What if I told you that there is a guaranteed formula for successfully losing weight and changing any unhealthy habits that led to your weight challenges? Well, my friend– there is.
Over the past 50 years, several experts have provided different theories of how to bring about effective change, primarily focusing on business organizations. I’m sure there have been other who have provided theories on how to create positive change either for groups or individuals, but I’m currently following a model that seems to be working for me, and I’m confident that it will work for you, too.
- Stop the negative thinking
- Set specific goals
- Pursue your passion
- Find a tribe to support you
It seems awfully simple. However, if you really embrace these steps, you WILL make progress toward your goal of
Stop the negative thinking
“I can’t lose weight because…”
“I’ll never be a size (insert number here).”
“What’s the point of losing weight– I’ll just put it all back on again.”
Knock it off. You CAN lose weight, because you are strong, and now you have a plan.
You’ve got to stop the negative thinking. But you can’t just stop the negative thinking– you have to replace it with positive thinking.
Print off these inspirational quotes, cut them out, and tape them to your bathroom mirror, fridge, steering wheel– anywhere that you can see them regularly to remind you that you can do this!
Use these positive thoughts as your mantra when you’re out walking and thinking about taking a short-cut, when you’re doing sit-ups and it hurts so bad you just want to stop, when you’re trying to talk yourself into doing your workout when you just don’t feel like it.
Set specific goals
If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know how to get there?
“I want to lose weight” isn’t a goal.
“I’m going to lose 15 pounds in 3 months,” is a goal.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with your goals, and be realistic with deadlines.
Here are few examples of goals you might try to embrace:
- Lose 5 or 10% of your body weight
- Eat 3 servings of vegetables every day
- Exercise 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week
- Limit calorie intake to 1,200 a day
- Stop drinking soda and other sugary drinks
- Train for a 5K (walking or jogging)
Once you’ve established some specific goals, consider how long it might take to achieve them. If you want to lose 20 pounds, be realistic about how long that could take. The common rule of thumb is one pound of weight loss a week (if you want to keep it off, that is). That means you can expect it take as long as 20 weeks (more than 4 months) to get there.
Pursue your passion
You’re rewriting your story. When you choose to make the changes you need to make to take a healthier path, you’re choosing to change your history. You’re going to feel more confident, and that confidence can be channeled into a pursuit of your passions.
What really excites you? Do you love to sing? Ache to paint a landscape? Got a hankering to travel? Have a heart for ministering to the homeless? Chase after it.
I love to write. Blogs posts about fitness, yes, but I’m also working on a novel. Two of them, actually. My negative thinking seeps into my passion. I’m not a “real” writer, I tell myself. No one will ever want to read my stuff, says that nagging negative voice in my head. I hear it– but I write anyway. Doing something I love has the same effect as getting a pedicure– it’s investing my time in something that makes me feel good about myself.
Maybe you want to become a yoga instructor, conquer a spin class, or run a 5k without stopping to walk– pursue it. With intention. With a destination in mind.
Find a tribe to support you
Whether it’s a family member, a local Weight Watchers group, or an on-line support group– link arms with people who will cheer for you on your good days, pick you up and dust you off on your bad days, and stand on the sidelines with a bottle of water and an encouraging word of encouragement scrawled on a poster board sign when you’re ready to cross the finish line.
It’s not just “one of those things” that folks throw into their articles about weight loss. A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Medicine showed that people were more likely to stick to their weight loss goals when they had real, live people supporting them in their journey.
I’m going to recommend that you choose someone other than your partner or a close family member as your accountability partner. Why? Because while they probably want to see you succeed, they’ve probably seen you fail a few times, and they know the warning signs. If they see them, they may just step back and let you fail. They may also be enabling you in your unhealthy habits. Try to find a fresh set of eyes and ears and shoulders to lean on. You can always join my on-line support group, Not-So-Fit Girls Getting Fit for support, tips, encouragement, and grace.
What goals are you setting to help you make healthier habits?
Cheering for YOU!