Follow these twelve simple tips to kickstart (or reinvigorate) your weight loss program.
1. Write down your weight loss goals. Make sure each goal is realistic, and that you have included a time line. Break down larger long-term goals into monthly or weekly goals so you can stay on track without feeling overwhelmed. It’s important to commit these goals to paper, so write them down and display your goals where you will see them each day.
2. Each time you reach a goal, reward yourself with a treat. For best results, this treat shouldn’t be any kind of food. Reward your new healthy lifestyle with a 30-minute massage, a new exercise video – anything that celebrates you and your success without sabotaging it.
3. Drink lots of water. Stay hydrated by drinking ½-ounce of pure (bottled or filtered) water for every pound of body weight. That means, if you weigh 150 pounds, you need to be drinking 75 ounces of water each day – or between 9 and 10 8-ounce glasses.
Drink a glass of water immediately upon waking. And, throughout the day, everytime you feel your energy levels start to dip, drink another glass. Pure bottled or filtered water can really give your mood a boost.
4. Eat a nutritious breakfast. Start your day off right with a nutritious meal, and include some form of protein. For maximum energy and concentration throughout the day, include complex carbohydrates, such as natural whole-grain cereal or bread, as well as a low-fat protein, such as skim milk, cottage cheese, or low-fat yogurt.
5. Get in the habit of exercising every day. Your daily exercise regimen doesn’t have to be strenuous. It just needs to be consistent. And there are lots of ways to avoid boredom and to get excited by your daily exercise routine. Try walking or jogging outside instead of on the treadmill. Or listen to a motivational book-on-tape or mp3 as you work out.
6. Eat for health. Think about food in terms of “bang for your buck. " Opt for nutrition-dense foods.
7. Eat for energy. Whenever you overeat, you rob your body of energy. Think of food as fuel. Keep an energy journal in which you log the way your body and mind respond to different food choices.
8. Help your mind and spirit to accept and welcome your new body image with behavior modification techniques. A subliminal or non-subliminal audiotape or CD, for example, can help you envision yourself as a fit, lean, healthy person who loves to exercise.
9. Subscribe to a healthy-living or fitness magazine. These magazines feature low-calorie, nutrient-rich recipes – as well as inspiring weight-loss success stories.
10. Stop eating after dinner.
11. Join a support group. This can be a group of family members or neighbors – all committed to improving their health - or a simple online weight loss community. Talking about our daily challenges and victories is highly motivating.
12. Track and record your weight loss efforts, in detail. You can do this on a hand-written chart, a simple computer spreadsheet, or in a journal or computer program designed for this purpose. Track your food intake, water intake, and exercise for the day. And make sure to weigh-in at the same time each week, so that you can track your weight loss results, too.
Jamie Jefferson is a frequent contributor to the Free Article Bank as well as BestSelfHelp.com , which feaures recommendations for weight loss programs and behavior modification audiotapes and tools. Read a Weight Watchers review here .