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Like a Barnacle Sticks To a Ship

Indicators of healthy lifestyle on wooden table-2In our quest to lose weight, there is a direct correlation we should note:

The higher the weight loss success: The closer we stuck to that diet of choice.

If you stick to it, like a barnacle sticks to the side of a ship, you will lose it.

But how does one stick to it for dear life? I thought you’d never ask. Since one solution will not work for all, here are some hints to help some along the way:

  • Choose wisely. Pick a diet which includes the foods you like. If you’re crazy about bread, why in the world would you attempt to do a diet which restricts you from smelling a piece of bread? Set yourself up for winning by selecting one with the freedom for variety.
  • See no evil. If it’s not there, you can’t eat it. If you live alone, this will be easier. Do not put food items in your home which are your triggers. Keep your favorite fruit and yogurt instead of ice cream. If you are surrounded by family, get creative by placing sweetened cereals and snacks in opaque containers in your pantry. If you don’t see the label calling your name, you won’t salivate at the sight of that package of Oreos.
  • Eat only when hungry. Some diets prescribe exacts portions for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks. If you don’t feel hungry in the morning, eat later in the day when you are hungry. When you eat, eat slowly, enjoy your food, savor the taste. When eating out, take some of your food home. Ask for a to-go box as soon as the meal arrives. You will be surprised how satisfied you are with half of what is served at the typical restaurant.
  • Portion. Find out what a serving is and stick to a moderate serving size. In this “Super-size”, “Big Gulp” and “All-you-can-eat” society, we’ve lost our way when it comes to how much we should put on our plates. Wishing to “get our money’s worth” we go back two or three times to the buffet when we are clearly already full. Avoid buffets when possible.
  • Write it down. My journal is digital. Start a Word file on my computer and add a selfie periodically. It is impressive to see those pictures after one year! Under each picture, record your weight and measurements. Measure your chest, your waist, your bottom and your thighs. A visual representation of your efforts. Keep a separate paper journal for exercise. Keep track of the days you went to the gym and how long you stayed. You will marvel at your progress.
  • Rest. Get some sleep. No caffeine late in the day and get in bed to catch at least 6 to 7 quality hours of deep sleep. Getting enough rest is crucial to feeling great. If you feel great, then you don’t need “pick-me-ups” like a pastry or a candy bar during the day. Give your phone a break, Facebook can wait, get some z’s.
  • There’s an app for that. Use a calorie calculator to figure out your caloric limit. There are several resources which will calculate how many calories you should consume to start shedding. Lose It® is just one which will tell you the calorie limit to begin the process toward your weight loss goal. I find my daily caloric allowance, then I multiply that times 7 to see my whole week total. I can do an amazing job 5 days a week and then still have a couple of not-so-amazing days BUT remain within that allowed caloric number.
  • Get real. It took a while to gain it, don’t expect to see a noticeable difference in one week or even a month. Patience isn’t one of my virtues, so I get it. Understand that this is a slow process! Don’t be so hard on yourself, be patient, it will work if you stick to it.

If you ever have a day where you feel you blew it, and those days will come, perhaps a coworker lovingly brings a box of your favorite donuts. You eat the donut then you immediately start beating yourself up. Worse yet, feeling you’ve ruined your progress with that donut, you decide you’re going to just eat whatever you want that week…because “I’ve messed everything up, so I’ll start again next Monday.” DON’T!

If your car has a flat tire, would you slash the other four because this day is ruined? NO, of course not. It’s the same thing. So, you ate that donut. Now dust off the sugar and get back on track.

Changing behavior is not easy. Be cool. Be kind to yourself. Do not scold yourself when you’ve had a less than perfect day. Do not believe everything you think. Stay the course. Barnacles stick and do not let go. Be tenacious like a barnacle and stick to your new way of eating. Success will be yours.

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