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Losing Weight for 2008? Step 1 - Have a Plan of Attack

Sunday, January 6, 2008

2008 is here, your New Year's Resolution is to lose weight. But are you finding that you're having trouble sticking to it already? Take babysteps. Trying to change your complete routine all at once and diving right in by exercising, dieting, drinking more water, etc., will cause you to completely overload and quit earlier than if you took it slower, step by step. First things first, sit down and make out a list and be honest.
  • How much weight do you want to lose?
  • What specific areas of the body are the ones you want to focus on the most or first?
  • What exercises are going to help you get there?
  • What are the foods that make you weak and lose self control?
  • How much are you willing to spend to control your weight?
  • Are you committed to succeeding?
  • How did this weight come about?
  • Do you have a work out buddy?
  • Are you taking a multivitamin yet? If not, why not?

Jot these down on a paper. Let's go over them one by one.

First, determining how much weight you want to lose is very important. Ideally you want to lose 1-2 lbs a week. In the beginning you might lose rapidly, because of the changes you make however slow or not, but you should strive to only lose 1-2lbs a week, as anything more might not stay off for good. So go over the math, if you want to lose, for instance, 30 lbs, it should take you anywhere from 15-30 weeks to attain. Get a calendar, and check off what days you will be on this diet, go over any special events that might derail you and allow for time to help get you back on track. Do NOT get upset if it takes longer, the longer it takes the better it actually is for your body.

Second, get down to your undies and snap a picture of yourself. I know, not the best thing for your self esteem, but seeing yourself in print or on screen (digital camera) might help you stay committed. It might also help you spot areas that you might not've thought were a problem til seeing them from the camera's angle. Amend this section after snapping the picture, in case there are additional areas to add.

Third, full body aerobics, such as walking, running, or an aerobics class, will help you trim down your overall body fat, but these 'problem areas' will require special exercises to target them. I can help you figure out what is best for those areas if you'd like.

Fourth, your weaknesses. Chocolate? Ice cream? Mashed potatoes? Ranch dressing? What is it that makes you fall off the diet wagon? Definitely identify those 'problem foods', and seek out healthier alternatives. Love mashed potatoes? Try a baked potato with minimal butter and some Mrs. Dash. Love chocolate? Try making your own using Hershey's Unsweetened Powder, nonfat milk and some Splenda. There are several healthier alternatives for each of your weaknesses, I'm sure we can come up with a happy medium :)

Fifth, sometimes money can make a huge impact on what you can and can't do to lose weight. Starving yourself to lose weight isn't an option, no matter how little you can spend. But definitely identify what sort of 'weight loss budget' you have here. Is it a total amount? Is it a monthly amount? You need a figure to work with here so you can shop for weight loss aids appropriately.

Sixth, the reason I ask this, is because sometimes people aren't actually doing this for the right reasons. They're doing it to appear to others that they're trying when they could really care less, they just want that person off their back about losing weight. Or they're doing it to join into a group, or to be closer to someone, etc., when they're not doing it for the most important reason - to be healthier for you and for those you love. Are you committed? Do you really want to lose the excess weight?

Seventh, very important - how did you get this way? Were you always thin, then had children and the weight never came off? Were you always thin, then got married and got more sedentary? Change in jobs? Age? Identify how old you were, and what changes happened in your life to possibly or definitely cause this weight change in you.

Eighth - are you going to work out with somebody? Sometimes, pairing up with a friend or two can benefit your willingness to do the 'work' when you're being held accountable to somebody other than yourself. There's a fear of letting someone else down if you don't show, or looking like a quitter to someone else if you don't follow through, which could be a great initial motivation if you feel that might be the case for you, that you might quit if you're not held accountable by someone else. If there is no one for you to work out with, but you feel this may apply to you, consult a friend or relative to be the one to oversee what you're doing. They might not be there to witness your workouts, but having to answer to someone might help.

Finally, ninth - are you currently taking a multivitamin? Whether you work out or not, diet or not, taking a multivitamin is important, to make up for the lack of vitamins in today's foods. Unless you eat a raw diet already, vitamins naturally occurring in foods are hard to come by. You see tons of foods out there with labels that read "fortified with...." because they're trying to make up for that fact, but taking a good multivitamin is important to your body, losing weight or not. Consider it your "foundation" - lay a good foundation for your body can help your body be the power'house' that it can be, strong, healthy, able to withstand anything.

Once you've answered these questions, you're well on your way to starting your life as 'the new you'. You now have your plan of attack. Babystep 1 is complete. Stay tuned tomorrow for Babystep #2.

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