According to Marketdata Enterprises, nearly 54% of people in the US are currently trying to lose weight, fueling a 59 billion dollar a year industry promising lasting results by using the latest pills, powders and programs. If you’ve dieted… and dieted.. and dieted with fleeting results, these 7 strategies to finally get you off of the diet rollercoaster are for you. The strategies are designed to have you save your hard-earned money and spend it on something far more rewarding – like new clothes for the sleek, toned body you’ll have once these strategies have become a way of life. Ready? Here we go.
1. Know Your “Why.” There’s a deeply personal reason why you want to get the weight off. Sure you want to look and feel better, but dig a little deeper and what you’ll find is the real motivation behind the attempts you’ve made in the past. Do you want a new relationship, confidence to change careers, energy to keep up with your kids? Identifying your “why,” writing it down and reading it throughout the day, can help keep you motivated and on track. How do you discover your personal “why”? First ask yourself the question, “Why do I want to lose weight?” You’ll probably tell yourself, “So I look/feel better.” Now dig a little deeper by saying, “So I can…” and your answer may reveal something like, “Wear different clothes.” Keep asking the question, “So I can…” until you’ve gotten to the deeply personal reason why losing weight is important to you.
2. Identify Habits. We’re creatures of habit and the majority of things we do throughout the day prove it. Just try to brush your teeth differently, put on the other leg of your pants first or change your morning routine, and you’ll see what I mean. How does this apply to weight loss? It’s not in those giant leaps but in those small, seemingly insignificant daily habits we have that have been causing weight gain in the past. For example, do you have a habit of cleaning your plate, choosing addictive foods, standing while eating, or eating to wind down from your hectic day? The first step is identifying all of the habits that create weight gain then finding healthier strategies to create new habits. It’s hard to ditch a bad habit without replacing it, so focus on one habit that needs to change, create a different response to the trigger that encourages the habit you’re trying to change, and keep at it until the new habit is firmly in place.
3. Accountability. Creating new habits, taking a different approach, adopting a healthier mindset and more, can be tricky. That’s where accountability can help. Whether you’re working with a coach (health coach, dietitian/nutritionist, trainer, etc.), having a like-minded buddy, keeping a food journal or finding an in-person or virtual support group can help. The key with accountability is a combination of finding the right fit along with keeping it consistent. If you don’t like or respect the coach/group and checking in sporadically, you’re shortchanging yourself and the results you hope to achieve. Find the people, resources and arrangement you need to get your job done and commit to it for better results.
4. Change Up Your Environment. Are you living or working in a messy, disorganized space? Do your surroundings encourage a healthy way to think and act? Your environment needs to support your efforts and a new way of thinking can be amplified with the right surroundings. It may be something as simple as this: when you end your day, you sit in that cozy chair with your bowl of chips. Just rearranging the room can shift that habit for you. Or, that messy, cluttered space just doesn’t make you feel good. A clean, uncluttered environment creates a better mood, which often leads to better choices.
5. Pre-plan. When you’ve pre-planned your meals and snacks, you’re in control and aren’t at the mercy of what’s available when hunger strikes. Sure it may take some extra thought and effort to have what’s available or prepare a few healthy meals ahead of time, but the payoff is a greater sense of control and healthy habits that support your efforts.
6. Surround Yourself with Healthy People. Just as important as your environment, take a look at the people you’re spending your time with. Do they encourage a healthy way to think, act and behave, or is your social circle filled with “food pushers” and “eating buddies”? Do they have habits that encourage or discourage healthy lifestyle habits? We become the people we spend the most time with, so when you’re trying to create lasting change, it’s important to be around others who support your efforts, or at least won’t try (consciously or subconsciously) to derail them.
7. Change Your Perspective. So often we look at weight loss as what we’ll have to give up to reach our goal. We view it as deprivation, punishment and all the things we can’t have. Here’s a different perspective. Look at all you’re giving up because of the way you look and feel. There’s probably a handful of foods that have such a tight grip on you that they’ve caused unhappiness for years, if not decades. To me, that’s the real loss and the real deprivation. Get those foods out of your life and embrace all you’ve been missing out on. It’s not about the foods you’re giving up but all you have to gain once this perspective is embraced.
So are you ready to finally get off the diet rollercoaster? Which strategy will you embrace? I’d love to know, comment and share!