10 Easy Steps to Hit Your Dream Weight

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There’s one universal truth about losing weight: it ain’t easy. But it can be done, and it’s not really all about dieting. Here’s how it’s done:

STEP 1: PREP YOUR BRAIN

Your attitude is just as important to your success as how you eat and exercise. Ask yourself, what’s your motivation to lose weight? Is it bikini season? Is it to please a guy/girl you’re dating? If so, rethink things. Once people reach a short-term goal like that, they tend to go back to their old habits and regain the weight. Instead, focus on several small steps – like exercising three times a week or eating breakfast everyday – and one long-term goal, such as “I want to feel and look healthy.” The small victories will keep you motivated while you give yourself the time you need to reach your ultimate goal.

Next, ask yourself if your expectations are realistic. No one gains a stone in three weeks, so why would you expect to shed that amount that fast? Expecting more dramatic weight loss only sets you up for discourage and failure.

Finally, review your past mistakes. Think of all the diets you’ve tried and what happened. It’s hard to recognize bad habits or illogical thought processes while you’re doing them. But once they’re in the past, they’re easier to identify and amend.

STEP 2: KEEP A DIARY

Start your diet by writing down what you eat, including how much you had, the time you ate it and how you were feeling. This is a real eye-opener for people who think they eat healthy but can’t lose weight. Some realize they’re eating because they’re bored, stressed or hungry, others are munching out of habit. If you’re on your computer a lot like myself, use Wordpad, your phone or a little notebook to keep track. Then you can really see for yourself if you’re been “a good girl/boy”.

STEP 3: LOOK AT WHAT TO EAT

You could start out by cutting back or cutting out fast/junk food and eat the healthier stuff such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and replace sugary cereals with high fibre ones. It was hard for me to give up sweets but that doesn’t mean you should give up treats. At the end of week, you could treat yourself with a slice of apple crumble because you’ve been disciplinedt and should never deprive yourself because you might only start overeating again.

STEP 4: LEARN HOW MUCH TO EAT

Most people eat more than what their body actually requires and complain they are “too full”. I know a number of friends who work 9to5 and most skip their breakfast only to eat more during lunch and either snack way too much before dinner. Try to have a daily routine and have breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time. Remember, you don’t necessarily have to finish what’s on the plate. Eat to fulfill your hunger, not until you’re too full.

STEP 5: TEACH YOURSELF WHEN TO STOP

Spend at least 15 minutes on every meal. Take moderate bites, chew them completely and pause between mouthfuls to see how full you are. Give your stomach a chance to tell your brain it’s had enough.

STEP 6: EAT BREAKFAST

People don’t eat in the morning because they think they’ll save calories. But breakfast prevents you from becoming ravenous and making bad food choices as a result. Plus, if you don’t eat within two hours of waking up, your metabolism slows to conserve energy. A good option? A veggie-filled omelette, a piece of fruit, half a cup of low fat yogurt and two slices of wholewheat toast. The protein and fat keep you feeling full because they take a long time to digest and the carbs energize you.

STEP 7: BEWARE OF YOUR DRINKS

I have a friend who was getting 800 calories a day just from drinking soda. That soon adds up to alot. Alcohol is another no-no, at least for the first few weeks of healthy eating.

STEP 8: GET ACTIVE

Start slowly. Work out for 10-20 minutes three times a week, then tack on five minutes every week. Work up to 45-60 minutes of biking, speed-walking, running, aerobics or another cardiovascular exercise five to seven days a week for peak weight loss. Once your cardio becomes a routine, add two 20 minute sessions of strength training (weights) per week.

STEP 9: DON’T STOP EATING

When people start to see weight loss, many are tempted to speed things up by cutting even more calories or skipping meals. But that can send you into starvation mode. Your body will cling to food and your metabolism can slow by 20%. Have dessert once in a while too. Avoiding all things sweet (or salty) only leads to binges or burnout. No food should be completely off limits.

STEP 10: BE FORGIVING & KEEP AT IT

So you had a slice of cake. And it was huge. Instead of being angry at yourself, just start being good again immediately. Women often think, “I’ve blown it – I’ll start again tomorrow” but you need to get back on track with the next meal, not the next day. The extra calories you ate will barely dent in your weight – if that’s where it ends.

Women who lose weight and stay slim are the ones who continue to exercise regularly for a long time after they’ve shed pounds. Successful slimmers also say they occasionally return to the tricks that got them there: portion control and using a food diary. From time to time, all of us need these tools to get through a stressful period or buffet-filled holiday. These are good habits you should keep for life.

 

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