Monday, November 22, 2010

7 Clues That You May Not Be Ready for a Diet

Have you ever tried to start a diet and had the most difficult time ever sticking to it? Most often that happens when you try to push yourself to go on a diet when you really don't want to. There is some inner resistance happening that will make failure certain (at least temporarily).

Below are 7 clues that you may not be ready to start a diet, along with tips for overcoming the resistance:

1 - You feel resentful or angry.

Does the thought of having to follow a specific eating plan bother you? Do you feel like it's a big pain in the you-know-what and you feel angry or resentful about it?

Overcoming this resistance can usually be accomplished by focusing on the parts of dieting that you DO like. Focus on having more energy, how good it feels to notice your clothes getting looser, or the high you get from seeing that you've lost a few pounds. If you can balance the negative with positive aspects, it helps reduce the resistance somewhat.

2 - You feel depressed about not being able to eat your favorite foods.

Usually this kind of resistance comes up when you are considering following a very strict diet that forbids most of the foods you love. But you don't have to follow such a strict plan to lose weight! Remind yourself that you can still enjoy foods you love, but you'll eat less of them. Maybe allow yourself one day per week where you can have a small treat. Or, make it your mission to seek out healthy alternatives to substitute the foods you love.

3 - You feel angry that everyone else can eat what they want but you can't.

Remind yourself that those people probably don't overeat the foods they love, and you are going to form better habits so you can enjoy your favorites without overdoing it.

4 - You start thinking about ways you can cheat.

Again, this is usually the byproduct of feeling like you must give up every food you love, and it's just not necessary to do that. Make a rule that you can have any food you like, but you are going to limit treats to once a week, or once every two weeks, and only a small serving. Then you won't feel the need to cheat because nothing will be forbidden.

5 - You hope to lose a LOT of weight FAST.

Unfortunately, it's not healthy or easy to drop a lot of weight quickly, and your desire to do so probably stems from the thought that you will only have to stay on the diet for a short time if you can lose weight very quickly.

Instead, focus most of your attention on improving your eating and exercise habits, and the more successfully you can do that, the quicker the weight will come off. And since you won't be attempting to lose weight through fad dieting or unhealthy activities, it will be more likely to stay off once you lose it.

6 - You see the diet as a temporary measure to drop weight so you can hurry up and go back to your old lifestyle.

Needless to say, this won't work long-term! See your new eating and exercise habits as a new lifestyle that you will maintain for the rest of your life, and you will find it much easier to stick with it.

7 - You blame everyone and everything else for the fact that you are overweight.

Diet success starts with taking full responsibility for where you are today. Even if you have "fat genes" in your family; even if you never realized how damaging excessive sugar consumption can be; even if no one ever showed you how to eat healthy - none of that matters once you take responsibility for your own health and well-being.

Once you can identify and resolve these inner conflicts, you'll find it much easier to start your diet and stick with it.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Common Beliefs That Can Stall Your Weight Loss

Most experts agree that weight loss is not just a physical endeavor - there are a whole bunch of emotional and mental issues that tie in to the size and state of your body. While weight loss is largely a result of calories in, calories out, there are also plenty of mental "stumbling blocks" that could slow you down or even keep you from reaching your goal weight at all.

Below are 7 common beliefs that could cause problems while you are trying to lose weight:

"I can't do it."

If you have tried unsuccessfully to lose weight many times before, you may find yourself struggling with a strong belief that you can't lose weight. Maybe you believe that you can only lose so much weight, or you may believe that you can't lose any at all. Either way, this kind of belief will override your desire to eat healthy and exercise, so that it seems like a constant battle to keep going and making any progress at all.

Overcoming this belief is as simple as reminding yourself that you can do anything if you simply take the right action steps. Keep telling yourself that millions of people successfully lose weight and keep it off, and you can too.

"I don't deserve it."

Low self-esteem can leave you feeling like a failure, even if you try to make the right moves toward a healthy body weight. If you commonly feel like you don't deserve to have a slender, healthy body, be sure to keep building up your self-esteem by saying daily, "I deserve to live a happy, healthy life, and the actions I take today will make that happen for me."

"I'm doomed to stay this way."

Sometimes it's easy to feel like the entire universe is against you, and no matter what you do you will stay stuck where you are. It's possible to feel this way even if you don't have any logical evidence to support such a belief, but it's even easier to feel this way if you consistently feel stuck in other areas of your life too. Keep reminding yourself that YOU are the only one in charge of your life. The universe is not conspiring against you - you simply need to take different actions to get different results.

"My family is overweight."

On some level you may know that just because your family is overweight does not mean you have to be too, but you may feel as if your genes are working against you. The problem with this perception is that you won't feel strong enough to even try losing weight - you'll just assume that because much of your family is heavy, you will remain heavy too. To overcome this belief, remind yourself that plenty of overweight families have one or two members that do not struggle with weight. Also remind yourself that more often than not, HABITS are passed down through generations, and those habits contribute to overweight problems much more than genes do. Change your habits and you will also change your body size and weight.

"No matter what I do . . ."

Do you ever say to people, "No matter what I do, I can't lose weight"? This is a sure way to create a self-fulfilling prophecy because you are essentially failing yourself before you even allow yourself a chance to succeed. Turn this around by saying, "I choose to be successful at everything I do from now on."

At first you may not really believe it, but eventually you'll see the proof with your own eyes. Also be sure to turn each day into a success. At the end of the day, say to yourself, "Wow, I intended to eat healthier today, and I did! That's success. I intended to work out, and I did. More success!" Just change the way you see success and failure, and you'll realize that they are nothing more than perceptions that serve you or work against you.

"It's too hard."

Even though most of us know that losing weight and changing our lifestyle habits isn't going to be easy, we try to convince ourselves that it will be easy so we don't lose motivation. Once we get going, however, we realize that it's harder than we thought it would be, and we begin to doubt our ability to keep going. At this point you just have to say to yourself, "So what if it's hard? I'm going to keep going anyway. I'm going to do my best, even if I stumble now and then, I'll still be making progress."

"I feel vulnerable."

Many people don't realize that they aren't overweight JUST because of their eating habits. More often than not, there are some emotional fears and traumas that cause them to put on the weight as a defense mechanism. They feel safer or more protected with the extra pounds on their bodies, and when they start to lose weight they end up feeling very vulnerable and exposed.

If this is a problem for you too, keep reminding yourself that extra weight doesn't really protect you from anything. If anything, it makes your life more difficult, physically, mentally and emotionally! Be willing to let go of the weight and be more vulnerable, and you'll likely discover a hidden well of strength you didn't know you had.

Rekindle Your Motivation for Weight Loss

What to Do if You Lose Your Motivation for Weight Loss

Virtually any weight loss plan you start will go smoothly at the beginning because you are fired up and eager to do what it takes to reach your goal weight. But over time, it's very common to start losing that inner spark. Before long, you may start feeling annoyed about having to prepare special foods for yourself, or just wishing you didn't have to work so hard at maintaining a healthy weight.

When this happens, you have reached a crossroads. You can either continue down the path of "this sucks and I don't want to do it any more" - or you can do a few things to rekindle your motivation so losing weight becomes exciting and fun.

How to Get Motivated Again

First things first - reconnect with the reasons why you initially wanted to lose weight. Why was that goal so important to you? What did you stand to gain from losing weight and getting fit? Spend some time really thinking about these reasons and ask yourself if they are still important to you.

Assess Your Plan

Now, take a moment to consider the weight loss plan you are following. Is your dissatisfaction stemming from the fact that you don't like the plan itself? Is it not working well for you? Is it very strict? Does it require a lot of time and energy to follow?

Remember that you don't have to be married to any particular plan! If you are no longer feeling the love for your current plan, you can easily explore others or come up with your own. You can even take components from several different plans and combine them into your own unique plan. Simply consider the areas you most need to change, and you'll be able to create a plan that helps you do that.

Create Coping Tools

No matter which plan you follow, you may need to think about ways to keep yourself feeling motivated and inspired as you go along. Create a "toolbox" filled with things that help you do that.

You can store a few pictures of yourself at a lighter weight to inspire you (or even magazine cut-outs of models with the type of shape you are trying to create for yourself), a blank journal in which to work through your feelings, a few bags of your favorite tea, a book of jokes - anything that would help boost your mood and rekindle your commitment to losing weight, add it to this toolbox.

Start Fresh

Now the only thing to do is start fresh again! Take it one day at a time and don't get overwhelmed. Remind yourself daily why you are taking these action steps, and keep your eye on the prize (your goal weight).

Zig Ziglar once said that motivation never lasts - that's why you need to do it every day, like bathing. That insight in itself is motivating because now you know how to motivate yourself, and you need only work at it a little bit each day to keep that inner fire burning.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Walking And Weight Loss

Walking And Weight Loss: The Facts

The facts about walking and weight loss are interesting. It seems obvious that running would burn more calories than walking, right? And therefore fast walking would burn more calories than slow walking. Of course, if you look at that in terms of time, it is true. Running for 10 minutes burns more calories than walking for 10 minutes.

But if you think in terms of distance, there is not so much difference. Walking for one mile and running for one mile will burn approximately the same number of calories. There is just a little more involved in running because the person is usually pushing upward as well as forward. But the difference in calories burned is not huge.

This means that if you are starting out with a fitness program with walking and weight loss, there is no need to stress about how fast you are going. Concentrate instead on the distance. Use a pedometer to measure how far you can walk in a half hour at a comfortable pace right now, even if that is a very slow pace. Then as you become more fit you will see that you can walk further in the same amount of time.

Eventually you may decide to move on to running, simply because it means that you can burn more calories in a shorter time. A good way to begin is to introduce short bursts of running into your daily walk. For example you might start with 1 minute of running followed by 7 minutes of walking. Gradually you can increase the running time and reduce the walking time until you are simply running.

Many people use a heart rate monitor watch while running. This can also be useful if you are interested in walking and weight loss or if you are following a combined walking and running program. You can keep track of your heart rate and in many cases set an ideal heart rate zone. The watch will beep if you go dangerously high or lazily low. Many watches can also be set to beep to tell you when you need to switch from one form of exercise to another.

Of course, if you choose walking for weight loss it is important to do it often. At least three times a week is recommended for any fitness training, and more often is better. To keep you motivated, it helps if you enjoy your chosen exercise. Walking in pleasant surroundings out of doors is often more fun than using a treadmill, and can help you to keep to your planned program.

Walking can be excellent exercise for anybody who has the use of their legs. Even if you are extremely unfit, you can probably stand and move slowly around the house for a half hour. Of course, check with your doctor first, but using a pedometer you will almost certainly find that if you spend a half hour walking every day, your distance will increase. That means that you will burn more calories. In this way, you can start to be successful with walking and weight loss.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Choosing an Online Weight Loss Program

You may have wondered whether an online weight loss program is worthwhile or not, and that will depend on a few factors.

- Convenience

One of the biggest reasons you may be seeking an online weight loss program is for simple convenience. Maybe you have a busy schedule and want to do most of your weight loss activities from home. Being able to log onto a weight loss membership program online any time you like can be very helpful in this respect. It's there whenever you have time, rather than forcing you to attend meetings or classes at specific times.

- Cost

Online weight loss programs are really quite affordable (most of them anyway). Usually for just a few dollars a week you can gain access to nutritious recipes, workout ideas, articles and tips, support forums and all kinds of tools and calculators to help you create a weight loss plan that works for you.

- Well Rounded

Ideally you should choose a program that addresses many different aspects of weight loss, like figuring out how many calories you need, exercise and fitness tips, balancing your intake of nutrients, supplement advice, and so on. As you probably know, weight loss is much more than just calories in and calories out. Yes, that's what it comes down to in a broad sense, but there are also tons of little things that can interfere with a successful weight loss plan, and there are tons of little things you can do to help make your transition easier. A well-rounded program will include many helpful tools and resources that help you do that.

- Support

Some online weight loss programs also include support features, like a discussion forum for members to communicate with each other, or even one-on-one coaching with counselors, dietitians, and personal trainers. Not everyone feels like they need support, but it's good to have it available if you should decide you need it.

Online weight loss programs aren't for everyone - some people actually enjoy going out to meetings and workout classes, but if you prefer a more solo journey, an online weight loss program might be just right for you.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Mental Tricks to Overcome Temptation to Eat

It happens to all of us: we're cruising along on our weight loss program, feeling great, staying on track - when suddenly a temptation is staring us right in the face. Maybe it's a box of donuts your oh-so-thoughtful coworker brought into the office. Maybe it's the scent of freshly baked bread from the bakery down the street. Maybe it's just a random craving that seemed to come out of nowhere, and now it has you in a death grip.

With most weight loss programs, there are only two possible responses: summon the willpower to ignore the craving and stay committed to the plan, or give in to the craving and feel like a failure.

Luckily, these are not the only two responses you can choose, and today we're going to share a few others to help you win the battle of wills the next time you face temptation:

1) Minimize the Intensity
The only reason cravings are so strong is because you create tension in yourself by saying, "I want that but I can't have it." Not being able to have something only makes you want it more! Instead, see the donut (or whatever is tempting you) for what it really is. "It's just a blob of flour, sugar and fat. Yes, it smells good, yes, it would probably taste good, and if I really want to eat it, I can. But do I really want to?" You'd be surprised how well this approach works - it knocks that smug donut right off its pedestal and minimizes the intensity of the craving.

2) Long-Term Gains
Is the enjoyment you would gain from eating one donut worth missing out on the accomplishment of reaching your weight loss goals? Granted, in the heat of the moment it might seem worth it. But if you take a mental step back from the craving and remember how badly you want to feel the joy of being slender and healthy - suddenly the benefits the donut offers seem shallow and fleeting in comparison.

3) The REAL Deprivation
Wanting a gooey goody and not allowing yourself to have it triggers a strong sensation of deprivation - but if you do give in to the craving, what are you REALLY depriving yourself of? Success? A feeling of pride about your appearance? Those slender, slinky, sexy clothes that you've been dying to wear? A longer life? Better quality of life? Is a donut really worth that?
Once you get into the habit of seeing temptation in a different light, suddenly it doesn't seem so hard to overcome it and stay focused on what you REALLY want - that beautiful, healthy, strong body.