Get your head in the game.Losing weight is 50 percent attitude. If you aren’t mentally, emotionally and psychologically committed to making a change, it’s not worth starting a weight-loss program. Having your head in the game means understanding your personal goals, being willing to put in the effort, and seeing the journey as a lifelong approach to health, instead of just a means to shedding quick, short-term pounds. When you have your head in the game for the right reasons from the beginning, it’s likely you’ll lose weight and keep it off for good.
Track your progress.All of the successful losers in my club are diligent about keeping records. They track their food intake, exercise, even how they are feeling from day to day using online logs, apps, or a personal journal. Successful dieters also use weekly weigh-ins and self-measurement to monitor their progress along the way. But don’t drive yourself crazy by writing down every incremental gram of fat or calorie you’ve consumed. Simply take into consideration your personality, and craft a tracking program that is beneficial and manageable for you.
Exercise daily.Most of my successful losers keep it simple. For example, you can start out walking a few blocks one day (or to the end of your driveway and back), and very gradually build it up to a longer distance, until you are walking a mile, then two, and then maybe three. As long as you keep moving, even in baby steps, you will be working towards your goal. The exercise component is so crucial to maintaining energy, boosting metabolism and helping you to feel better every day. Even the smallest amount of physical activity can reap big rewards. So get moving!
Eliminate liquid calories.Most of the members of my club had huge soda habits before shedding the pounds — several of them drank two to three liters of soda a day. Even if you cut just one 20-ounce soda each day for a year, you’ll save 91,000 calories and 108 cups of sugar — and potentially lose 26 pounds. The same goes for fruit juice, lemonade, sugary iced teas, and fancy coffee drinks made with whipped cream, chocolate and sugary syrups. Cutting out these liquid calories is often one of the first and most effective steps to losing weight.
Set both short and long-term goals.I think long-term goals are terrific, but short-term goals can be even more powerful because they reinforce success every step of the way. Members of the Joy Fit Club set daily, weekly or monthly targets to keep them motivated and focused; some were pound goals ("lose two pounds this week") and others were action goals ("make supper at home five times this week" or "don't snack after dinner"). Celebrating these mini-achievements reminds you that hard work pays off, boosts your commitment level and continually refreshes your motivation so you keep your head in the game.
Forgive slip-ups.Nobody eats perfectly all of the time. Every one of the weight loss superstars in the Joy Fit Club experienced slip-ups and fell off their plan from time to time. The difference this time was, instead of letting one high-calorie splurge or binge spiral out of control into a streak of overeating, they learned to get right back on track at the next meal or the very next day. Remember, nobody gains weight from one rich dinner or a single slice of cake — the real trouble starts when you allow an isolated splurge to snowball into an all-out eating frenzy. Take it one meal at a time, and learn to forgive yourself; every dieter veers off-plan from time to time, but the successful ones know how to keep those occasional lapses contained.
Avoid trigger foods.Everybody has them — those irresistible foods that elicit the “I bet you can’t eat just one” response. Pizza, pasta, corn chips, ice cream, cookies, even something as innocent as a handful of sugary cereal is enough to send some people off and running into binge mode. Recognizing and avoiding trigger foods is a great place to start, whether your goal is to lose 10 pounds or 100. With “trouble foods” out of sight and out of mind, it will be easier to stick to your plan and stay in control of your eating. Later, when your healthy habits become routine, you can consider reintroducing these foods into your diet.
Need a healthier replacement for your favorite indulgence? Try one of my energizing Nourish Snacks, which range from sweet to salty to chocolaty, to keep calories in check while satisfying the craving.