Most weight loss plans will help you lose weight, but they are only successful if you hang in there. Sticking to a weight loss regimen is difficult. All -day- every- day can wear you down, especially if you reach a plateau. But you can do it. Here are a few tips.
- Have a formal, written plan and keep track of your progress. Keep a record of everything you put in your mouth, solid or liquid. Having a written diary lets you compare food eaten and pounds lost. If you join a specific plan, like Weight Watchers, keeping a food diary is mandatory. In a 2008 study, cited in US News, dieters who kept a written record lost nearly twice as much as those who didn't.
- Get support. Find an ally or support group. Those who try to lose weight alone are more likely to fail. You could join Weight Watchers for weekly support or Jenny Craig, where you will have a counselor assigned to you. Join an online group, or Overeaters Anonymous. Or maybe find a buddy to do it with, someone who will cheer you on or commiserate with you. Registered Dietitian Dawn Jackson-Blatner, author of The Flexitarian Diet, was quoted in the US News article: "It's important to have people who will pick you up when times are tough and cheer you on when you have successes. Healthy habits are contagious."
- Weigh and measure yourself regularly. If you are keeping an accurate record, you'll be able to see what might be causing your ups and downs. Some people use a tape measure as another way to track. You may be losing inches even though the scale is not moving. If you slip, hold yourself accountable, but don't punish yourself.
- Set goals. You can set short and long-term goals. As a simple suggestion, you can try to lose one pound or one percent of your body weight a week. You can also set goals for more exercise or eating more healthy foods. If you reach these goals each week, give yourself a pat on the back. Treat yourself to something (not food!). You should also notice improvements in your sleep and energy level, and feel a change in the fit of your clothes. Keep patting your back!
- Get moving. Turn off the TV. Women who watch more than two hours a day with snacking double their risk of obesity. Exercise can not only help you lose weight but can improve your mood, help you sleep better, raise your metabolism, and may even prolong your life! Exercise doesn't need to be drudgery, the same old thing every day. Get involved with fun activities like zumba classes, dancing lessons, a sport you like, a walk with a buddy, or even fun with the kids. Challenge yourself. Set goals for exercise, such as a little more time or distance each day.