The New Year is just around the corner, and if you are like most Americans, you’re probably mulling over your New Year’s resolutions. Likely, many people will find themselves committing to a new diet plan in an effort to lose weight.
According to The Washington Post, about 25 percent of people abandon their resolution to lose weight after a mere week. Picking a diet plan doesn’t seem to be the issue at hand. Rather, sticking to the plan appears to be the problem. So, is there any way to combat this motivational drop off?
Studies suggest that preparedness, finding a solid support system, and setting realistic, measurable goals, are three innovative ways to manage staying on track while dieting.
“Being properly prepared can make or break a diet plan. If you really want to lose weight and keep if off, diet alterations need to become a lifestyle change,” says Rhonda Bird Schlorff, licensed and registered dietician at Jersey Shore Hospital.
One way to prepare is to clear out all temptations from your refrigerator and cupboards. If Cheetos aren’t there to eat, you can’t eat them. It seems like a simple and obvious step, yet proves to be something people skip over. If you’re worried you’ll waste money, just think of all the cash you’ll save not buying those items anymore. Fill your kitchen with healthy food items that you enjoy eating, and always have visible, low-calorie snacks you can munch on if you have the urge to over indulge.
Once you have prepared what you will not eat, you’ll need to prepare what you will eat. A common excuse for practicing unhealthy eating habits is the convenience that packaged foods offer. To eliminate this pitfall, cook nutritious meals ahead of time so they’re ready when you need to grab something on the go. Crock pot meals or frozen meals made in advance can be a huge time saver, and will keep you on track.
Exercise preparation is another way to set yourself up for success. Let’s face it: most of us don’t look forward to exercise. Set up a realistic, enjoyable exercise routine and stick to it. Set reminders on your cell phone, write it in your day planner, or even download an app on your cell phone to frequently remind yourself.
Finding a Support System
Weight loss support systems can take different forms. Reach out to your family, friends, coworkers, and try to find a buddy that you can be accountable to. It’s always easier to remain firm with your choices when you have someone routing for you, or even better, going through the struggles of weight control with you. Exercise together if possible, prepare meals together, and most importantly, depend on each other emotionally. When you cheat and have that piece of cake it will help to have a buddy who can sympathize with you.
Aside from finding a support buddy, let the rest of your family and friends know that you are trying to stick to your diet plan and ask that they be supportive. For instance, your spouse may not be your workout buddy, but they can always help out by encouraging you verbally and recognizing your hard work.
Setting Realistic, Measurable Goals
Setting realistic, measurable goals is a sure way to keep moving forward through your weight loss experience. Goals that are realistic are more likely to be achieved, and measurable goals indicate accurate progress and feedback.
There are two parts to realistic goals. The first part is preparing what the goals will be. For example, consider variables like your current eating habits and how they could improve. Realistically, if you eat 3,000 calories a day, you are not going to wake up one day and start eating 1,500 calories. Being a realistic person, you would reason that a more gradual decrease in caloric intake would be more plausible to follow.
Setting measurable goals involves deciding what and how you will measure your success. Everything from the number of pounds you lose in a week to the amount of water you drink can be measured and tracked. A person is more likely to lose weight from the specific statement, “I will make it my goal to lose two pounds every week,” rather than simply stating, “I’m going to lose 30 pounds.”
Set short term goals and eventual long term goals to help make your progress a success. Leave the option of revising these goals open so that you can remain realistic.
Prepare, find a support buddy, set some realistic goals, and you’ll be sure to leave those unwanted pounds back where they belong, in 2015.
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