Losing weight takes more than desire.
It takes commitment
Here's a step-by-step guide to getting started.
· Step 1: Make a commitment.
· Step 2: Set realistic goals.
· Step 3: Identify resources for information and support.
Making the decision to lose weight,
change your lifestyle, and become healthier is a big step to take. Start simply
by making a commitment to yourself. Many people find it helpful to sign a
written contract committing to the process. This contract may include things
like the amount of weight you want to lose, the date you'd like to lose the weight
by, the dietary changes you'll make to establish healthy eating habits, and a
plan for getting regular physical activity.
Writing down the reasons why you want to lose weight can also help. It might be because you have a family history of heart disease, or because you want to see your kids get married, or simply because you want to feel better in your clothes. Post these reasons where they serve as a daily reminder of why you want to make this change.
Set some short-term goals and reward
your efforts along the way. If your long-term goal is to lose 20 kilos and to
control your high blood pressure, some short-term eating and physical activity
goals might be to start eating breakfast, taking a 15 minute walk in the evenings,
or attending a weights class
Focus on two or three goals at a time. Great, effective goals are —
· Forgiving (less than perfect)
For example, "Exercise More"
is not a specific goal. But if you say, "I will walk 15 minutes, 3 days a week
for the first week," you are setting a specific and realistic goal for the
Remember, small changes every day can lead to big results in the long run. Also remember that realistic goals are achievable goals. By achieving your short-term goals day-by-day, you'll feel good about your progress and be motivated to continue. Setting unrealistic goals, such as losing 10 kilos in 2 weeks, can leave you feeling defeated and frustrated.
Being realistic also means expecting occasional setbacks. Setbacks happen when you get away from your plan for whatever reason – maybe the holidays, longer work hours, or another life change. When setbacks happen, get back on track as quickly as possible. Also take some time to think about what you would do differently if a similar situation happens, to prevent setbacks.
Keep in mind everyone is different – what works for someone else might not be right for you. Just because your neighbour lost weight by taking up running, doesn't mean running is the best option for you. Try a variety of activities – walking, swimming, tennis, or group exercise classes to see what you enjoy most and can fit into your life. These activities will be easier to stick with over the long term.
Find family members or friends who will
support your weight loss efforts. Making lifestyle changes can feel easier when
you have others you can talk to and rely on for support. You might have co-workers
or neighbours with similar goals, and together you can share healthful recipes
and plan group exercise.
Joining a weight loss group or visiting a health care professional such as a registered dietician, can help.
Step 4: Continually "check in" with yourself to monitor your progress.
Revisit the goals you set for yourself (in Step 3) and evaluate your progress regularly. If you set a goal to walk each morning but are having trouble fitting it in before work, see if you can shift your work hours or if you can get your walk in at lunchtime or after work. Evaluate which parts of your plan are working well and which ones need tweaking. Then rewrite your goals and plan accordingly. If you are consistently achieving a particular goal, add a new goal to help you continue on your pathway to success. Reward yourself for your successes! Recognize when you're meeting your goals and be proud of your progress. Use non-food rewards, such as a bouquet of freshly picked flowers, a sports outing with friends, or a relaxing bath. Rewards help keep you motivated on the path to better health.