Lucky Seven: Tips to keep you on the path to lasting weight loss resolutions

New Year’s Day has come and gone, but it doesn’t mean that the resolutions you vowed to make - and keep - have to go, too. The No. 1 resolution is to lose weight.

Unfortunately, 95 percent of people making this resolution will give up after three-and-a-half weeks. Why the tremendous dropout rate? The top reason is they won’t see results fast enough. Keep in mind that weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. Here are some strategies to keep you out of the category with 95 percent of resolution-makers.

1. Make short-term, achievable goals. Try making bi-weekly weight loss goals of 3-5 pounds. It doesn’t seem as daunting as losing 50 pounds in three months. Long-term goals are good, but the short-term goals keep you on track.

2. Have a plan to achieve those goals. Have you heard the saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail?” Don’t make this common mistake. Have an exercise plan designed to fit your needs. Know how many times you are planning to exercise each week. Have a general idea of what you will eat each day. These simple strategies do wonders in keeping you on track.

3. Avoid making unrealistic diet plans. The other day a woman came up to me and told me after the holidays she would get on the South Beach diet plan. In fact, she has done it three different times and lost 25 pounds each time. I said, “Wow! So you’ve lost 75 pounds?” She said, “Well, no. I gain most the weight back once I stop the diet.” I’m sure that the “such-and-such” diet is great, but follow something realistic that will work as part of your lifestyle. That way, you’ll get to your ideal weight, maintain it, and look and feel great all the time.

4. Join a gym. People buy home gym equipment with the best of intentions but rarely use it. If, however, you pay a monthly gym membership, drive to the facility, walk in the door and change into your gym clothes, you are probably going to work out.

5. Start slow, and try to improve each week. If you’ve been sedentary for five years, ease into exercise. Start with as little as 20 minutes of exercise three day a week, and try to build on that each week. Before too long, you’ll be doing 45-60 minutes of exercise each session.

6. Try to make three months of consistent exercise. Typically it takes three months to form a habit. Make it three months, and skipping an exercise session will feel like forgetting your deodorant. Plus, it takes about three months to see significant results.

7. Treat yourself, but be careful. How much fun is it to never eat anything you enjoy? Life is too short to constantly deny yourself, so the occasional “cheat meal” is OK. Try eating healthy 80-85 percent of the time, and you can fudge the other 15-20 percent of the time. That being said, be cautious when eating out, because you can get a day’s worth of calories in one meal.

Chad Hodson is the fitness manager at the Blount Memorial Wellness Centers at Springbrook and Cherokee.

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