There’s no fad diet or miracle pill that will change your body overnight, but losing weight is within your reach — it just might take a little longer than you’d like. Consider this: when you lose weight at a slow and healthy pace, you’ll be more likely to keep it off for good. If you’re done with the days of yo-yo dieting, these 10 tips are the emotional stepping stones to a healthier lifestyle.
1. Start small: Chances are, if in the past, you’ve tried to change everything all at once, few of your intentions have stuck for good. The answer to staying committed for the long haul is to start small. Make one positive shift every week, instead of overwhelming yourself with a bunch of changes at once.
2. Find out what fuels you: Whatever your true motivation is, tap into it, and use it. Is it about fitting into a ton of clothes tucked away in the back of your closet? Is it about being lighter and more active, so you can run around outside with your kids? Getting serious about your long-term goals will keep you committed to your lifestyle change.
3. Don’t focus on deprivation: According to celebrity trainer Heidi Powell, anytime you deprive yourself of food, or of anything, “all you want is what you can’t have!” Take your mind-set away from sacrifice and start celebrating the fact that you’re cultivating a healthier, happier, more energized life.
4. Learn to love consistency: When you have a regular mealtime schedule and fridge full of fresh produce and healthy staples, making choices that support your goals won’t feel like a constant battle. Remember, this isn’t a quick fix — this is a lifestyle change. After a few weeks, these things will feel like second nature.
5. Find healthy foods you love: It’s true! Healthy food that supports weight loss can also be delicious! If you’ve been on a solid sugar- and salt-laden diet for years, it will take a little getting used to. But sooner than you think, those cravings start to dissipate, and clean, natural foods sound much more palatable.
6. Seek out exercise you enjoy: Heading to the gym shouldn’t feel like pulling teeth. Keep on trying new group fitness classes, cardio machines, and different styles of exercise. When you find that one activity that flies by and feels like fun, you’ll know you’ve met your match.
7. Plan ahead for indulgences whenever possible: Occasionally enjoying a sweet treat or special meal out are essential parts of sustainable weight-loss plan. When you know you’re going to want a burger at your BBQ or an ice cream cone when you’re at the beach next weekend, keep your diet extra clean leading up to your special indulgence. It will make the whole experience that much sweeter.
8. Have compassion for yourself: Sometimes, we’re triggered by foods around us, we haven’t planned ahead, and slip ups happen. Instead of being hard on yourself after eating a food that’s “off-limits,” forgive yourself, and move on. When you treat yourself with kindness, you’ll be able to bounce back and stay on track. Let’s skip the downward spiral of a whole day (or week) filled with junk food, shall we?
9. Keep setting new goals: As you’re evolving and progressing on your weight-loss journey, your goals have got to keep up! There’s so much to celebrate beyond that number on the scale, and setting specific and personal minigoals like training for a race (or slipping into that pair of old jeans) will help you stay connected.
10. Picture the new you: If you’ve struggled with your weight for a long time, it can be hard to visualize a new, healthier life. You might not be able to find the words right now, but creating a tangible reminder, like a healthy vision board covered in inspirational images, will help you start to recognize what your dreams look like.