Losing weight is one of the most difficult - and one of the most rewarding - adventures you can embark on. Here are some tips that have helped me.
1. Talk to a doctor. It seems every diet gives this advice at the beginning. This time, instead of thinking of this advice as a mere disclaimer, see your doctor and find out what her thoughts are regarding your weight loss. Do you really need to lose weight? If so, how much? What would be the health benefits of doing so? Your doctor may be able to provide valuable advice and tips on following a weight loss program that are specific to your needs and lifestyle. Plus, there is a measure of accountability there as well. You'll want to have progressed in your goals before your next appointment.
2. Think yourself thin. One of the most helpful things for me when I was losing weight was to imagine the way my body would look when I had reached my goal weight. I looked at a model in a catalog that looked the way I wanted to and I imagined that this was my body. When the going got tough, it really helped me to come back to that image. Make a collage of images and quotes that will prove inspirational to you on your weight loss journey.
3. Get past the notion that food that is healthy tastes bad. Admittedly, I'm not a big proponent of rice cakes or diet soda. Instead, eat delicious, healthy and real foods in moderate amounts. Fresh fruits and vegetables, grilled lean meats, and lean dairy products are delicious. If you get a craving for a cookie, eat one. (Just one.) And then distract yourself by doing something else. Make a phone call, walk around the block, sip some water with fresh lemon wedges, or read a chapter of an absorbing novel.
4. Get past the notion that exercise is a drag. Find something you love to do. If you look hard enough, you will find an exercise that you can look forward to. Think this out and try to match your personality with your exercise. If you love to savor the mind-body-connection, take a brisk walk in the great outdoors and follow it up with 30 minutes of yoga. If you crave competition, meet a friend for a game of basketball after work.
5. Get inspired with fitness magazines, as well as magazines that help you make low fat substitutions in your cooking. Cooking Light magazine, for example, has some great suggestions for spicing up low fat dishes with fresh, zesty herbs. Before long, you will learn how to naturally make healthy changes to your family's favorite recipes.
6. Keep a Weight Loss Journal, in which you applaud your successes. Give yourself kudos for all the steps on your journey, to drinking your daily allotment of fresh water to getting out and moving each day to eating healthy foods.
By using the power of your mind, body and spirit - and continually patting yourself on the back, you'll meet your weight loss goals and be able to maintain your new, healthy weight.