If you're falling into the trap of yo-yo dieting, then maybe it’s time to embrace a game plan that can help you to not only lose weight, but also keep it off for good. Here are 10 actions you can take to make that happen.
Commit to a long-term healthy lifestyle
You don’t need to wait until New Year’s to commit to a new lifestyle plan. Waiting until New Year’s or bikini season means you think there’s a “right time.” The right time is now. It begins when you stop thinking about dieting and really commit to adopting habits that you will continue to keep up even after you reach your goal weight.
“You can’t spend it if you don’t have it,” is a standard in the world of financial planning. Many nutritionists, too, like using a checkbook analogy to weight goals. For example, “save and then spend” is a good mantra. Exercise first, tally the amount of calories burned and then figure out how many calories to consume that day to lose weight or maintain it. Things like a diary, journal, or fitness tracker can all help to keep you motivated and honest.
It seems to make sense to follow a diet that someone else has had success with. But just because it worked for them does not mean it will work for you, too. Your family history of disease risk, current state of health, personality and work schedule are all variables that a lifestyle program needs to match. That’s why it’s vital to find a catered lifestyle match, if you expect to sustain it.
Here’s a lesson from The Biggest Loser television show: Dramatic, rapid weight loss may impair your leptin hormone production, lower your metabolic rate permanently and ultimately work against long term efforts to lose weight. Aim instead to lose one to two pounds per week. When you hit a plateau, increase your exercise intensity or reduce calories a bit. But be sure not to go below a minimum intake of 1200 calories daily.
One bad day is one bad day…unless you make it a week
Don’t let one bad meal or bad day of eating derail your lifestyle program by severely depriving yourself as a way to make up for it. It can set you off on a food binge and allow your bad feelings to sabotage your efforts. So just treat the incident as just a single episode of emotional eating in a long-term lifestyle program. Use food psychology and the mantra, “It’s just one.”