There is no doubt about it: losing weight requires changing behaviors. What needs to change may be different for each person, though. The focus is generally on a lifestyle that includes healthy eating, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management.
Changing your lifestyle is a gradual process that requires patience, commitment, and consistency. With the right mindset and approach, weight loss is achievable and can significantly improve your overall health and well-being. Let’s review 5 strategies for changing behaviors to lose weight and keep it off.
Self-monitoring is one of the most effective ways to achieve your weight loss goal and stay motivated. It helps create awareness of what and when you eat, portion sizes, and physical activity. Track your daily food intake, weight, and physical activity. This strategy will help you see how far you’ve come and make any necessary adjustments to your program.
When trying to lose weight, you may find yourself focused only on the weight you want to end up at. However, breaking your weight loss plan down into mini-goals may help you stay focused. It also allows you to celebrate small wins as you make progress. For example, you may set a mini goal: “I want to lose 4 pounds this month.”
You may have other goals related to physical activity, such as running a 5K. Break these into mini-goals too. For example, you could set a mini goal of adding a ½ mile to your running route each week. As you achieve the weekly goals, you’ll build up your endurance for a 5K.
Planning for Success
Consider how you can set yourself up for success. That means making the healthier choice, the easier choice! We are more likely to succeed when we design our homes or workplaces to promote healthy behaviors. Here are some ideas:
- Plan dinners for the week and post the plan on the refrigerator. It will help cut down on last-minute unhealthy decisions.
- Always carry a water bottle with you so you won’t be tempted to buy sugary drinks while you are out.
- Pack a lunch for work instead of eating out. This habit can save time and money.
- Keep junk food out of your house or hidden away in cabinets. Removing the visual cue will help avoid temptations.
- Eat at a table instead of in front of the TV. Focusing on your food more can help you avoid overeating.
- Leave out your workout clothes, so it’s easy to change into them and get active.
- Keep a pair of sneakers at work or in the car to squeeze in more activity if you have downtime.
Having people to support you in your weight loss journey will help keep you accountable and motivated. This support can be your family, friends, or peers on a similar weight loss journey. Peer support can come from someone you go to the gym with, group classes, online forums, neighbors, or coworkers. Simply telling one other person your goals improves your chances of achieving them.
It is important to celebrate your accomplishments, big or small. Reward yourself when you hit specific goals. Instead of using food or drink as a reward, focus on other things that will make you feel good. Treat yourself to a massage, new activewear, or new clothes to celebrate fitting into another size. Buy a kitchen gadget to help you create healthy meals, sign up for that fitness class you’ve been meaning to try, or plan an excursion like paddle boarding or a trip to a park.
Weight loss is a journey; be patient and kind to yourself, and remember that progress takes time. If you have a setback, don’t give up; review your behaviors, track your progress, and lean on others for support.
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