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5 Steps to Effective Weight Loss

Updated on January 2, 2012
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Keith Schroeder writes The Wealthy Accountant blog with 30 years experience in the tax field. He is the tax adviser of Mr. Money Mustache.

The Journal of the American Medical Association reported in 2003 that 61% of Americans are overweight; 31% obese. More than ever, our society needs effective and safe weight loss. This requires a program that includes both body and mind.

Effective weight loss must be safe and should be permanent. Planning is the key to success. Your health and life are at risk when you are over-weight. An action plan that leads to reasonable weight loss also increases your chances of keeping the weight off.

This article will discuss the 5 necessary steps to permanent weight loss. The advertisers try to convince us that losing weight is easy. The reality is that attaining the “right weight” takes planning, effort, and a lifestyle change. The things you did in the past lead to excess weight. I will outline how you can change your daily routine for better health and appropriate weight.

1.) See Your Doctor

We are asked to see our doctor for a hundred different drugs the pharmaceutical companies want to sell us. When it comes to weight loss, you really should start by visiting your doctor.

Excess weight can be caused by several diseases, including cancer. Your doctor can rule out disease as the reason for your weight problems. Excess weight also increases your risks of experiencing a variety of illnesses. Your doctor can help you with any medical issues.

The motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, always says you should see a skinny doctor when building a diet and exercise program. I agree. The doctor must believe in living within a reasonable weight to provide an effective weight loss program you can benefit from.

Your doctor will check your current health and condition. It is important to build a safe diet and exercise program. Your health is the over-riding factor. Your current condition will dictate your prescribed diet and the intensity of physical activity recommended.

Anything your doctor recommends over-rules anything I present in this article. I want to see you lose the weight and your doctor will have your personal details to help you attain your ideal weight. It is imperative you have a medical professional help in your weight loss program.

2.) Self-image

After you and your doctor build an action plan for weight loss, it is time to visualize the goal. I recommend you find a picture of a person at their ideal weight. Paste it on your bathroom mirror or anywhere you can see it every day.

Goals are difficult, if not impossible, to achieve without a written plan and visualization. If you can see yourself thin, fit, and healthy, your chances of success are 10 times higher. Reaching a goal you can’t see is like driving with your eyes closed; you will end up in the ditch every time.

You should also take some quiet time to mentally visualize yourself at your ideal weight. This is a daily requirement. Wayne Dyer says, “Your reality is what you think about all day long.” If you start and end each day with a photograph of someone at their ideal weight, plus fifteen minutes daily mentally picturing yourself at your ideal weight, you are halfway to winning.

The picture you have of yourself makes all the difference. See it in your mind.

Also observe other people that are thin. Watch how they act, talk, move their body, eat. Modeling successful people is an age-old secret. See what works for thin people. They probably eat slower and in smaller portions; notice their choices in food. They probably walk faster and with a larger bounce in their step. They may trot short distances when getting the mail, greeting friend, or entering the mall.

Watch the winners and emulate them. See yourself just like they are. Start living the way thin people do. If you do you will become thin, healthy and energized like thin people are.

Safe Dieting

3.) Diet

Diet and exercise are the most important areas to discuss with your doctor. Inappropriate diet and exercise can lead to illness or injury. Build an action plan that includes a diet and exercise program tailored to your personal needs.

For most people, diet will require radical change. High fat and sugary foods permeate the western diet. Since 3,500 kilocalories equal about one pound of body fat, reducing calories is a great way to begin losing weight.

For a diet to be successful, it must be naturally sustainable. This means you have a sensible diet every day for the rest of your life. High calorie foods, like sweets and deep-fried dishes, are out or significantly reduced.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are in. There are many tasty entrees that have lots of vitamins and minerals and a reasonable amount of calories. On your doctor’s approval, a variety of nuts should also be a part of your diet every day.

If able, consider a garden. You can appreciate your own produce and get exercise at the same time. Farmer’s markets are another excellent place to pick up local foods that fit into your diet. Consider a class on preparing delicious meals that are healthy and satisfying. You and your doctor can create a healthy meal plan.

4.) Exercise

Before beginning any exercise program, review your plans with your doctor. Remember the goal, safe weight loss. Your current medical condition will determine your exercise program.

If you haven’t noticed, men and women are different. The exercise program needs to consider these differences. Men and women both need aerobic exercise, but men may lean more toward body building. Age is another consideration.

Your exercise goal needs to be attainable and sustainable. Starting an exercise program by running a mile a day when you get winded walking to the mailbox is unhealthy and unattainable. Light exercise, like gardening, walking, and working around the home, are great starting points for folks very over-weight. Walking a hundred feet may be the best starting point for you. Let your doctor guide you into an appropriate exercise program with reasonable goals.

As you build strength, your exercise program will expand, too. When you shed excess weight, your energy level rises. You may advance from walking to running and other aerobic exercises. You need to consider toning your body. Less fat and more muscle requires some strength conditioning. Start small to avoid injury and increase the conditioning as your body is able to handle the added strain.

5.) Persistence

Rollercoaster dieting in unhealthy and leads to illness. A solid, doctor approved diet and exercise program, is vital to your life-long success. You can reach and attain your ideal weight. The benefits of appropriate weight are more energy, more health, and increased self-esteem. Losing weight can also further a professional career. But I warn you, losing weight can also lead to a more vibrant love life, if you know what I mean.

Losing weight is important; keeping it off for life is more important. By following a doctor guided effective weight loss program, you can enjoy the health, energy, self-esteem, long-life, and better relationships. No more staying behind while friends and family enjoy an event; no more gasping for breath; no more worrying about weight-related medical problems; no more painful joints.

Develop a diet and follow it. Set an exercise program and maintain it. For life. Your life. As the old adage goes, “Clean living. Just clean living.”

Healthy Foods

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