By: Frederick Entenmann
Are your weight-loss plans already teetering? Have you lost your original motivation you had at the beginning of year with your goals?
If it were easy to stay motivated to exercise and eat right, then we'd all have rock-hard abs. Alas, the drive to get out of bed for an early morning sweat session is elusive, except for those infectiously positive and perky fitness trainers and instructors—or so you thought.
While there is a lot of bewildering information out there, implementing successful lifestyle modifications involve a three-pronged approach:
Nutrition: making dietary changes
Exercise: making time for more exercise and doing the most time effective techniques
Habits: incorporating behavior adjustment techniques to make the diet and exercise improvements stick
Here are six proven simple lifestyle changes you can make to get you on the road to permanent weight loss. I have used these techniques, along with others, with much success in my former private practice helping clients lose weight and keep it off.
Learn how to practice self-control at all times. As an advocate for self-control, watching how much you eat is one of the best ways to lose weight. I counseled clients for years, and saw time and time again that when clients watch the sizes of their portions (aka eat less), they shaved hundreds of calories daily, and lost weight effortlessly. While it may seem obvious that larger portions have more calories than smaller portions, most people don’t recognize just how many more calories a large portion contains. Another advantage to practicing portion control is that you do not have to cut out entire food groups to get thin and you get to indulge in your favorite treat every now and then. No dieting and no deprivation.
Instead of dwelling on the foods you cannot eat, try instead to focus on what you can have. I would tell my clients that there is no restaurant that is completely off limits. You can always find something healthy to eat. For example, when going to an Italian restaurant, instead of dwelling on the fact that you shouldn’t eat fettuccine alfredo, called a “heart attack on a plate” by the Center of Science for the Public Interest, think instead of what you can eat: whole wheat pasta with veggies and fresh tomato sauce or fresh grilled fish with sautéed spinach.
Keep Food Records
There is no better way to get a handle on what and how much you eat than by keeping food records. And, for the good news you do not have to keep records forever. People who keep records are generally more aware of the mistakes they make and are then able to make corrections. Food records help you see your patterns, both positive and negative ones. Are you snacking in front of the TV without realizing it? Are you famished when you get home from work so you eat whatever is on the counter? By identifying your bad habits, you can easily find substitutes for new habits.
Eat Structured Meals & Snacks
Speaking of mindless eating, one advantage to eating structured meals and snacks is that you tend to get famished less often. And when we are famished, we tend to just grab whatever food is in sight, right? And, we also often end up grabbing junk food. Knowing this, planning in advance is extremely important. Keep healthy foods at an arm’s reach and bring along a fruit and yogurt if you know that it will be hard to buy something healthy mid-afternoon. This is also where a healthy Propello Life protein shake can come in handy as well. You can use it to support muscle repair after a hard workout and to boost your protein intake when you just can't get enough from whole-food sources. Adding protein powder to your diet without cutting calories will not help you lose significant weight, though. You must use it as part of an overall low-calorie plan, along with exercise, to get weight-loss results.
All exercise helps. The key is to do what you enjoy and follow an exercise program you can consistently stick with. You do not have to spend thousands of dollars on a fancy gym. Lifestyle activities also add up. For example, take the stairs and walk around the block at lunch. I also advise taking advantage of different exercises you enjoy during the different seasons: for example, swimming outdoors in the summer, taking a walk on the beach, and skiing in winter. The key is to follow an exercise program that you can stick with for the long haul.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
I am a big advocate of focusing on progress, not perfection. It is important to take stock of the changes you’ve made so far and look at the big picture. For example, if you need to lose 50 pounds, and already lost 10 pounds, recognize your accomplishment, instead of complaining that you have 40 more pounds to lose. One way to recognize your progress is to try on some old clothes. Seeing that they are too loose can help you actually see your accomplishment.
Let us know some of your tricks and tips for sticking with a healthy lifestyle. And as always, please let us know what you think of the blog and if you have any questions.
About the Author:
Bestselling Author & Consultant
Founder & CEO of MIND BODY LIFE