1. Don't give yourself a deadline.
Deadlines just create pressure and tension. Be comfortable with it taking as long as it takes. Besides, there’s no point losing weight quickly if you gain it all back again. Think sustainability. Always ask: Will I be able to maintain this?
2. Make a real commitment.
If losing weight is your goal, then make this a priority that you focus on completely. This means you'll have to arrange your schedule to be sure you have time to get proper sleep, nutrition, and exercise.
3. Don't overhaul your entire diet—make small changes.
This is too drastic and sets you up for failure. Instead of changing everything you eat, try cutting portions by 10%.
4. Keep a food diary.
This works wonders!
5. Aim for a routine you can maintain a year from now.
Waking up at 5am every day to run five miles might be impressive, but will you do this in six months? It may sound less exciting to walk a few times a week, but if that's what works for you, great! If you don't celebrate and plan for what you can realistically sustain, you're setting yourself up to feel like a failure.
6. Remember: exercise isn’t just for the gym.
Try to be more active in your daily life. Walk more. Take the stairs.
7. Do what you say you will.
Every time you make a plan and don’t follow it, you undermine trust in yourself. (That’s also why starting slow with small changes is so important.)
8. Find someone to help you.
This can be a professional or just a committed friend.
8b. But don’t listen to friends if they're unsupportive or bring you down.
Negativity doesn't help anyone.
9. Slow down your eating.
This makes you eat less and feel more satisfied. A win-win!
10. Don’t get hung up on theory.
Some people know everything there is to know about losing weight, and they’re still overweight. Focus on changing behavior, not learning facts.
11. Remember that failure is part of the process.
I'd guess that 90% of people who succeed at losing weight have a record of failures behind them. Failure in the past doesn’t mean you can’t succeed in the future.
12. Keep it fun.
If it feels like a struggle or painful, then you’re doing it wrong. Remember, you're trying to develop habits for the rest of your life.
13. Try to remove trigger foods from your life.
That means getting rid of the chocolates on your desk at work and that packet of cookies at home. If it’s not there, you can’t eat it.
14. Share food.
This works really well for things like ordering dessert at a restaurant. It’s a way to taste something without having to eat the whole thing.
15. Be prepared for mistakes and bad weeks. It’s OK.
It’s all part of the process. There’s nothing wrong with you if things go wrong every now and then. Take a deep breath, and start again.
16. Always learn from your mistakes.
If you ate too much on that weekend away, work out why. And try to reduce the chance of it happening again.
17. Expect plateaus.
It’s normal sometimes for weight to not budge, even if you’re doing everything right. Most people panic and give up at this stage. Don’t be one of them.
18. Remember that losing weight is not a short-term project.
This is the hardest part of losing weight, especially after the initial enthusiasm has worn off. My hope is that—if this is your goal—you'll keep going no matter what. If you do, you won’t be able to fail. And remember it's OK if it takes some time: you want to be slim and healthy for life.
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