Friday, August 27, 2010

I Feel Your Pain - Part 4

Is your weight loss plan working? If not, why? Rather than bounce around from one diet to another trying to find the “right” one, it’s better to figure out why your action plan isn’t working and what you need to change. The following five questions are a great way to tweak any diet plan you may have.

1. Do I have a reason(s) to lose weight that is more important to me than continuing as I am?
I’m not asking if others want you to lose weight, or if you think you should because it’s healthier. It is more important that you make your own list of reasons that are more exciting, fun, enjoyable, and rewarding than living the life you do now.

2. Did I write down my action plan?
If just thinking about losing weight were all it took, we would all weigh what we wanted. But it takes discipline, organization, and planning. By writing out your plan you are making a promise to make it a priority. It’s also a good way to share the plan with someone who cares about you. Your chance of success increases when you become accountable to others.

3. Did I set realistic, measurable goals for my short and long term weight loss?
We all get enthused about new diets and try to quickly lose pounds that took years to put on. Pounds lost with fad diets usually return with a vengeance once you stop dieting (and you always will). Instead, focus on moderate lifestyle changes that lead to permanent weight loss over time. You will know your plan is working and realistic if you lose no more than a couple of pounds per week on average.

4. Did I set realistic solutions to over-eating my favorite foods that cause me to gain weight?
Food that causes you the most problem may need to be on your stop-eating list. For some, eating less of a favorite food is like a smoker cutting down on cigarettes, or an alcoholic trying to drink less. You need to decide if eating that particular food at all is worth missing out on whatever you put down for answer # 1. Will a few minutes of pleasure be as rewarding as playing with your grandchild for the next 10 years?

5. Did I figure out the habits that sabotage my weight loss and replace them with different behavior?
You need to become a problems-solver. Only you can determine what will work best in your schedule. I could list numerous habits, like snacking in front of the TV or not exercising, and then tell you what to do about them. But it won’t help if the solutions I give aren’t workable in your situation. This is the toughest and most important part of any action plan, so don’t give up. There are better, more rewarding behaviors that can replace any sabotaging habit you might have. You will know you are on the right track when the pounds start to melt away!

The author submits this blog posting as a health educator and not in any other capacity. You should seek the advice of your physician regarding a personal health condition or before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.

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