Wednesday, September 22, 2010

12 Steps to Successful Weight Loss

One of the greatest dilemmas dieters face is how to achieve successful weight loss. If you have tried dieting before, like most dieters, you probably know the disappointment that comes with seeing the weight you lost slowly creep back on and feeling hopeless. But despite the dismal statistics on weight loss and regain, there are many who lose the weight and keep it off. Maybe you too can achieve lasting weight loss. Here are 12 steps to help you get started.

Set realistic goals. It will take time for you to get used to a new way of thinking about food, eating and exercising. Give yourself the time you need to make changes and adapt your taste buds to more nutritious, naturally good food.

Talk to a nutrition professional. Registered dietitians are the healthcare professionals most qualified to help you identify the best strategy for losing weight and keeping it off.  Unfortunately, too many dieters overlook this vital resource that could make their weight loss journey much more successful.

Face your personal issues. You need to figure out what is causing you to gain the weight and what is making it so difficult to lose it. In many cases, the problem is not just about calories in versus calories out. Try to identify what triggers your unhealthy eating habits and find ways to overcome them.

Create your own personal weight loss plan. It's a good idea to write things down. But if you are not one for writing things down, you have to find a way to remain conscious of your goals and what you need to do to achieve those goals. It might be something as simple as sticking up little sticky notes around the kitchen, on the mirror or near your computer. The key is to do what works for you.

Shop like you’re on a diet to lose weight. What you buy is what you will eat. That means, in order to be sure that you are eating the foods that will help you lose the weight you have to shop for those foods. So, don't go shopping mindlessly. Sop the perimeter of the store. And be sure to read food labels and avoid foods that could disrupt your diet.

Cook like you are on a diet. It may be hard to adjust your family recipes to make them healthier. But if you are truly committed to losing the weight, you will find a way. A dietitian can help you find the right solutions. In some cases, it may simply mean adding half the fat, sugar or salt that you're used to.

Eat out less often. Fast food chains and other popular restaurants serve so much food, it is insane. The only way for you to avoid a calorie overload is to avoid eating in places where the food is loaded with calories from fat and sugar and where the sodium content is excessive.

Make it easy to eat healthy. Stock your cupboard and refrigerator with the foods you know will help you lose the weight. Plan and prepare meals in advance. And pack your own meals and snacks.

Choose foods that are high in essential nutrients. With so much of the food in supermarkets being highly processed, it is becoming extremely difficult to find wholesome and nutritious foods. Shopping at your local farmers' market might be your best bet. If not, shop the perimeter of the store for fresh produce.

Make every bite count. In order to lose weight, you will need to cut back on the number of calories that you consume. You can cut yourself some slack by exercising more. Try to get at least 90 percent of your calories from foods that have a high concentration of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. The other 10 percent could be used as you like.

Have a support system in place. The road to successful weight loss could be a long, winding and bumpy road. Having a support system in place can help you to stay focused when you are facing obstacles that make you want to quit.

Pray. One of my favorite verses in the bible is the one that says, if you have faith like a mustard seed, whatever you ask, believing, you shall receive. Open your heart and mind to the divine, and God will help you find the way to successful weight loss.