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Stop Waiting to Lose Weight: Five Ways to Start Today

Stop Waiting to Lose Weight: Five Ways to Start Today

Waiting to lose weight? You never will, unless you start today.

You’ve wanted to drop those 15 pounds (or five, or 50) for longer than you remember. But every time you start a new diet you lose a few pounds and then those old habits rear their heads again. Before you know it, you’ve gained it all back and then some. Here are five secrets to successful weight loss that will help you keep it off. (N.B., Of course, see your doctor before starting any diet or exercise plan. Make sure your body is ready for these changes. Don’t substitute this advice for that of a physician’s counsel.)

1. Do the Math

Your body is an amazingly designed, highly efficient, energy-processing machine. It’s a medical fact that if you give your body the right kinds of fuel in the right amounts, you’ll lose weight. Quit trying to starve yourself and learn to eat properly by being a math nerd.

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Start by understanding one fact: if you take in fewer calories than you burn, your perfectly designed energy-processing machine of a body will do its job. Find out how many calories per day your body needs to maintain itself at your current weight and you’ll understand what it takes to start shaving off those extra pounds.

Use a free online tool like this one from the Calorie Control Council and get the data you need to use math to melt it off.

2. Step It Up

You don’t have to be a triathlete to get in better shape. Here are a few ways to start moving more. Before you know it, you’ll be healthier and feel better, and the positive feedback in the mirror will keep you going.

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  • Park farther away. Even 50 extra feet from your workplace or the grocery store when you run your errands turns into 100 extra feet you walked on the round trip. Over the course of a year, all those extra steps will turn into lots of calories burned off your body, just by that one simple change. Think of your goal, not grabbing that convenient close spot, and you’ll see the results. Here’s a great article from the American Heart Association for more information.
  • Take the stairs. Climbing a few flights of stairs can burn off excess calories, melt fat, and does a lot for your muscle tone and heart health. Here’s one stair-climbing success story. 
  • Watch your step(s). Get a pedometer to keep up with how many steps you take every day. You’ll soon start seeing it as a goal and try to take a few more than you did yesterday. Every step burns calories off the old waistline. Here are more stats about taking more steps.

3. Use Food for Fuel, Not as Medicine

Sometimes we eat to comfort us when we’re feeling bad. The problem is, emotional eating doesn’t do anything to help our emotional issues; it just makes us feel worse the next day. Examining why you eat when you’re sad or stressed and admitting to yourself that it’s an issue is the first step.

Here’s a great article about how to examine why we eat at certain times, and what to do instead.

4. Understand What You’re Eating and What Your Body Does with It

Knowing how different foods are handled by your body’s energy machine will help you make better choices. Most people cannot sustain a radical diet for very long, and the result of many extreme weight-loss strategies (no-carb, all protein diets, etc.) is that people tend to rebound and gain more weight. Knowing what your body does with the fuel you give it will help you make better choices and lead to lasting success.

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Here is a primer from the CDC to get you started.

5. Win Today

You don’t have to focus on the 15 or 50 pounds you need to lose. If you’re focused on the big number, you’ll be discouraged every time you step on the scale. But if you simply learn to win today, every day, you’ll hit your targets and feel successful. Take in less than you burn, one day at a time, and your body will do the rest.

A good example is the 500 calorie plan. It’s pure fact that if you can reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories a day, you’ll lose one pound per week. It’s very easy to cut 500 calories in one day if you plan your food intake strategically. Think about the simple things, like substituting water for soft drinks. A typical soft drink or fruit juice has 120 or more calories per serving, so if you make three or four of those choices a day, you’ll hit your 500 calorie target without much trouble.

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Keeping it up, and making a conscious choice to win the Battle of Today, every day, will produce the leaner, healthier version of yourself you’ve always known was hiding under all those extra pounds.

Remember: You can’t lose weight tomorrow. Stop waiting and start weighing less, starting today.

Featured photo credit: mrd00dman via Compfightcc via flickr.com

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Last Updated on November 20, 2018

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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2. You put the cart before the horse.

“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

3. You don’t believe in yourself.

A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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6. You don’t enjoy the process.

Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

7. You’re trying too hard.

Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

8. You don’t track your progress.

Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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9. You have no social support.

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

10. You know your what but not your why.

The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

  • The more specific you can make your goal,
  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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