22 Tips For Weight Loss
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
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
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.