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22 Tips For Weight Loss Success

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

As everyone knows, the holidays are really challenging for dieters. The numerous activities involving food, seasonal parties, family traditions, and more all seem "out to get us." The holidays may also bring up strong emotions that we are used to "comforting" with food. While these challenges may seem formidable, they are not insurmountable.

Take a deep breath and ask yourself what kind of holiday you want to have. What is your vision for the coming year? What would you like to have be different from past years? Who do you feel positive and upbeat around? Who leaves you feeling drained and self-critical?

Tools for Healthy Weight Loss

1. Be Prepared. Like a good scout, think ahead to likely problems. Try to predict potential times and places that cause you high stress. Then make choices about which events you will attend and which ones you wont. If a social situation is more likely to be stressful than enjoyable, you may want to decline the invitation.

2. Strategize. Devise a strategy for food-centered events ahead of time. Don't plant yourself by the hors d'oeuvres or buffet table. Busy yourself by talking or helping, not eating. Don't let shyness or feelings of discomfort propel you to food. If you can't think of anything to say, just be a people-watcher.

3. Pay Attention To Hunger Cues. Many dieters, who hold off on eating in anticipation of an event find that eating just a little more than their normal level -- that extra piece of bread or mouthful of dessert -- pushes them to a point where they can no longer judge when they have had enough. As a result, they more easily overeat (or eat to a point of discomfort).

4. Commit. If the weight and eating goals you have set for yourself are important to you, then they must be given some priority in your life. Are you honestly willing to do what it takes to make them happen? Like any endeavor we undertake, changing your eating habits may take time, attention and commitment. If managing your weight is a sincere goal, then go for it! If not, don't waste your time, energy, money and self-esteem on something you don't see as a priority for yourself right now, and make peace with who you currently are. It's your life, and only you can make this decision.

5. Keep Eating. Eat regular meals to help reduce the chance of binging or focusing on food too much.

6. Indulge. Allow yourself some treats, if that's what you need. Deprivation is not self-care and is more likely to lead to resentments, binges, or further lapses.

7. Be Patient. Most lifelong habits develop over time. Allow yourself to determine what feels comfortable, what is working and what is creating discomfort for you. Then see if you can do something to turn these efforts into long-term commitments.

8. Recharge. Plan time for self-care, to regenerate, relax and refocus on your goals. This may mean talking a walk, going to the movies, immersing in a hot bath, listening to music, taking time to call a friend or loved one, meditation time, or anything else that gives you a time-out to recharge.

9. Keep Moving. Set realistic steps for keeping active, even in short increments, to reach a daily activity goal. If you're not the exercise type, don't forget cleaning the house, parking your car further from the door, hauling groceries -- and putting them away one by one so you're up and down more -- all contribute. Elevator, escalator or stairs? As a friend says, "Why ride when you can walk." Better, of course, is a regular exercise routine. It will not only support your diet goals but also help you to maintain the structure you have created over the holidays.

10. Reach Out. Think about doing some volunteer work or reach out to others in order to let go of the self-focus that can sabotage your resolve.

11. Set Limits. Make a plan about boundaries that may need to be set with others. For example, Thanks for your concern, but I dont care to talk about my weight," or "Please leave it up to me to decide about the portions and foods I will eat.

12. Talk To Yourself. Make use of positive self-talk statements. This may include such things as: I have a right to say no; I know I can handle this situation; I am honoring my health by making this choice; I am worth taking special care of myself during this season; I dont have to do this perfectly but can focus on doing a few positive healthy things each day. You can also follow this up with a gratitude list at the end of each day, no matter how small it may be.

13. Forgive Yourself. If you binge, overeat or indulge in foods you generally avoid, this doesn't mean you have "fallen off the wagon." Remind yourself that this behavior will decrease over time, as you develop healthier attitudes and eating practices. Don't punish what you perceive as "bad" by stuffing yourself or depriving yourself. Instead, recognize what you are feeling and give yourself what you need.

14. Honor Yourself. You are the one, who decides what foods make eating a positive experience for you. Recognize the things that support your goals and remind yourself to repeat them until they become second nature. This is the best way to generate a lasting effect.

15. Take Inventory. When you feel the urge to eat, decide if you are actually hungry. If not, try to figure out what you really do want at that moment and respond suitably. The most common reasons for over-indulging are embodied in the acronym HALT -- for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. Of course, there are other reasons too, such as being bored, frustrated, unsatisfied, nervous and the like. Food is not a satisfactory resolution to any of these needs.

16. Reward Yourself. Keep an ongoing list of activities other than eating that enable you to relax, regroup, and satisfy real needs. Post it someplace where you will see it before unthinkingly reaching for something to eat.

17. Be Optimistic. Many dieters have come to believe that efforts to change their eating habits, exercise, weight, and such are bound to fail (again)! As you try to make changes, do you become discouraged by the "failures" you perceive along the way? How you view the events in your life can make a big difference to the outcome. So, rather than bemoaning setbacks along the way, look for ways to work around them or push through them. Successful people view obstacles as temporary deterrents and a challenge, rather than a sign of failure.

18. Stay Calm. Make an extra effort to begin each day with some meditation or deep breathing, even if it is just for 10 minutes. This can set the tone for the day. Take mini-relaxation breaks during the day as well. The idea is to simply sit quietly and clear your mind.

19. Use Social Smarts. Plan your social life, so it doesn't revolve around food. Invite friends over for a game of cards instead of dinner; organize a book or movie club, where you discuss something you've read or seen; go out to a concert instead of a restaurant; plan a walk with a friend rather than sitting down to a cup of coffee.

20. Be A Learner. Consider everything as instructive. If you aren't happy with the path your diet is taking, think about what you can do differently next time. Try to find the useful parts in what has occurred and use this information to move you forward.

21. Honor Everyone. Appreciate the diversity in size and shape of the people around you. Let people know that health, beauty and satisfying lives come in all sizes. Keep in mind that what we weigh is only a small part of who we are. And be sensitive to others, remembering that what people weigh isn't a subject for unsolicited comments or advice.

22. Enjoy. Finally, take pleasure in the foods you choose to eat. Food can be your ally, rather than your enemy, if you adopt these ideas.

Remember, only you are ultimately responsible for your health and diet choices, not family, friends, partners, therapists or others in your support network.

Nutritionist Nikki Goldbeck, co-author of The Healthiest Diet in the World and seven other food-related books, runs a nutrition practice in New York's Hudson Valley. To learn more about her work, visit Healthiestdiet.com.

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