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The Voice of the Black Community

Health

Stick with your weight-loss goals
Don't let the cold, dreary days of winter get you off track
 
Published Thursday, January 31, 2013 11:30 am
by Brandpoint

Are the cold, dreary days of winter tempting you to let your weight-loss goals fall by the wayside? If so, stay the course with these tips

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Experts say sticking with your weight-loss goals begins with figuring out your motivation.

from registered dietitian and program manager of the 90-Day Challenge for Lifetime Fitness Anika DeCoster:

1. Find your motivation.

You can’t lose weight because your doctor said to, or your spouse hinted you should, or a close friend passive-aggressively suggested it. “Real winners spend time thinking about and identifying their own motive for losing weight,” DeCoster says. “The more emotion you put into something, the more likely you’ll commit for the long term. Spend time reflecting and understanding why you’ll stop at nothing to achieve your overall goal.”

This doesn’t mean you have to face your weight loss challenge alone. DeCoster said the goal is to acknowledge that you are the only one to actively change your behavior.

2. Learn how and make it a habit.

“As the saying goes, ‘motivation is what gets you started, but habits are what keep you going,’” said DeCoster. Forming healthy lifestyle habits will lead to long-term weight loss success, but making changes takes work and time.

“Most people know what they need to do but often prevent their own success because they never take the time to learn how,” DeCoster says. “For example, you might want to eat healthier and know that you should eat more vegetables, but if you don’t know strategies to add more vegetables to your diet, your success will be limited.”

Do your research or hire a coach to help you learn about sound nutrition and exercise.

3. Write your goal down, and publicize it.

A 2007 study from Dominican University in California reported that people who put their goals in writing are more successful than those who think about them. Success rates increase further when goals are made public. Participants in the study who merely considered their goals succeeded 43 percent of the time, whereas those who wrote goals down increased their success rate to 64 percent. Those who wrote down their goals and reported their progress weekly to a friend succeeded an average of 76 percent. Thanks to the Internet, you can share your progress via social media.

4. Take a “before photo.”

You might want to skip this step, but don’t. A before photo is the starting line, the benchmark to stay motivated and be reminded of how far you’ve come. DeCoster says photos should show as much skin as you would in a swimsuit and should capture front, back and side views.

“When you are the one losing weight, it can be hard to see the daily metabolic change that is going inside of your body,” DeCoster said, adding that along with the photo make sure you jot down starting weight and measurements.

5. Focus on good behaviors to master, not bad behaviors to stop.

Make your weight loss journey a positive one. “Instead of telling yourself you really need to stop eating fast food for lunch, focus more on planning and packing lunches instead. Instead of telling yourself you can’t have any sweets, remind yourself you’re choosing healthier rewards,” DeCoster explains. The shift may seem subtle, but the payoff to the approach results in long-term lifestyle changes.

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