Posts Tagged ‘Changing for Good’

Healthy Solutions to Lose Weight and Keep it Off

Successful weight loss depends largely on becoming more aware of your habits and behaviors and starting to change them.

In the classic book, Changing for Good, lead author James Prochaska describes the six stages of change:

1. Pre-Contemplation – Resisting change

2. Contemplation – Change on the horizon

3. Preparation – Getting ready

4. Action – Time to move

5. Maintenance – Staying there

6. Recycling – Learning from relapse

Once you determine which stage of change you’re in, you can create a climate where positive change can occur, maintain motivation, turn setbacks into progress, and make your new habits a permanent part of your life.

A newly updated Harvard Medical School Special Health Report entitled “Healthy Solutions to Lose Weight and Keep it Off” offers a range of solutions that you can tailor to your specific needs and help you change your habits to make weight loss more manageable.

Here are some of the habits described in the report’s Special Section that target the common reasons people are overweight:

Set small, specific, realistic goals. Set a realistic goal of losing 5-10% of body weight, and allowing plenty of time and some flexibility to reach the goal. Focus on specific goals like, “I will bring lunch from home 3 times a week and walk Monday and Wednesdays after work.”

Start self-monitoring. Writing down what you eat and how often you exercise can help you gain awareness of your behaviors and track your changes toward goals.

Cultivate a support network. Find at least one weight-loss buddy to help motivate and hold you accountable.

Adjust your attitude toward exercise. Reinvigorate your exercise routine: Take a brisk walk, try a new exercise, or plan an active outing.

Eat breakfast slowly and mindfully. Get up 15 minutes earlier and practice eating slowly.

Shop smarter. Never shop when you are hungry and use a list to avoid impulse buys. Your list should have healthy dinner and snack options.

Reward yourself with non-food pleasures. Treat yourself for working on one of these steps.

As the report suggests, don’t try to change all your habits at once. Choose one or two ideas that seem the most manageable, and see if you can stick with them for a week or so. Then add another one the next week. Small successes help you change your behavior, and little by little you will lose weight.