Your life today is simply a sum of your habits. The things that you repeatedly do is what forms the person you are including your health. If your life is full of good habits, then you are probably in good health but if your life is full of bad habits then your health is probably suffering. Being successful with long term weight loss requires permanent change in habits and behaviors. The things you do to lose weight are the same things you have to do to keep it off. Once you lose the weight if you go back to your old lifestyle that was full of bad habits you will for sure gain all your weight back. However, long term weight loss is more about consistency that perfection! You don’t have to be perfect 100% of the time but you do have to be consistent most of time. Consistently making healthy food choices, including activity, fasting, and tracking. Therefore, finding those good habits that fit your lifestyle is important and those can be different for all of us!
Lifestyle changes are a process that take time and require support. Once you’re ready to make a change, the difficult part is committing and following through. The biggest mistake is trying to do it all at once! Try setting small goals and taking things one step at a time. Consider these tips to help you get started!
Make a plan that will stick. Your plan is a map that will guide you on this journey of permanent change. Begin by listing 4-6 behaviors that you need to change. For example, I need to drink more water and less soda, I need to exercise more, I need to eat out less, etc. Once you have listed all the things you want to change, put them in order from easiest to hardest.
Start small. After you've identified realistic short-term and long-term goals, break down your goals into small, manageable steps that are specifically defined and can be measured. Start with your easiest change and focus on that one thing for a week or two. If that goal is I need to drink 64 oz of water a day, then break it down into a more manageable goal to start with. Maybe aim for 20 oz of water a day the first few days, then increase it to 40 oz for a few days and then to 64 oz. Trying to change it all at once will set you up for failure. Focus on smaller goals to start with.
Change one behavior at a time. Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time, so replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Many people run into problems when they try to change too much too fast. To improve your success, focus on one goal or change at a time. As new healthy behaviors become a habit, try to add another goal that works toward the overall change you’re striving for.
Find a support person. Whether it be a friend, co-worker or family member, someone else on your journey will keep you motivated and accountable. Perhaps it can be someone who will go to the gym with you or someone who is trying to also eat healthy. Talk about what you are doing. Consider joining a support group. Having someone with whom to share your struggles and successes makes the work easier and the mission less intimidating.
Ask for support. Accepting help from those who care about you and will listen strengthens your resilience and commitment. Asking others to help keep you accountable will also increase your chances of long term success.
Making the changes that you want takes time and commitment, but you can do it. Just remember that no one is perfect. You will have occasional lapses. Be kind to yourself. When you eat a brownie or skip the gym, don’t give up. Minor missteps on the road to your goals are normal and okay. Resolve to recover and get back on track. Remember focus on progress NOT perfection! Look at being consistent with your lifestyle changes and wellness goals vs being prefect with them!
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