Losing weight isn't rocket science, but keeping it off can be more difficult that traveling to the moon. The key to successful weight loss isn't a miracle pill or plan; rather, it's a matter of determining why you're overweight and designing strategies that will counteract the cause of those extra pounds. Follow these guidelines to get on the right track to weight loss:
Why are You Overweight?
For successful weight loss, it's important to understand why you are overweight. You may have become sedentary, you may have a genetic predisposition to being heavy, you may eat for emotional reasons, or perhaps you're a triple-dipper and are overweight for all three reasons. Once you pinpoint the reason or reasons you're overweight, you can develop a weight loss approach that works for you.
Solving the Problem
If the pounds have crept on because you lead a sedentary lifestyle, it's time to get up off the couch and get moving! You don't have to become a gym rat, but you do have to start incorporating movement into your life. After getting a green light from your doctor, start with a brisk ten-minute walk three times each. When you're able to walk and hold a conversation without getting out of breath, you can increase the duration of your walks by ten-minute increments. Gradually add variety to your exercise routine, perhaps enrolling in a water aerobics class or even buying that gym membership. The key is to start slowly and find ways to move that are enjoyable for you. If you remain engaged and avoid boredom, you're more apt to stick with your program.
If your parents, grandparents, and/or siblings are overweight, you probably have a genetic tendency to carry excess weight. However, that doesn't mean weight loss is elusive. You may never be model-slim, but through dietary modifications and exercise, you can achieve the weight that's right for you. The key is to set realistic goals for yourself and to work a little bit harder to overcome your genes.
If you're overweight because you turn to food for solace, it's time to dig deeper. Start by keeping a journal and carrying it with you wherever you go. Each time you find yourself reaching for something to eat, identify the circumstances and what you're feeling. Note the date, time, your activity, and the feeling you're experiencing in your journal. Perhaps you're bored on a Saturday afternoon and grab a bag of chips to nosh on to fill the time. Maybe you're anxious about a deadline at work, and so reach for the candy dish on your desk. You could be mad at your sister for dumping the responsibility for your parents' anniversary party in your lap, so you swing through the fast food drive-through. After a week or two, review your journal entries and note any emotional patterns that emerge. Then come up with activities that you can use as substitutes for eating. If you eat out of boredom, for example, find a hobby that occupies both your mind and your hands. You won't be as likely to reach for the chips, and you'll cut out the extra calories in the process.
Regardless of the cause of your extra pounds, you can take concrete steps that will put you on the road to weight loss. And, because you're addressing the issues that led to you being overweight in the first place, you're more likely to keep the weight off.