Growing up, I lived in a small town that required a car just to cross the street. We lived on drive-thru and junk food. I excused my girth as hereditary. Both my parents were fat, so it stood to reason that I was just going to be fat. But then I moved to a big city without a car, which meant walking everywhere. And because there was more to explore, I spent less time with Ben & Jerry. Over the course of seven months, I lost 70 pounds.
To achieve weight loss and maintain that goal weight, stop looking for that quick fix solution. Fasts, cleanses, pills and shakes won’t transform your body into a skinny 16-year-old’s overnight (or at all). For long-lasting results you have to make a long-term investment and that starts with making healthier choices and adopting new, sustainable routines.
Shake up your routine. Maybe a big move to a new town isn’t in your future but even minor tweaks can lead to major results. Change your meal times, alter your commute so you’re not tempted by your go-to drive-thrus, or take a 30-minute walk after dinner. Without the temptation of fast food options on my regular route, I was more motivated to prepare lighter fare at home.
Set realistic goals. Shift away from time-based weight loss targets (i.e., lose 10 pounds in two weeks) to more attainable behavior modification goals. Focusing on exercising and portion control helps minimize frustration with lack of visible results on a scale.
Make incremental adjustments. Keep track of your intake with a calorie-counting app to help eliminate empty calories. Replacing high-calorie snacks with healthier alternatives and drinking water or tea with meals will have dramatic results without too much sacrifice. Even after my massive weight loss, I still clung to my diet soda habit. When I made the switch to coffee for my caffeine fix, I dropped another five pounds.
Replace bad cravings with better ones. If you associate eating with a particular TV show, you may develop Pavlovian cravings for snacks while binge-watching Netflix. Trade your prime time snack for a cup of tea or an activity like knitting. Sipping a ginger-peppermint tea curbs the munchies and aids digestion.
Don’t punish yourself. Stop treating diet and exercise as a chore. If you’re only enduring a certain routine to meet a particular goal, you may become frustrated with the process-especially without immediate results-and give up. Find a way to treat yourself within your diet regimen.
Small, simple changes in your diet and exercise routines have a positive impact on your overall health. If you’re willing to invest time and patience, you will reap more satisfying rewards than any fad diet can offer.