- Quality of Life & Wellness
Weight Loss For Good
Too many people look for a magic pill, a magic diet or a magic plan to transform them into a new body. But if you ask anyone who has been successful at making a permanent change in their life they will tell you that it was all through hard work and dedication. If you want to change your bad fitness habits for good you have to make change a priority and commit to your goals.
Don't take preparation lightly. Typically after a night of binge eating, people have the desire to lose weight. They look in the mirror and say, "I'm not going to eat any fattening foods today." It's easy to say that in the morning when you rarely indulge in a piece of cheesecake anyway. On average this type of change only lasts a day or two before the temptation is stronger than the commitment to change is. You have to prepare a plan and understand that change does not happen in one day.
Preparing a plan requires you to write down your goals and the steps that you are going to take to get there. Take time each day to focus on your plan and see what you will do today to reach your goal. For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds then write it down and tell your family and friends, this is my goal and this is how I'm going to get there. It should be a step-by-step goal plan. This week, I am going to ride the bike for 30 minutes three times. After I reach that goal, I am going to drink one less soda per day. Start with a plan that you feel is accomplishable and does not force you to do anything "cold turkey."
Refocus your energy on something else. Find an activity that you can do instead of the problem behavior. The key to finding a successful substitute behavior is using one that is enjoyable, healthy and doesn't relate to your bad habit. Watching television is obviously not a good substitute behavior for over-eating. In your plan, write down what you are going to do when you have the urge to give into your bad habit. One bad habit I have heard people say why they skip the gym is because they don't enjoy working out. These individuals I help them find some form of energy they do enjoy, so substituting running with taking a step class or traditional weight lifting with a circuit routine.
Replace bad thoughts with more positive ones. Changing your mode of thinking is not easy and takes time and practice. Most bad fitness habits are because we think we think we have to look a certain way or we need to weigh a certain amount or we must go to the gym. The key words that cause the bad thoughts are: have to, need and must. These words make it absolutely horrible if we don't accomplish our goal and set us up for failure. Replace the words have to, need and must with phrases like get to, would like to, or going to get to. These phrases make the action a desire, instead of a need. Which phrase makes you more likely to go to the gym: "I have to go to the gym." or "I get to go to the gym."
Control your environment. Much of your behaviors will depend on what is around you. If you want to drink less and you go to parities often, you probably won't be successful at drinking less. If you want to stop by the gym after work but you don't bring your gym clothes with you, you aren't going to make it to the gym after going home. Part of your plan is to understand the environments that contribute to your bad behaviors and then modifying your environment to help you succeed. Avoidance is not always possible so understanding the cues that trigger your bad habits is important to change. Write down the cues and then imagine what you will do in that situation to beat the bad habit.
The best part of your plan is determining what your reward is going to be when you make a positive change in your life. But remember the reward has to be something that does not reinforce the bad habit. Going to dinner cannot be the reward for losing 10 pounds. You should do something nice for yourself when you don't give into the bad habit or when you make small self-changing steps. Changing a bad habit is a journey and rewards will help you along that journey.