Oftentimes, my clients tell me that in general, they know what they need to do in order to reach their goals, but they fail at the follow-through. I spend a lot of time thinking about what it takes to stick with a plan and be successful.
As many of you know, I have a weight-loss story of my own. In the last 2 years, I have lost nearly 70 pounds and have managed to keep it off. Just 2 short years ago, I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded or do a body-weight squat. If you want to read more about my story, check out this blog post.
When embarking on a lifestyle change, don’t even try to change until you’ve learned some important skills, such as how to motivate yourself every day, how to get yourself to use good eating habits, and how to get yourself back on track immediately when you make a mistake.
Here are 6 of my tips to ensure long-term success. Figure out what works best for you and implement them. I think number 6 is probably the most critical!
Create a list of reasons why you want to make a change. Pull this list out and read it every morning, and also when you feel like throwing in the towel. I also recommend writing down a few things you’re thankful for at least once a week.
Stop looking for the perfect diet or the perfect combination of foods. Eat in a way that’s healthiest for your body (this looks different for everyone) but allow yourself to have one favorite food once a week. Schedule this into your week. For example, you may choose to have this meal every Saturday for dinner.
Control your environment. Clean out the pantry, refrigerator, and shelves, and get the crap out of your house. You are less likely to make unhealthy choices if the food isn’t readily available to you.
Make a plan of all your meals and snacks for the day and prep the food ahead of time. Eat only when you are actually hungry and not when you feel like eating or because it’s “lunch time.”
Practice mindful or intuitive eating. Eat everything sitting down, slowly, and enjoy every bite. It’s much more difficult to allow yourself to eat off plan, eat mindlessly, or binge if you are doing this.
Have an accountability partner or coach. Oftentimes, we know what we need to do to be successful, but we fail at the follow-through. Having someone who will keep you accountable is the key to success. While it’s important that your close friends and family members are aware of your goals, they generally don’t make the best accountability partners because they are emotionally invested in your situation and are more likely to allow you to slip. A personal trainer or nutritionist are perfect accountability partners. If you know you have to be accountable to someone, you will be more likely to stay on track