Want to lose weight? Take a brisk walk! Cut down on sugar! Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day! If only it were so easy: Incorporate a few key pieces of advice and watch the pounds simply melt away. But as anyone who’s undertaken a nutrition and exercise program knows, transforming your body and improving your health takes more than a couple of guidelines. It requires willpower, and an ability to remain steadfastly on track for the long term, when the dieting grows more tedious and your workouts start to interfere with myriad other commitments.
In other words, when real life intrudes on the best-laid plans. However, there is hope. Through the power of a positive attitude and the following motivational strategies offered by the Diabetes & Nutrition Education Center at GMC, you can stay on track and accomplish your weight-loss goals.
Prior to the construction of a home, a builder draws out the plan piece-by-piece from foundation to completion with specific deadlines and milestones. It is important to structure a weight-loss program in the same way—write down your goals and the steps needed to achieve them. For example, if you want to lose 10 pounds in three months, create a timeline detailing week-by-week shopping strategies, exercise tips and so forth.“Your goals need to be reasonable and achievable,” says Cris Hartley, R.D., CDE, manager of the Diabetes & Nutrition Education Center at GMC. “We also encourage our clients to focus on the actions needed to meet their goals.”
Visualize the Finish Line
Make your goals as real as possible by visualizing yourself succeeding in certain situations, like making the choice to eat an apple instead of a candy bar. It will also help to picture the results you’ll see in the mirror from working out, say, 45 minutes a week instead of 30. Then, when faced with the chocolate temptation, or the feeling that you’re too tired to work out, you can respond by imagining clearly how good it will feel when you achieve that visualized goal.
Don't adopt an "all or nothing" attitude
You shouldn’t approach weight loss by thinking you need to do everything perfectly or all is lost, which will set the table for almost guaranteed failure. For dieters, a common thought is, if you give in and eat that one piece of cake, all of the hard work you’ve put in to that point is ruined. Instead, take such a minor (or even major) setback as a learning opportunity—ask yourself why you ate the cake or skipped the workout, and you will know how to approach the situation better in the future. But remember to always be kind to yourself.
Don't Self Destruct
It may be corny, but there’s an important lesson to be found in the classic children’s tale The Little Engine That Could. When faced with disappointment and difficulty, the engine stayed optimistic by chanting, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” Weight loss can benefi t from positive thinking in much the same way.We often sabotage ourselves with negative thoughts such as “I’ll never lose weight” or “This is too hard now, but I’ll try again later.” Against that backdrop, it becomes all-too-easy to convince yourself to throw in the towel.“It is important to acknowledge that setbacks will happen, but you can use your setbacks as learning opportunities,” says Hartley. “When this happens, remind yourself of what you have done and make changes if necessary, but remember to stay positive.”
Root for the home team
Take time to recognize your progress, and don’t focus on the setbacks. Think of all of your accomplishments, whether they are personal, professional or physical, and repeat this often to help feed your motivation. If you accomplished those goals, surely you can accomplish this one. You need to become your own best friend and respect yourself in every way. “Be sure to reward yourself along the way for each success in your weight management journey,” Hartley recommends.
Think it, see it, do it.
The old axiom “believing is achieving” is true—but that is only part of the story. You have to act on your weight-loss goals. You will have to change your diet and increase your physical activity. You can’t just think yourself two sizes smaller, but you must put yourself in the right frame of mind to achieve your goals.
If your confidence is wavering, practice positive thinking. Repeatedly telling yourself that you can and you will succeed will go a long way to making that statement a reality.
The Diabetes & Nutrition Education Center at GMC offers nutrition education by registered dietitians specializing in weight management. Our dietitians will work with you to develop a comprehensive weight management plan that is tailored to meet your specific needs. As your personal weight management coach, your dietitian will guide and support you in making this healthy lifestyle change.We have two convenient locations to serve you, in Lawrenceville and Duluth. To make an appointment, call 678-312-6040. Visit gwinnettmedicalcenter.org/DNEC for more information.