Losing weight is only half the battle. The key to keeping it off is to understand what really motivates you to be healthy. After the initial exhilaration of losing those first few pounds, you need to find a way to convert that enthusiasm into willpower. You’ll undoubtedly have low points and high points, but let your weight loss desire help you turn all that hard work into a permanent, healthier lifestyle.
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Ask Yourself Some Tough Questions. What gives you the strength to resist temptation? What causes you to give into temptation and how do you bounce back? Can you form new habits that you can live with forever? What are the rewards of weight loss for you? How much do you want those rewards?
Be Real. Losing 1 to 2 pounds a week is a very realistic goal. Don’t fool yourself with unrealistic expectations and quick weight loss schemes. Talk with your doctor to determine a healthy and realistic goal weight.
Tackle Weight Gain Before it Spirals Out of Control. You lose weight, get off track and before you know it you’re back to square one. What in the world happened?
Usually, what happens is you’re not consistent with monitoring your weight, so you don’t notice the gradual weight loss until it’s too late. To avoid this make sure you keep a consistent check on things, and put the brakes on any weight gain before it gets out of hand again. The more weight you allow yourself to put back on, the harder it will be to get back on track.
Stay Balanced. To maintain your weight, you must balance your intake of calories with the energy you burn. Just the difference of one can of soda day versus at least 30 minutes of brisk walking on most days can add or subtract about 10 pounds to your weight each year.
Step Up to the Pedometer Challenge. Wear a pedometer and find out how many steps you take each day. Gradually add just 250 steps per day averaged out over the week. That will give you a good start on a healthy routine of physical activity. Most sedentary adults take only 2,500 to 3,500 steps a day. Aim to add about 4,000 to 6,000 steps to whatever number of steps you are doing now, for a total of 10,000 or more each day. The more steps you take the better, so challenge yourself to do more than your best.
Shop Sensibly. Start your weight maintenance at the grocery store. Shop on a full stomach, use a list, read the labels on every food you buy, and don’t even look at food that is not part of your chosen eating plan.
Take Notes on Everything. As you plan your eating and exercise strategies, keep records. What types of foods are you eating and plan to eat? Keep record of what you eat as well as how many calories are in what you eat. As you lose weight, record which strategies work for you and which ones don’t. Review your notes regularly and change your strategies as needed.
Weigh Less. Don’t weight yourself every day; once a week or even every other day is enough. Weight fluctuates throughout the day and throughout the week, especially for women. Try measuring inches lost instead of pounds.
Plan Ahead as Much as Possible. Plan and cook your meals ahead of time whenever you can to avoid skipping meals or eating something that is not a part of your plan. Think of a strategy to keep you on track during the holidays, whether it is bringing your own dishes or limiting yourself to small portions. If you can stick to your plan most of the time, even if you stray once in a while, you will have success in the long run.