Maybe it's your most dreaded moment: The nurse tells you ever so politely to step on the scale. You take off your purse and step aboard. Not good. You take off your boots and belt. Not much better.
This year, your best move will be to stop making excuses for your weight, says Barbara Berkeley, M.D., author of Refuse to Regain!. That's the first step to getting healthy, she says. Her other weight-loss strategies will help take you the rest of the way.
And next time you meet that sadistic nurse you can don your moon-rock earrings. Sweet revenge.
Scan and Plan
Each morning, review your eating plan. Think ahead to what food challenges you might encounter during the day, and get your defenses ready even before you crawl out of bed. Preparedness is the best defense when it comes to fighting fat.
Step on the scale every morning. This will help you monitor even the smallest fluctuations in your weight. Another helpful strategy is trying on the same pair of jeans every morning. That way you can actually feel how your body changes on a day-to-day basis and when your jeans fit tighter than they should. Size can often be a more real measurement of fat than weight. Whatever you chose, keep tabs on your weight.
Get a Mini-Mantra
Inspiring slogans are great for saying no to unhealthy cravings. Berkeley's patients have found success with mantras like "The zing isn't worth the sting!" and "By saying no, I give myself the gift of health."
Keep a picture of yourself on your refrigerator door at both your original and current weight. Or hang photos of women who inspire you. Either way, every time you reach for a bite, you'll see a reminder of why you should stick with healthy foods.
Food stalking you? Start carrying a reminder of why you are making healthy food choices. Some dieters like to wear a pin, others like to keep a picture of themselves or an inspiring quote in their wallets. Whatever you choose, make it significant to you.
If you start a diet, make it for good. Eating healthy foods only until you hit your target weight doesn't do much for your weight—or health—in the long run. Getting healthy is a lifestyle choice that has to last.
Take a Break
No, not a break from your diet, a break from eating. It's important to have parts of the day when you immerse yourself in non-eating activities. The hormones that work to break down fat and glycogen (stored in sugar) need you to let them alone to do their job. That means not eating for an hour or two. Plus, the break might just give you time to finish that dusty novel on your bookshelf.
Have a Love Affair with Exercise
Exercise is an essential element to getting and staying healthy. It revs up your metabolism, making your body a fat-burning machine. This allows you to eat more on your diet and still have even better results than dieting alone.