By Megan Coatley, for SparkPeople
As you've probably figured out, winning at weight loss is about making long-lasting, life-altering change. Just like any sport or skill, you might start out a little rocky. Choosing healthy foods, trying different workouts, and finding the strategies that work for you will take a little practice. As you find your stride, those habits will get easier and you'll start knocking down more barriers that try to get in your way. Your momentum will start to build and you'll be ticking away at your weight-loss goals one by one. Soon enough, you'll reach a fantastic tipping point when you feel a shift in the energy and really enter "the zone"-the stadium starts to flutter, the crowd starts to cheer! And you are winning at weight loss!
Whether you're focusing on your diet or hitting the gym, the commitment to long-term weight loss takes the mindset and mental stamina of a champion. You've got to have a supportive team and a great playbook to get on a winning streak. In this head-to-head match that lasts a lifetime, it's all about preparation. Your success will be determined by how well you set your strategy and play the game.
We're opening the playbook on the weight-loss game. Here are the winning strategies you'll need!
Winners Set Small Goals
It seems so straightforward: Your main goal is to lose weight. So, now you can just decide how much to lose and power through to the finish line, right? Unfortunately, simply knowing how many pounds you want to drop may not be enough to help you win this game. Rather than only focusing on the end zone, a better strategy is to set lots of small milestones on your weight-loss journey. Perhaps you want to run a 5K, curl 20-pound dumbbells, squeeze more veggies into your diet, or fit into a smaller pair of jeans. All of these are great goals and tackling each one can keep you motivated to keep fighting the good fight. Plus, meeting these smaller benchmarks gives you the opportunity for more frequent pats on the back. If you only focus weight loss as your main achievement, you'll miss out on celebrating all of the other small victories!
Winners Take Breaks and Timeouts
When you first set out to shed pounds, it is easy to overdo it. We all know that the best way to lose weight is by eating fewer calories and increasing physical activity. But, if you set too many harsh rules and regulations at the start, you're likely to get overwhelmed by a too-strict diet and a tough-to-follow workout schedule. When you're developing your weight-loss game plan, make sure that you pencil in time for breaks. Take a diet timeout to enjoy a slice of cake at friend's birthday party. Schedule a relaxing soak in the tub on your day off from the gym. Be sure that your weight-loss rules include moderation and flexibility for you to spend some time (and calories) on the things you love in life. This will help you stay on track longer and reach lasting weight-loss success.
Winners Are Proud of Themselves
Publicly stating your goals and achievements has been proven to help people make steady progress. Everyone needs some support and accountability, so it's important to let people around you know that you're working on your weight loss and fitness. Plus, the more pride you show in your new skills, the more likely you'll be to keep practicing them over time. Bring healthy snacks to family gatherings and share the recipe. Challenge your gym buddy to step up to a higher pace on the treadmill. Dare a co-worker to stay away from desserts for one whole week along with you. Letting others in on your goals will make you feel like a champion and can help you take your game to the next level.
Click here for the rest of the strategies!
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By Megan Coatley, for SparkPeople