I think it is pretty safe to say that diets don’t work. Would you agree? We all know that a program may be effective short term, but unless you make it your life, as soon as you go back to your regular way of eating, the weight comes back and then some. That hellish circle makes us feel worse than ever.
What has been found to work is lifestyle change. Slowly changing your habits one by one to live differently. Ok. But how? Your habits are ingrained and tough to break. If you are going to make these changes, what should you expect and how should you go about it?
Here are my suggestions:
- Have a long term vision (3-5 years out). If you are not sure how to go about that, put your name and email address in the purple box to the right, and I will walk you through it.
- Have medium term (3 month) and short term (1 week) goals.
- Goal areas include fitness, nutrition, stress reduction, organization, “me” time and sleep patterns. Most people can manage three goals per week. But take note, you want your confidence to build. Start smaller if you are unsure. Each achieved goal will encourage you to set and meet more.
- Spell out precisely what you are going to do each week to meet your goal. Not just what it is, but how you are going to get it done. Is it on your calendar? Do you need to meet a friend for accountability? Have you prepared a shopping list? Are your workout clothes ready to go? Do you need to prepare food on the weekend to eat during the week? Be as specific as you can.
- Officially check in with yourself (or a buddy, or a coach) weekly. Talk about what worked, what didn’t work and what needs to change.
- Be kind to yourself and always find something positive about your weekly accomplishments. Even if it is to pat yourself on the back for thinking about your new habits.
- Check perfectionism at the door–expect that things will not go perfectly. Because they won’t.
- Be ok with setbacks/life happenings. What matters is getting back on track.
- Focus on healthy foods or activities that you already like. This will increase your confidence now and give you motivation to try new things moving forward.
- The more you practice your new habits, the easier and more natural they become. Once you have created the habit, your body will crave the good the same way it used to crave the not so good. Really!
- People will naysay your actions. Remember your vision, call your coach and stay the course. Your future self will thank you.
- Stay positive. Even when you misstep, focus on how far you have come, not on your momentary lapse. This will help you get back on track sooner.
- You won’t see results right away–have patience. It took a long time to get to where you are now, it will take some time to get back to where you want to be.
- Your path may not be smooth. Two steps forward, one step back is completely normal. Keep on keeping on.
- Celebrate even your smallest successes. Each win will get you closer to that long term lifestyle change that you so desire.
What has your experience been? Have you be able to institute lifestyle change? Do these steps give you encouragement to try? Please share your thoughts in the comments. I love hearing from you.
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