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Winning the Long-Term Weight Loss Game

Jul 5, 2008
Any effort towards weight loss grows stagnant at some point. After the initial high of seeing the numbers on the scale descend, sticking points and plateaus are inevitable.

The usual reactions, including frustration and dwindling confidence, often lead to completely abandoning the effort. It's easy to see why this happens, especially because the initial period of any weight loss or fitness endeavor usually shows more rapid, noticeable improvements.

Yet, abandoning the fitness quest is not a productive course of action. The very act of giving up is what causes the yo-yo syndrome of weight loss/regain that ultimately damages the body and should be avoided at all costs. No matter the level of frustration that builds, taking action and staying focused on goals is going to be more productive in the long run.

Here are five ways to revolutionize and refocus weight loss efforts that have slowed, stalled or grown stagnant:

Rethink Attitude: Mental attitude towards weight loss can waiver dramatically along the route to a healthier lifestyle. On Day 1, the mind can is often screaming "Let's Do It!" but, by Day 16, the once-focused brain might be tired and frustrated, emitting squeaky little cries of "Why bother? No matter how hard I try, I'll never lose all this weight!" Attitude is a huge determinant of behavior so get that attitude adjusted as soon as it strays from a productive viewpoint.

Manage Emotions: Feelings can derail weight loss progress FAST! Whether it's a sudden eruption of emotions, like PMS-influenced flashes of anger or moodiness, or an emotional reaction to an event, like a workplace disagreement, managing emotions is a key ingredient to consistent weight loss progress. If there is confusion around what emotions exist, it may be time to do an emotional inventory. Write down every feeling that occurs for a period of 10 or 15 minutes. If you're holding some emotions back, they'll surface, given the opportunity. Being able to feel whatever emotions occur is a healthy way of processing them and getting to know emotional patterns.

Find Support: Any time the idea of quitting a new lifestyle effort occurs is a key time for support. It may come in the form of a friend or family member. It may be more helpful to seek out those who have been successful achieving a similar goal. For instance, your brother, who quit smoking two years ago, might be better support than your best friend who also struggles with weight and hasn't solved the problem. The professional help of a coach, mentor or consultant is a good step to take if your social network doesn't include anyone who has been successful at what you want to accomplish. The advantage of a professional is that they have experience, training and objectivity, whereas a friend or family member may not have these assets to share with you.

Connect to the Big Picture: Details can be overwhelming, especially when they include plans for shopping and preparing food as well as scheduling and executing exercise plans. Getting out of the fine print of life and seeing the bigger plan or vision can be very motivating. At least once a day, take a few moments to see the larger vision. Where are you headed? What will your life look like one year from now? What's the next step towards that ultimate goal?

Accept the Natural Pace: For many reasons, long-term successful weight loss is always slow. Instead of focusing on the unfairness of that fact, or spending energy trying to prove that fact wrong, accept that every journey towards permanent weight loss is unique. It's fun, bumpy, slow, sad, happy, frustrating, and many other things. There is nothing wrong with any of these states. The journey is slow so that your body can adjust without being threatened, and to promote patience. Celebrate that it can happen! What if, once gained, weight couldn't be lost? What would that be like?

The most important factor for successful lifestyle change is consistency. Using these tips to work through the tough spots will help develop the persistence and consistency that leads to ultimate success.
About the Author
Pat Barone, CPCC, PCC, earned her title "America's Weight Loss Catalyst" by coaching thousands of clients toward permanent weight loss. Her status as an expert is heightened by her own personal weight loss success. Receive her free newsletter "The Catalyst" by visiting
patbarone.com
today!
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