Why a Life Style Change is Necessary to Get Healthy and Lose Weight

 

Though there are several different approaches to weight loss, one thing remains constant in all of them – you need to change your lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the Paleo diet or attempting to follow the Slow-Carb Diet; if you want to lose weight and keep it off, you have to make changes that you’ll be able to stick within the long run. This can be hard at first, but by focusing on these three tips you’ll find that making healthy lifestyle changes will become much easier in time.

Lifestyle changes like this take time

One of the biggest reasons why most people fail at losing weight isn’t due to a lack of motivation, it’s because they aren’t realistic about how much change is needed. It takes time, effort, determination, and grit for you to lose weight and keep it off, so setting short-term goals that you think are quick fixes (like a 5-pound weight loss in two weeks) will only fail. A much better way of thinking about losing weight—and being more successful at doing so—is by focusing on small changes over time. Why? Small steps add up over time, creating lasting habits that lead to results.

No quick fixes

Fad diets are big business. They promise easy weight loss and a slimmer physique, but they rarely deliver on those promises—which means you’re likely to regain whatever weight you lose in no time at all. That’s because it takes more than short-term dieting to change your life. It takes long-term changes in how you eat, how much exercise you get, what types of foods you eat, where they come from, and whether or not exercise becomes part of your routine. Once those changes become habits that can last for years without fail, your chances of losing weight permanently increase dramatically—and so does your health.

Don’t beat yourself up

As you begin eating healthier, it’s easy to feel guilty if you eat something that doesn’t fall in line with your healthy habits. But beating yourself up about that piece of cake won’t help. It can lead to more bingeing. Instead, think back on how you were feeling when you ate it. Think about whether there was an emotional trigger or some other stressor in your life at that time? Write down these feelings so you don’t have them lurking in your subconscious later. Sometimes just naming them and putting them on paper can be an effective way of dealing with feelings that bubble up unexpectedly or inappropriately.

Diets don’t work

More than 95 percent of dieters will regain any weight they lose within two years, according to research published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Since most people regain more weight than they lost within a year, diets are more aptly described as short-term solutions rather than long-term cures. If you’re trying to stay healthy, it’s far better to make permanent changes in your lifestyle instead of pursuing quick fixes that might not work in the long run. Once you learn how your body responds (and reacts) when it’s fed different types of foods, you can use these insights to make better decisions about what to eat. The key is self-awareness—learning how food makes you feel so that over time, eating well becomes second nature.

Just do it!

If you want to get fit, you’re going to have to do something active every day. You don’t have to run for an hour every morning or be in a kickboxing class at night—just move! Some examples of things you can do are: taking your kids or pets for a walk; walking around while talking on your cell phone; using your lunch break as a time when you leave work early to go shopping (on foot); taking stairs instead of elevators; parking at the far end of lots so that you have extra walking time; doing housework or yard work while listening to music through headphones. Movement helps keep stress levels down and will help stave off disease in addition to helping you lose weight.

Consistency matters most

You can’t expect to succeed in your health or weight-loss goals unless you consistently take care of yourself. You don’t have to be perfect—no one is, after all—but if you consistently miss appointments, skip workouts, or eat unhealthy foods on days when you didn’t have time for anything else, it won’t be long before you give up on your goals. Research suggests that consistency plays such an important role in successful health behavior change that failing just once can make it more likely that you will fail again later on down the road. Put another way: When success breeds success; failure breeds failure. This isn’t rocket science; it’s common sense.

Have patience with yourself

You must have patience with yourself during your weight-loss journey. No one ever said losing weight was easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard either. Focus on smaller changes that can bring you towards progress—and eventually lead you towards success. If you tell yourself that losing 10 pounds in a week is completely out of reach, it will only encourage unhealthy habits like crash dieting or giving up entirely. Instead, promise yourself small, specific goals throughout your weight-loss journey—and celebrate every victory as a step closer to achieving your final goal. It’s all about building healthy habits now so you can develop healthy relationships with food later on down the road. Want some more support?

Surround yourself with people who will support you

While it’s great to surround yourself with family, friends, and other people who are trying to lose weight, don’t ever rely on someone else—even if they’re close—to motivate you. The only person who can be responsible for your motivation or lack thereof is you. If you need help getting started, find a friend (or two) who has made healthy lifestyle changes in their life. They’ll not only provide some social support but will also likely be able to offer helpful insight into what worked for them. And maybe, more importantly, they’ll want you to succeed.

Track your progress by taking pictures or measurements

Self-monitoring allows you to spot trends that tell you if your goals are on track. Measure weight, take photos of your body, monitor how many steps you take per day, or keep track of how often you’re practicing your instrument. If a trend is going in an unhealthy direction, it’s much easier to change course quickly when there’s data available. If nothing changes—keep doing what you’re doing! Self-monitoring can be very motivating when used properly.

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