It’s day 6, where’s your New Year’s resolution? If you are having trouble sticking with it or you just don’t believe in yourself, I’m going to give you the top determinants of success for behavioral change:
1) You have to believe in yourself. Yesterday I met with a lady who was basically talking herself out of getting past this 30 lb weight loss barrier she’s had in the past. We hardly talked about nutrition but instead worked on reframing her mind. Without the right vision of yourself, you’ll never reach your goals. If that means having your friends and coworkers stop you every time you beat yourself up out loud or that you need to put sticky notes on your bathroom mirror with positive affirmations, so be it. Do what it takes.
2) You need a good support system. If the people around you constantly telling you what you can’t do or holding you back, it’s time to sit down and have a serious discussion with them (probably several) or spend less time with these people. Classic example: a + 300 lb lady I met whose husband was constantly trying to feed her. On the flip side, I know another young lady trying to lose weight whose husband (a busy PhD student) created a detailed excel spreadsheet to help her track her food intake – she is successfully losing 2-4 lbs a week.
3) You need goals. SMART goals. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-sensitive. An example of a wishy washy goal: I want to lose weight. A better example: I want to lose 15 lbs by March 1 so that I can avoid being put on gluclose-lowering medications the next time I go to my physician.
4) You need a realistic plan. Make exercise a habit. Even if that means you are committing to just 20 minutes a day. Find a plan that suits your lifestyle. If you want to do it on your own, take a look at Bodybuilding.com: http://www.bodybuilding.com/guides/ or Muscle & Fitness: http://www.muscleandfitnesstrainer.com/ for a wealth of information.
5) It’s time to ditch the black or white thinking. Eating a cookie isn’t going to wreck your weight loss goals. But, eating a cookie, beating yourself up about it and then eating the entire bag of cookies will. People who are successful at making changes accept the fact that they aren’t perfect but they are trying their best. They don’t let missing a workout, an injury or illness or a day full of beer, wings and fries derail them.
What’s the bottom line? After years of working with a variety of people, I can attest to the fact that success with weight loss, weight gain, physique change or performance nutrition is largely dependent on your 1) commitment and desire and 2) your vision and belief in yourself. There’s tons of information out there and awesome trainers, sports nutritionists and resources to keep you on track. But, you have to be committed and believe.