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Successful Weight Loss

Ingredients for Success

By

Updated March 29, 2010

You already know how to lose weight. At it's simplest, you need to burn more calories than you eat, right? And exercising and eating healthy is the healthiest way to do that, right? But, successful weight loss doesn't start with your body--it starts with your mind.

As we've all discovered, the mind is a powerful thing--it can take you to success or failure, depending on your attitude. What you think about yourself can make the difference between reaching your goals and quitting before you even get started. So how do you get your mind right to make exercise and healthy eating a part of your life? Below are some key ingredients you can rely on to reach your goals.

Commitment

You already know you have to commit to being healthy, but what does that actually involve? Being committed means you have to wake up every day and decide you're going to make healthy choices. Being committed is a choice and something you have to reinforce each day. So how do you do that? Use these tips to help you commit to your goals:

  • Plan and Prepare. The night before, plan your workout for the next day and get all your stuff (gym bag, clothes, etc.) ready to go. Decide what and when you'll eat and get your meals ready. Make it as easy as possible to follow through with your plans.
  • Motivate Yourself. Remind yourself throughout the day of your workout plans--send yourself a reminder or have a friend call and ask about your workout, so it's always in the front of your mind.
  • Hold Yourself Accountable. What will happen if you skip that workout? You need to have consequences so that missing your workout isn't an option--maybe you can't watch your favorite TV show until you exercise. On the other side, you can also reward yourself for working out--just make sure you don't reward yourself with food.
  • Remember Your Goals. As you're getting ready for the day, remember what your goals are. Weight loss? More energy? Whatever it is, that workout is an important step in reaching it. Remind yourself of the big picture--what you do today counts.

Discipline

Such an ugly word, I know, but discipline is part of successful weight loss and just another way of saying self-control. Think of how you practice self-control in the other parts of your life. Each day you fulfill your obligations to work and family, even when you'd rather just lie in bed and sleep late. That takes discipline. The same can be true of exercise. Of course, it's easy to make yourself go to work because there are consequences if you don't--you won't make as much money or you could lose your job. But if you don't workout, the consequences aren't as immediate, are they? Try these ideas to get more disciplined with exercise:

  • Make Exercise a Habit. Part of being disciplined is creating a habit. You may not want to brush your teeth every night, but you do it anyway because you always do it right before bed--it's a habit. You can do the same thing with exercise by keeping your workouts on specific days and times each week (if you can). Knowing that every Monday at 6 a.m. will find you at the gym will make it that much easier to show up for your workouts.
  • Know the Consequences. You already know what happens if you don't brush your teeth--cavities, gum disease, painful dental experiences, etc. But what are the consequences of not exercising? Make a list of all the things that could happen to your body and mind without exercise such as weight gain, increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, to name a few.
  • Get Some Help. One sure way to show up for your workout is to have someone waiting for you. One option is a personal trainer--someone who will hold you accountable for your workouts while educating you all at the same time. Another option is to get a workout buddy and have consquences if you don't show up. Having that support will make exercise more enjoyable AND keep you on track.
  • Make a Deal With Yourself. Don't feel like working out? Promise yourself you'll just do a warm up. If after 10 minutes you still don't want to workout, you can quit and go home. The majority of the time, you'll keep going. If you're still struggling, take some time to ask yourself these questions before you skip your workout. You may just change your mind.
  • Think of the Benefits. There are some amazing health benefits of exercise such as protection from cancer, a better sex life and more energy, just to name a few. Reminding yourself of what you're getting out of your workout may motivate you to get started.

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