Weight Loss Tips & Strategies

{1} Ban the word “diet” from your vocabulary
Diets are temporary, the word implies you’ll go off it at some point rather than developing healthy habits you can maintain throughout your life. Plus “diet” is such a motivation-killer thanks to its many negative connotations (hunger and deprivation, to name just two). Focus on the positive aspects of eating healthfully, such as feeling more energetic.

{2} Don’t make it all about dress size
Yes, wanting to fit into your skinny jeans can inspire you to slim down, but you’re more likely to succeed if you think beyond the superficial. Meaningful goals like setting a good example for your kids or avoid­ing a health problem that runs in your family are more motivating and will make it easier for you to resist temptation. Write your goals down and refer to the list often to reinforce your determination.

{3} Be realistic
Forget everything the weight-loss infomercials tell you: Dropping a dress size in a matter of days is pure fantasy. Trying to lose too much too quickly will frustrate you, and you’ll be more likely to give up on your weight-loss plan when it doesn’t happen. Aiming to shed a pound a week is more realistic. Better yet, don’t just focus on the scale. Create easily attainable mini-goals like using skim milk in your coffee instead of half-and-half. Meeting them will help you feel successful and excited to make more healthy changes.

{3} Don’t indulge a craving the minute it strikes
It will probably go away in 15 to 20 minutes (we’re serious!). Distract your­self while you wait out a yearning for cookies by drinking a glass of water, playing a game on the computer or tak­ing a walk. Or simply picture anything other than cookies. In a recent study conducted at Flinders University, in Australia, volunteers who had been experiencing food cravings reported that those cravings eased after they were asked to think about nonfood images and aromas.

{4} Avoid peer pressure
You’ve probably heard that women are more likely to overindulge when they eat with other women. To avoid social dining sabotage on girls’ night out, check the restaurant’s menu on its website (or look it up on menupages .com) and make a healthy meal choice ahead of time. Picture yourself saying your order and asking the waiter for water with lemon instead of soda. Placing your order first helps, too—once you’ve asked for the grilled chicken salad with dressing on the side, you won’t be as easily swayed by a pal who orders mac and cheese.

{5} Ditch the put-downs
Negative beliefs like “I have no will­power” or “I’ll always be this heavy” can easily become self-fulfilling prophecies. (Needless to say, they won’t do much for you in the motiva­tion department, either.) The good news is that positive self-labels can also influence reality. People who describe themselves as being healthy eaters report consuming more fruits and vegetables and fewer unhealthy foods, according to a study con­ducted at the University of Ottawa. Think it, be it—there’s no easier weight-loss strategy than that!