Happy New Year! TV, magazines and social media would have you believe it’s that time of year when you return to the “burden” of maintaining an ideal body weight. All we’re seeing folks talk about, it seems, are the tricks, gimmicks and latest “must have” tools for successful weight loss. The truth is that weight loss is not tricky at all, but rather about commitment and finding the right personal path.
1. Prioritize change.
Think about the many things you make time for, like scheduling your DVR so you don’t miss your favorite show or keeping up with your social media accounts. Do you approach wellness the same way? Is it a top priority that you are sure not to miss out on every day? Unless your health and nutrition goals are part of your top priorities for the day, they aren’t likely to happen.
2. Set attainable goals.
It’s far more rewarding to achieve a goal (even if it’s small) than to wait for weeks or months to meet a bigger goal. Attainable goals are specific, clear and, frankly, able to be met. For example, if you set the simple goal of eating fruits and vegetables every day, you will also be achieving the goal of increasing your intake of belly-filling fiber and antioxidants.
3. Track it.
Whether you use an app, a website, or a simply pen and paper, tracking your food intake is an absolutely useful way to achieve weight loss. Tracking turns the abstract into reality and ensures you will recall everything you ate, right down to that handful of pretzels you grabbed when hunger struck or the candy you took from your colleague’s desk.
4. Be mindful.
Tracking is just one part of being mindful: slowing down and choosing to pay attention to your habits is another. This piece is probably the most important part of real and lasting change. It’s the part that helps you identify your weaknesses, recognize true hunger and assess appropriate fullness.
5. Use exercise.
I may be a dietitian, but if I didn’t note the importance of exercise for achieving and sustaining weight loss, this post would be incomplete. Calorie burning workouts are to weight loss what a salary raise is to meeting a financial goal (you could do without, but it’s a whole lot faster with a “boost”).
6. Get in the kitchen.
Want to control what you eat and the ingredients on your plate? The best way to do that is to get in the kitchen and prepare your own meals. If cooking is new to you, try easy recipes and keep in mind that meals can be simple if they are nutritious.