Statistics have shown that more than half of all Americans go on a diet to lose weight during any given year, but only a small fraction of that percent actually manage to lose more than a few pounds, and even fewer still manage to keep it off for an extended period of time.
So where are we going wrong?
We give up too soon!
According to experts at WebMD, “almost any of the commercial weight loss programs can work, but only if they motivate you sufficiently to change the way you eat or increase the amount of calories you burn through physical activity each day (or both).”
Consequently, you have to be willing to maintain your diet and exercise program for an extended period of time if you want to lose weight and keep it off. After all, if you’re not sufficiently motivated to continue, why bother losing weight in the first place?
Fortunately, “people report that after they keep the weight off for three years, their likelihood of ongoing success is pretty high,” says James O. Hill, PhD.
Here’s some tips and tricks to help you plan your own weight loss success story.
Don’t Be Afraid to Dream Big
Whether it’s losing 40 pounds or running a 5k or slimming down in time for the next bikini season to roll around, dreaming big is the first step to losing weight.
Visualize the goal you have in mind – then determine what patterns of behavior will have to be maintained in order to achieve that goal.
For example, if you want to lose weight, you may have to make some changes to your diet and exercise regimen. If you want to run a 5k, then you’ll have to build up your endurance.
Divide and Conquer
Once you’ve decided on a large goal, it’s time to break it up into smaller, more realistic and manageable goals that you can achieve on a day to day or week to week basis.
“Weight-loss goals can mean the difference between success and failure,” says experts at Mayo Clinic, “realistic, well-planned goals can keep you focused and motivated.”
Try aiming to exercise for a specific number of minutes each week or incorporating several servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Although you don’t have to be perfect, every mini-goal that you achieve will take you one step closer to achieving your dream.
While your gym buddy or next door neighbor may try to be helpful by offering you tips and tricks, sometimes the best intentions can slow or even halt your progress.
Unless your friend or neighbor is an expert in sports, nutrition, fitness, and similar fields, it’s better to get professional advice and information from your doctor, or at least from a reliable source of information such as weightlosspills24.com or fitbie.msn.com.
Robert Kushner, MD, explains that may of his patients quickly become disappointed with popular workout programs because they only lose a couple of pounds – what they failed to realize was that a quality weight loss plan balanced exercise with a healthy diet synonymously.
“First, we’ve got to get a handle on your diet. Then, as you’re losing weight and feel better and you’re lighter on your feet, then we shift more and more toward being more physically active; and then a living a physically active lifestyle for the rest of your life is going to be important to keeping your weight off.”
As you can see, a little bit of information can go a long way when it comes to writing your own weight loss success story.
Make Your Commitments Public
According to a recent study featured in the journal of Psychology and Marketing, individuals who participated in a 16 week weight loss program designed (designed to help dieters lose 15 to 20 pounds) were divided into three groups: long-term public commitment, short-term public commitment, and no public commitment.
By the end of the study, individuals in the long-term group lost significantly more weight than the short-term and no commitment groups – by an average of 102% in fact. Those in the short-term group achieved an average of 96% success and the no commitment group reached only 88%.
Not bad eh?
Whether you decide to post your goals to facebook, sign up for an online support group like Sparkpeople or Weight Watchers, or join your friends in a contest – making a commitment public may be able to provide you with the extra motivation and support to follow through with your goals.
Tell us about your weight loss success story!