Whether your goal is to lose one or 100, shedding pounds is no walk in the park (pardon the pun). If you’re seeking to better your lifestyle or know someone else who is, look no further for motivation than these five simple tips.
1. Make a commitment. Start by making a commitment to yourself. Many people find it helpful to sign a written contract committing to the process, which may include goals 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 and a plan for regular physical activity.
2. Take stock of where you are. Keep a “food diary” for a few days, in which you write down everything you eat. By doing this, you become more aware of what and when you’re eating. Identify aspects of your current lifestyle that might pose challenges to your weight loss efforts, and establish action steps you can take to help overcome these challenges.
3. Set realistic goals. Set some short-term goals, and reward your efforts along the way. If your long-term goal is to lose 40 pounds or to control your high blood pressure, for example, some short-term goals might be to start eating breakfast, taking a 15-minute walk in the evenings or having a salad or vegetable with supper.
4. Identify resources for support. 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. Joining a weight loss group or visiting a health care professional, such as a registered dietitian, can help.
5. “Check-in” with yourself to monitor your progress. Revisit the goals you set for yourself and assess your progress regularly. Evaluate which parts of your plan are working well and which ones need tweaking. Rewrite your goals if needed, and plan accordingly. If you’re consistently achieving a particular goal, add a new goal to help you continue on the path to success.
Remember to reward yourself! Recognize when you’re meeting your goals. Consistent acknowledgment of your successes will further motivate you to achieve—and exceed—your goals.