It’s Springtime. And that means summer isn't far away. If our New Year's Weight Loss Resolutions haven't "stuck," then this is often also the time when crash diets and extreme ways of losing weight fast begin to swirl around in our minds. So, before temperatures and anxieties reach full heat, I thought I would issue a few tips and reminders for those with summertime weight loss on their minds.
1. Set Realistic Goals!
Big goals are important. But goals you can’t realistically achieve are just a big downer. And when it comes to weight loss, arbitrary numbers and dates often don’t add up. For example, “I want to lose 30 pounds by May 31″ may not be an appropriate or healthy goal for some people. Make these decisions based on your body and what’s right and healthy for you. Consulting with your physician before beginning is always a great place to start.
2. Visualize Achievement.
Now that you’ve set a realistic goal for your weight loss, keep it top of mind with some mental-guided imagery. This really isn’t psycho-babble. Scientific studies have shown that when a person can visualize a goal, clearly and often, they are more likely to reach or exceed it. If some measure of weight loss is your goal, perhaps you might try visualizing yourself in that sun dress you haven’t fit into in ages. You can even pull it out of the closet and hang it somewhere that you’ll frequently see it. Tangible reminders of a goal are a great way to keep working hard at it, especially when the going gets tough.
3. Take it One Day at a Time.
Do you know why a huge percentage of people drop their weight-loss resolutions by mid-January? It’s largely because they tried to change too much, too quickly. Old habits are hard to break for a reason. Most who are able to stick to and eventually achieve their goals, take it one day at a time, or in some cases, one week at a time. Maybe this week you’ll commit to switching from low-fat to non-fat milk. Next week, it’s at least 30 minutes of heart-pumping exercise twice a week. These may seem like small changes, but I promise you they can add up to huge rewards over the long haul.
4. Get Support!
As humans, the last thing we want to feel is alone. Isolation is depressing and when it comes to body-weight, depression can often go hand-in-hand with an unhealthy relationship with food. Banish depression and isolation in achieving your goals by surrounding yourself with supportive, encouraging people who are working to achieve similar results. Seek out people with an “I can do this” attitude. They can be great motivators when you need to overcome the hurdles and obstacles that can present themselves as you're working to achieve your goals.
5. Reward Milestones.
Incentives don’t just work for kids. They can help motivate us adults too. Rewards are an important part of achieving long-term goals. With weight-loss goals, you might consider purchasing a new piece of clothing you’ve had your eye on when you reach a milestone–perhaps it’s the first 10 pounds lost of your 25 pound goal. Whatever your reward is, just be sure it isn’t tied to food. Rewarding yourself with a weekend food binge is really just making it tougher for you to achieve what you ultimately want.
Whether your goal is weight loss this summer or something else entirely, I hope you’ve found value in these tips. For reading them and trying not to get caught up in what can be a vicious cycle of "Yo-Yo Dieting," I applaud you.
Best wishes for the achievement of your ultimate goal.