You try to eat healthy and lose weight but inevitably, end up falling short. Frustrated as to why? A recent article from CNN hopes to dig up some answers by examining the 5 habits of highly successful dieters.
In addition to the scientific evidence backing all of the article’s findings, I can personally attest to the success of these strategies as someone who has achieved a 20-lb. weight loss and maintained it for 5+ years now.
Of the habits listed in the article, I especially agreed with the last one which is all about willpower. I think you really have to want to be healthy to achieve it. You don’t just wake up one day a healthy person. You have to work for it and keep working for it every day, forging new and healthy habits. And although it’s hard work, the benefits are absolutely worth it.
Strategy # 1 – Be specific and set specific goals. If you want to lose weight, pick your goal weight and begin working toward that. If you want to run a 10K, get a running plan in place. Otherwise your goals remain out of reach.
Studies show that we only become motivated when our brain detects a difference between where we are and where we want to be. So by setting a clear target, we up the chances of our success.
Strategy # 2 – Create an OK-to-eat plan. In an ideal world, we would always be in complete control of our meals. But too often, we’re not. We travel, we vacation, we work from the office. We’re busy. But a simple solution is devising an ‘if-then’ plan.
If I’m at a fast food restaurant, then I’ll order a salad.
If my friends want pizza for dinner, then I’ll get the thin crust with veggies.
If I’m out for ice cream, then I’ll opt for one scoop instead of two.
Studies show that we’re two to three times more likely to reach our goals if we devise a safe-to-eat plan before we find ourselves in tricky eating situations.
Strategy #3 – Track your success. Celebrating mini-milestones is great. But when we focus too much on what we’ve achieved instead of how much further we have to go, we can lose site of our goal.
To stay motivated, monitor your progress. If you’re 5 pounds into on your 20-lb. weight loss, visualize the 15 pounds you still have to go. Doing so will motivate you to keep working hard and continue in your weight loss.
Strategy #4 – Be a realistic optimistic by knowing that achieving your goals isn’t easy, and that working hard at it 2 days out of 7 won’t yield noticeable results.
Believing you’ll succeed is vital. But believing you will succeed easily can be your downfall. A study following 24 women enrolled in a weight-loss program showed that those who thought they could lose weight without much effort lost 24 pounds less than those who knew it would be difficult.
Realizing it will be hard work will empower you all the more to work harder toward achieving your goals.
Strategy #5 – Strengthen your willpower. Practicing self control is like building a muscle. The more you work at it the easier and more natural it becomes.
To strengthen your will power, do something that causes you to override an impulse – like reaching for a healthy snack when you really want a potato chip – and add that to your routine. And be reasonable in doing so. Pick one struggle area to work on at a time instead of choosing three, feeling overwhelmed, and giving up.
And that’s how the experts do it! Just remember these 5 strategies as you work toward achieving and maintaining a healthy diet. You’ll be much more likely to succeed with these helpful tips in mind.
March 19th, 2012