The New Year is a time for people to reflect on past behaviors and commit to making positive lifestyle changes. Change is something that can be an arduous process, but it is attainable. The change process with regard to weight loss is dependent on one’s level of motivation. Making realistic resolutions is important. There is a greater chance that you will keep the resolutions if you are realistic about what you are able to accomplish and the challenges that come along with change.
The American Psychological Association offers tips when planning your New Year’s Resolutions:
- Start Small. Psychologists recommend making your resolutions that you can keep. For example, if your aims to is to exercise more frequently, schedule three or four days a week at the gym instead of daily. If you like to eat healthier, try replacing dessert with something healthier, like fruit.
- Changing one behavior at a time is crucial. Do not get overwhelmed and think you have to reassess everything in your life.
- Talk about it. It is important to share your experiences with family and friends and consider joining a support group to help reach your goals or a workout class at your gym. Having others with whom to share your struggles and successes makes your journey to a healthier lifestyle easier and less intimidating.
- Don’t Beat Yourself Up. It is important to remember that perfection is unattainable! It is OK if minor missteps occur. Do not give up because you ate a cookie or broke your diet, or skipped the gym for a week or two because you were too busy. It is important to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.
- Ask For Support. It is OK to accept help from those who care and will listen. This will help you achieve your goals. If you feel unable to meet your goals on your own, consider seeking professional help. Mental health professionals can offer new strategies on how to adjust your goals so they are attainable, help you change unhealthy behaviors, and address possible emotional issues. (APA, 2015).
Losing weight or managing weight is no easy task. With so much good food at our disposal and with food being used frequently for mood regulation, it’s no wonder motivation to stick to weight loss goals fades within a few days. We are in the season of New Year’s resolutions and vision boards. Many people will vow to stick to their New Year’s resolutions once and for all! At the top of many resolution lists is the promise to lose a few pounds. Too often, though, people make the plan to lose weight without really setting proper goals for doing so. Furthermore, those resolutions and promises do not come equipped with plans for what to do when there are setbacks along the way.
11 Personal Tips from psychologist, Dr. Ebony Butler.
Here are some things that have helped sustain my 10-year weight loss and weight management program.
- I decide daily what is my motivation as it changes. Different days require different motivations.
- I dig down deep to stay committed. Sometimes I have to dig WAY down and find strength to stay the course. We all have something that keeps us going and preserving. Find yours!
- I eliminated unhealthy foods little by little – not all at once. I found that, for me, anything too drastic would only cause me to quit.
- I allowed myself to have a cheat meal here and there – not everywhere!
- When I fell off the wagon, I GOT BACK ON. Every day is a chance to reset.
- I incorporated cardio, cardio, and more cardio into my workout.
- I worked out consistently at least 5 days a week.
- I found someone to hold me accountable. Being accountable to someone kept me honest.
- I educated myself about weight loss and being healthy. There is so much information out there. Find what works for you and your body.
- As my body changed, I found what worked for my changing body. Re-read #9.
- I kept a journal of my meals. I could make better changes if I saw things in concrete form.
- I remind myself everyday that this is a one day at a time process and there is NO quick fix.
P.S. – eliminate nay sayers ☺
You can do it!!