to always keep a composition notebook with me and write my ideas, goals, and notes. It is so nice to go back through and look at my goals, reflect and make new ones. I also suggest writing your goals in several places so that you see them on a daily basis which will make you more likely to take positive steps towards your goals. Be very specific and set a specific date that you want to achieve your goal. A sample goal could be: I want to lift weights four days a week for 30 minutes by February 11, 2009 or on the 1st of every month I am going to write family time into my calendar, and on those days I will not touch or even think about work.

Eat Less and Move More

These four words are pretty much the magic bullet for weight loss. Okay, so not really a magic bullet, but believe me, it works.

Log it

People who are most successful at losing weight and maintaining write it all down. Start writing down every morsel you put into your body on a daily basis. You would be surprised at the number of clients who tell me “I just don’t understand, I don’t eat that much and I’m not losing any weight”. Bottom line: You can be unconsciously eating hundreds of calories everyday and sabotaging your weight loss efforts. Let’s just say, eating the rest of your kids mac and cheese and being the family garbage disposal to avoid wasting food is the first habit to break. Writing it down makes it real and helps you stay accountable.

Say “Cheese”

Okay, you might think I’m crazy on this one but get out your digital camera, put on your swimsuit, and take a photo. Pictures don’t lie so you can get a reality check and it will be a great way to follow your progress. Take a picture each week and put it along with your food log and personal weight loss goals. Avoid overreacting or letting a two-pound weight gain on the scale discourage you. Lean muscle weighs more than fat and I’ve had many clients lose weight in cycles. You might not lose weight for 2-3 weeks and then in one week lose 4 pounds. A healthy goal for losing weight is aiming to lose 1-2 pounds a week.

Create a Successful Environment

Make it easier on yourself by creating an environment that will help you to be less tempted and make better choices.

-Keep fruits available and visible on your kitchen counter

-Keep bite-sized chocolate and a few other treats tucked away in the pantry and get rid of the rest of your junk food

-Keep a case of bottled water in your car and at home

-Have some healthy snack foods on hand (non-fat cottage cheese, almonds, dried fruit)

-Fill your refrigerator, freezer and pantry with nutrient-rich foods (fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains)

Start Good Habits Early

Be mindful that you are the best role model for your children and it is very important that your children see you exercise and make healthy eating choices for your family.

These tips should give you a great start but more importantly help you to understand the key to success is consistently doing “just a little bit.” Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. You didn’t gain the weight overnight and as Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, said “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

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