If you listen to the weight loss industry, you've been told over and over how easy it is to lose weight--just take this pill, follow that diet or buy this piece of equipment and everything will melt away in a flash. In fact, we spend over billions of dollars each year on weight loss products and services and yet we're still overweight.
If you struggle with weight loss, as most of us do, you've figured out just how hard it is to lose weight. The question is, why is it so hard and is there anything you can do about it? There's no shortcut to weight loss, but you can make the process easier with a few simple changes.
Complex Problems, Simple Solutions
The idea behind weight loss is simple--burn more calories than you eat. This can be accomplished by replacing a couple of sodas with water and adding at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Sounds simple...and it is. If it's that simple, why can't we seem to do it?
There are a number of factors that contribute to our weight gain that you already know. But it's not just about finding time to exercise or choosing the salad over the burger--it's about genuine commitment to make healthy decisions every day....regardless of what's happening in your life. If you're not ready to make some changes, losing weight will be hard. Below are 10 things you'll need to look at in order to get yourself on a healthy track.
1. Your Attitude. If you're only on a health kick to lose weight or look a certain way, it will be hard to lose weight permanently. Why? Because, what happens if you don't see results quickly enough? You give up. Weight loss is a great goal, but unless you have something else to motivate you, what's to keep you going if the scale doesn't budge? It takes time to lose weight--how will you motivate yourself in the meantime? Find more reasons to be healthy--having more energy, dealing with health problems or just feeling stronger and more energetic. Keep an exercise journal and write down every single success, whether you're losing weight or not.
2. Your Workouts. If you don't workout consistently enough, it's hard to lose weight. Yes, it's possible to lose weight through diet alone, but you'll likely hit a plateau. You don't need to spend hours in the gym, you only need to set up a reasonable workout schedule that you can follow each week. It's not about killing yourself with workouts--it's about finding something you like and that you'll continue with for the rest of your life. You have to be willing to be more active on a regular basis--not just for a week here and there. My Beginner's Corner can give you some idea of where to start.
3. Your Eating. Changing the way you eat is another thing you're going to have to do for long-lasting weight loss. You need to be willing to replace unhealthy foods with healthier choices most of the time. That means:
- Keeping a food journal
- Spending more time in the grocery store reading food labels
- Spending more time preparing meals
- Understanding proper portion sizes
- Making conscious choices about what you put in your mouth.
4. Your Lifestyle. If you want a healthy life, you have to be willing to change how you live. It doesn't mean changing everything overnight, but simply being open to new ways of doing things. Some things you might need to change for a healthy life are:
- Daily Routines. You may need to get up earlier to prepare your lunch or squeeze in a workout, use your lunch hour for exercise or go for a walk after work instead of watching TV. Exercising on a daily basis changes your entire day, so sitting down with your schedule to see where those changes need to happen is your first step in establishing an exercise habit.
- Limits. You might need to set new rules for yourself limiting how much TV you watch or how long you sit at the computer. You'll need to pay attention to how you spend your time and where you're out of balance so you can add more movement.
- Your Pantry. I'm the kind of person who will eat an entire bag of Doritoes if they're in the house. That means I don't keep them in the house and if someone (ahem...husband) brings them home, he must immediately re-locate them elsewhere. If you want to be healthy, you may need to get rid of those foods you just can't resist.
- Your Schedule. If you're not willing to sit down and change the way you live each day to include exercise, time to prepare meals and time to nurture yourself with sleep, it's hard to lose weight. People use busy schedules as an excuse not to be healthy...are you one of them? If you're not ready to take responsibility for the schedule you've created, it will be hard to lose weight.