By Cynthia Stamper Graff, co-author of The New Lean for Life (Harlequin Nonfiction)
Millions of Americans made a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight. Were you one of them? If you were, how are you doing?
Within weeks of the New Year, most resolutions are a distant memory. And there’s a good reason for that: doing nothing can often seem a lot easier than doing something. In fact, this “failure to launch” is much more common than you might imagine. Even though we say we want something–and we know it’s in our best interest–getting started can be challenging. There’s a quiet comfort in inertia, in the familiar, and in maintaining the status quo.
Or so it seems. Sure, getting started can be tough. But once you do, it’s easier to keep going. Momentum kicks in, and once you begin seeing results, the desire to continue making progress grows even stronger.
So, if you made a resolution to lose weight but didn’t actually get started, consider this a “do-over.” There’s no better day than today to begin your journey. Here are five success strategies that can help you transform your resolution into reality:
1. Declare a specific, realistic goal.
I think of goals as dreams with deadlines. The more specific your goal, the more likely you’ll be to achieve it. “I’d like to lose weight and feel healthier” may be a desire, but it’s not a goal. “I will lose 15 pounds by my birthday, and I will accomplish this goal by taking the following steps” is specific and measurable. Then list the steps you’re willing to take—and the changes you’re willing to make—to achieve your goal. This plan of action will be your roadmap to results.
2. Focus on what motivates you and write it down!
One reason we fall short of our goals is that we lose sight of why our goal was important to us in the first place. Focus on the benefits of achieving your goal by listing your top five reasons for wanting to lose weight on a note card, such as “I want to look great at my class reunion” or “I want to keep up with my grandkids.” Make copies of your card and put them wherever you’re likely to see them, such as on the dashboard of your car or your bathroom mirror.
3. Weigh yourself daily.
A daily weigh-in can motivate you by reinforcing the fact you’re making progress. It can also serve as a warning sign when you’re gaining weight and need to make dietary changes. It’s easier to manage slight weight gain than to discover you’ve gained 10 pounds since you last stepped on a scale.
4. Maintain a daily food diary.
Most of us underestimate how much we eat and overestimate our level of activity. That’s why it’s essential to write down every bite and every sip you take as you begin your diet. When a large meal in a popular restaurant can weigh in at 3,000 calories, it’s really easy to misjudge how many calories we’re actually consuming.
5. Monitor your level of activity.
An inexpensive pedometer that you clip on to your belt can be one of your most powerful allies in achieving a healthy weight. It provides subjective, valuable feedback regarding how active you are. Ten thousand steps a day is considered a minimum for good health. When I started wearing a pedometer more than 15 years ago, I considered myself fairly active, yet I was only logging about 4,000 steps a day. These days, I pace around my office while I’m on the phone, park farther away rather than circling for that “good spot,” and take 10-minute walks once or twice a day.
I have a friend who has completed every marathon he’s ever entered. His strategy is simple. Focus on the steps, he says, and the miles will take care of themselves. If you think about it, that strategy applies in many areas of life. Rather than being overwhelmed by the number of pounds you want to lose, focus instead on those small but significant decisions that will move you closer to your goal.
Good luck and remember that every step counts.
About The New Lean for Life
4 Phases to Keep It Off.
The Lean for Life program has been used for over 40 years in Lindora Clinics to help over 500,000 people lose millions of pounds.
Now this classic bestseller has been completely revised and updated based on groundbreaking new research about the brain’s role in weight loss. The New Lean for Life uses a revolutionary “smart carb” program coupled with powerful behavioral modification to shrink fat cells while stabilizing blood sugar, reducing inflammation and establishing new habits that will sustain a leaner, healthier you. The easy-to-follow daily plans anticipate your thoughts, needs and cravings before they hit so that you are sure to stay on track and succeed. Results are quick—you’ll experience rapid weight loss in just 4 weeks—and lasting. And best of all, you won’t feel hungry or deprived!
Now it’s your turn to join the Lean for Life movement.