I’d rather live a healthy lifestyle than go on a diet any day–that’s for sure. But sometimes I just have to buckle down and actually diet in order to get rid of those pesky five pounds that keep staring back at me from the scale.
It sounds easy enough: Eat less, move more. But it takes a little more than that, doesn’t it? In the April issue of Health magazine, motivation expert Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson offers up five strategies for making your diet work for you.
1. Be specific: Don’t just tell yourself you want to lose weight. Be specific about your goal and what it will take to get there. For instance, if you weight 170 and want to weigh 150, you know very specifically that you’d like to lose 20 pounds.
2. Plan ahead: Tell yourself what you want to eat and stick to your plan. If you’re going to a business lunch, tell yourself ahead of time that you’ll eat a colorful salad–and then do it.
3. Track everything: Keep a handy-dandy notebook with you at all times and take note of every bite that goes into your mouth, every workout, every emotion, every success and every challenge.
4. Practice realistic optimism: Losing weight isn’t easy. Losing 10 pounds in two days (as some fads would promise) isn’t realistic. I know I’ll never weigh 120 pounds, so I don’t beat myself up about not getting there. Set realistic goals and work to achieve real results.
5. Strengthen your willpower: Practice other activities, like sitting up straight instead of slouching, that work your willpower. Then, take baby steps from there. Instead of going totally junk food-free overnight, eliminate chocolate chip cookies first and replace them with a piece of fruit.
By following these five healthy habits of successful dieters, you’ll get there. And I will too!