The last time you went on vacation did you plan where you'd go,where you'd stay, how long the trip would last, what you might dowhen there? Most of us follow a plan every day, even on days wedo the sa
The last time you went on vacation did you plan where you'd go, where you'd stay, how long the trip would last, what you might do when there? Most of us follow a plan every day, even on days we do the same thing as always, we still have a basic structure to our day. Why then do we attempt to lose weight without making a similar plan? How are we supposed to make progress if we simply hope for the best and then go face the world? It's no wonder we forget our resolve to eat better by 10 AM.
It's far easier to reach your destination with a map; therefore, here is your roadmap to permament weight loss. Follow these five steps, every day for one week. At the end of the week (say Sunday evening) take stock. How has the week gone? Did you follow through? Did you make a plan and then follow your plan?
Make adjustments where necessary. That's the whole point. When you discover a plan that really is workable, you'll be much more likely to work toward following through until that new plan becomes your new habit.
Each week decide if you'd like to follow the steps for another week. It takes some discipline to follow-through, but anything worthwhile takes effort. Even the lottery requires buying a ticket.
STEP 1: State What You Want to Achieve in the Next Month
"I want to lose 50 pounds."
Is that achievable in the next month? If not, break it down into smaller mini-goals. "I want to lose 5 pounds this month."
What other ways can you describe what you want? Try using other senses such as what you'll see, what you might hear (compliments, etc.) and what you will feel:
"I want to step on the scale and see (a certain number) of pounds (remember keep it reasonable for something you can achieve in one month).
"I want to feel my pants getting looser."
"I want to see myself in the mirror wearing last year's bathing suit and it fits."
"I want other people to notice my clothes are getting too big for me."
"I want to easily bend over and touch my toes."
"I want to get up from a seated position, easily and gracefully."
Those are positive goals. Focus on what you want. How you want to feel, what you want to experience. Imagine hearing these things, feeling these things. Does it "feel" right? Are there any issues that pop up regarding what you are imagining? If so, you'll be able to refine your goals as you progress.
STEP 2: Make A Plan
Get out your weekly calendar and start with eating less (portion control), eating more (healthier foods), or eating differently in some way. Obviously, you're going to need to make some changes but that doesn't mean you have to find the latest fad diet to follow. Absolutely the best thing is to look at how you eat now and see where you might make some changes.
Do you eat pizza every Friday night? What if you ate it only three Fridays a month? What if you stopped at one slice less than usual? I've noticed that Friday nights I can easily eat four slices yet Saturday leftovers one slice seems to be plenty. What's different is that Saturdays don't have the "indulgence" atmosphere that I associate with Friday nights. Have you noticed anything similar in your eating habits?
Do you mindlessly snack out of the bag of chips until they're all gone? Start to use some portion control. Take a small bowlful to your chair instead of the whole bag. Decide in advance how many bowls you'll eat, and stick to your plan. Be reasonable. If you know it's going to take three bowls full of chips, fine. It's still probably less than eating the whole bag, and later you can cut it back to two. One day you'll find a handful or two is plenty.
Gradually cutting back on quantity, gradually introducing other ideas such as an apple here and there, modifying what you prefer to eat is a far better approach than eliminating all your favorites. The former is a way to develop an eating style that works for you and that you can live with. The latter (fad diet approach) is fine for short-term weight loss but that weight inevidebly comes back simply because you'll eventually go back to the eating style you prefer.
STEP 3: Consider Exercise
Adding regular exercise helps more than anything else because the more active you become the more calories you burn, and if you build muscle, the more calories you'll burn at rest. What, when, how often? Do you need equipment, books, tapes or can you just get started and gather the other ingredients as you go?
Write it all out. Your plan should include which days of the week and at what time. Don't make the mistake of trying to decide you'll exercise every day. You're not likely to stick to a plan that doesn't have build-in off days. Make it easy at first. You can always add more later.
Hate to exercise? Think outside the box. Exercise does not have to mean getting sweaty to the oldies. It can be gardening, bike riding, it can be enjoying nature. Anything where you're up and doing something other than sitting watching TV, unless of course you're using DDR (Dance, Dance, Revolution) or the new Yourself!Fitness program for X-box, PC and PlayStation. Dance, play, go fishing. Whatever floats your boat but get out and get busy.
STEP 4: Decide Whether Your Plan Is Workable For You
Take a look at your plan and decide whether it's possible. If not, make changes until it is.
Start by listing each individually what you want to achieve, and then answering the question of how you will achieve it?
1. I want to eat less quantity. I'd achieve it by having half or three-quarters of the amount I usually have. See if that is sufficient. Keep a food diary for one week, religiously writing down everything that goes in my mouth.
2. I want to eat more, healthier foods. I'll achieve this by adding more fruits and vegetables for snacks, so when I'm hungry, or think I'm hungry, I'll have an apple or some carrots. This has the added benefit of more nutrition.
3. I want to eat in a different manner. I'd achieve this by pay more attention while eating. Turn off distractions. Think of each bite as a separate event. Write down what I'm tasting and see what I notice now that I never noticed before? Different smells, sights, textures, and subtle tastes. I'll make an effort to really chew each bite at least 10 times.
4. I want to add some exercise. I'll achieve this by doing some research at the library or on the Internet about what I might enjoy, then perhaps get a free pass to my closest gym, talk to friends, borrow exercise tapes. Consider hiking. Find exercises I can do in front of the TV at first, or on the floor in my bedroom when I first get up. Whatever works.
I'm willing to experiment until you find what works best. I don't care if other people see me getting started. I'll start slowly, then add more after the first few weeks, when I'm ready.
Finally, close your eyes and imagine carrying out your plan. If you chose getting up an hour earlier, see yourself doing it. Does it fit? Are you a night person? If so, an early morning workout probably won't pan out -- stick to midday or evening workouts. Find what fits for you. Can you really see yourself doing what you've chosen, regularly? If not, adjust, find something you will do regularly. It's consistency that gets the results.
STEP 5: Set Up Plan A And Determine What You Need To Get Started
1) I need a small notebook I can carry with me for keeping track of what and when I eat (only needed short-term to get an idea of what I'm eating now and where I might make small changes).
2) Need monthly calendar to track my exercise minutes, even if it's only 10 minutes this month and 20 next, that's progress. You are after progress, not perfection. There is no such thing as perfection.
3) Visit library or order book online for using bodyweight for exercises. Pushups, crunches, etc., can be done without any extra equipment.
4) Buy healthy foods to have on hand such as fruits, cut up vegetables. Visit different grocery stores and markets to see what's there I hadn't noticed. Make dinner at least twice a week and freeze leftovers into ready-to-eat frozen meals.
5) Purchase or order supplements, protein powders, videos, etc., if I want them.
Putting It All Together
Start working your plan. Don't wait for the next full-moon or some other arbitrary starting date. Just get started. The sooner you start, the sooner you begin to see results.
If you use EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), do it at least three times a day. It only takes a couple of minutes and you can do it while you do other things, so get it done. Check in with your list of behaviors you'd like to change, and then work on one issue each week or until it becomes a non-issue, then move to the next.
You might start with frustration that things aren't happening fast enough, since this is a common early annoyance and one that drives many people right back to the couch:
Example EFT statements:
"Even though I'm frustrated by all these instructions, I deeply and completely accept myself."
"Even though I don't want it to take so much effort, I deeply and completely accept myself"
"Even though I hate all this and just want to wake up skinny, I deeply and completely accept myself."
No matter what, if you are putting attention on this process, then you are making progress. It doesn't matter if you keep to your plan exactly. What does matter is that you make a plan at all.
If you make a small effort every day you'll find that some days will be better than others, and that's okay. It's easy to forget, and fall back into our usual patterns which is why keeping a notebook handy helps keep you on track. So does scheduling your workout time just like you would any appointment, and then keeping it.
The goal isn't to be perfect -- it's to take action.
You can use a grading system, such as one point for achieving each item on your list, and tallying the points at the end of the week. You could also color in the squares on the calendar, so when you achieve what you planned, you color it in, but if you didn't achieve what you planned, you don't color it in, or different shades of color. That way you can see at a glance how often the calendar is colored, how many squares are missing, etc. You can also see as months go by how you are improving.
If you exercise five days this month, then 10 next, and 20 after that, you're improving. You're getting fit, and the weight will be coming off. Having a visual display of your progress can help keep you on track. Remember, expect to be human (less than perfect) and you won't be disappointed.
If you believe you must have a strict plan, that's okay, as long as you're aware that a slip from time-to-time is not the end of it. Slips are nothing more than a learning experience, then you go ahead to see if you can prove me wrong. That would be great if you never slipped. Just no matter what, no matter if it's been a week since you did anything on your list, it does not matter; just pick up where you left off and start again. Slowly you'll falter less and succeed more.
The goal is to build strength and fitness into your daily life. Better to go about it slowly and achieve small successes than to jump in with all your heart and never come back for day two.
Small Changes Equal Big Results
There are 365 days in a year. If you achieved your goals on 200 of them this year wouldn't that be an improvement over last year? As you improve, your weight will fall. That's how it works. That's why people who achieve their best weight and maintain it have learned how to stay "on plan" more often than "off plan." Eventually you don't really think of it as a plan at all but just how you are. It becomes your new way of life.
Use these five steps to get started on a plan, right now. Start by getting a small notebook, then starting writing down th days of the week, thinking about your schedule and how you'll make some changes to your routine. After all, it's your present routine that isn't working, so you must make some changes. Make them fit, and then you'll fit into those small jeans in no time.
Kathryn Martyn, Master NLP Practitioner, author of the free e-book: Changing Beliefs, Your First Step to Permanent Weight Loss, and owner of http://www.OneMoreBite-Weightloss.com Get The Daily Bites: Inspirational Mini Lessons Using EFT and NLP for Ending the Struggle with Weight Loss. http://www.onemorebite-weightloss.com/getnews.html