Let’s face it. Even the most determined dieter can fall off the proverbial wagon. In fact, many people seeking to lose weight report having tried multiple times and failed before finding the right diet approach or fitness program for the long term. So if you’ve found that instead of shedding more pounds your weight has been steadily creeping up again, here are a few tips to help you get back on track toward your weight goal.
Assess the damage
Do you have “scale-its”? You know, that nagging fear that comes when you notice your pants are fitting more snugly (or not at all), and it keeps you from stepping on the scale to find out your current weight? Unfortunately, as it is often the case in life, what you don’t know may hurt you. So be brave and measure where you are today. Once you see the number, you can assess how close or how far off you are from you initial goal. It’s a first step but necessary toward acknowledging and remedying the problem.
Don’t beat yourself up
Don’t let weight gain (or re-gain) bring you down. If you had planned to lose 20 pounds in the spring but found instead that you gained 5, you may be tempted to throw in the towel. Don’t! Instead, use temporary set backs to start over, perhaps this time by keeping a food journal. This can help you identify where and why you may be going off track. Keeping a daily record of what you eat and how much you exercise is one of the best weapons in your weight loss arsenal. It will help keep you accountable to yourself.
Speaking of accountability: For times when the going gets tough, you may want to prepare yourself by building a support system. Avoid people who overtly or covertly undermine your weight loss efforts – you know who they are – and forge connections with friends or family members who genuinely support your goals. Find a “fitness friend” or two who share your intentions and accompany you on the way. I know, for me it’s nearly impossible to get up at 6 am to go for a run or workout all by myself. But when I make a commitment to a friend that I’ll meet her at a particular time, I’ll be there. It’s also a great way to keep your social life going.
Be in charge of your own food supply
One of the reasons why many people lose control over their weight loss efforts is that they often eat out, eat on the go, or simply eat the wrong things wherever they find them, including their own fridge or pantry. When it comes to lasting weight loss, being prepared for imprudent diet decisions is half the battle. Start by preparing and eating your meals at home, and stick to moderate portion sizes. Get some inspiration by looking at healthy, delicious recipes, and then do your own grocery shopping. Store only healthy foods and snacks, and make sure you don’t run out of them. Toss all the junk food and empty calorie items you may have acquired in the past, and don’t replace them.
If necessary, seek professional help
If you have been unsuccessful in your efforts after trying just about everything, or if your weight constantly yo-yos, don’t be afraid to reach out for professional counsel. Weight problems stem from many causes, including medical, psychological, genetic, or a combination of all. If you cannot figure out on your own why you aren’t losing weight, meet with a registered dietitian or doctor specializing in weight management. They can help you identify what’s keeping you from losing weight and assist you on the path to lasting success.
Katherine Brooking, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian, writer and expert contributor to numerous television programs. She has appeared on The TODAY Show, Live with Regis & Kelly, The Early Show on CBS, Good Morning America Health, and many others. She covers health and wellness topics in SELF Magazine, The Washington Post, The New York Times and New York Daily News. For more information go to AppForHealth.com.
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