It's time for your personal “diet revolution." The diet books are out, weight-loss advertisements are in newspapers and magazines, on the radio, Internet and television--you can't miss them. But the key question is: Can you really lose the weight for good? Can you really lose weight and break the pattern? And the answer is: Yes--you can do it.
The mistake most people make when they make their resolutions is thinking change is simply about willpower. People believe they can make a resolution and just resolve to "make it happen," when in fact, it's nearly impossible to effect real and lasting change in your life through sheer force of will. In order to make fundamental, long-term changes in your life, there are very specific steps and guidelines that, when properly implemented, can significantly increase your likelihood of success. Below are a few of the sound, tested, easy-to-follow behavioral principles that can help you stick to your resolutions and break your negative patterns: Just remember the acronym BREAK IT!
Review your past patterns. Taking a careful look at your past can help you determine where you want to go in the future, and it helps you avoid repeating harmful patterns. The past may be behind you, but thinking about and analyzing what happened is the key to your dieting future.
Keep an open mind. Think of the strategies that didn't work in your previous attempts to lose weight. By looking at your failures, you learn what NOT to repeat. You probably learned something from every diet you've been on. It's up to you to find out what you gained from all that hard work.
Create a responsible attitude right now; recognize that you are the only one who can make something happen in your life. People love to blame. We blame situations, circumstances, events and even ourselves for where we are in our lives. Blame allows us to avoid taking a necessary action. It excuses us from acting responsibly. In terms of diet, it allows us to avoid focusing on controlling our weight because there's nothing we can do about it.
Keep in mind, however, that one of the key characteristics of all successful weight-losers is their ability to avoid blaming and accept responsibility for whatever failures or setbacks trip them up along the road. Keep this concept close to you when you attempt your next weight-loss campaign: We may not be fully responsible for every event in our lives; accidents do happen, both lucky and unlucky ones. However, we are solely responsible for how we respond to those events and how we allow them to shape us. Many of our own patterns--which we do control--bring us opportunity, success and failure.
Pull yourself up by setting goals. According to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, good goal setting and goal planning increase your chances of "making and maintaining improvements in nutrition-related behaviors" by 84 percent. But why should that surprise you? Most of life even figuring out the best route from the dry cleaners to the post office to the supermarket when you’re running errands requires some planning. We have no problem coming up with detailed strategies when planning an event like a wedding. In fact, we obsess over every detail the band, location, dress, tux and caterer.
But when it comes to losing weight, we may think about it, but we don’t give it a fraction of the strategic passion it deserves. There are seven characteristics of effective planning and goal setting that you can remember with the acronym SMARTER: Specific; Motivating; Achievable; Rewarding; Tactical; Evaluated; Revisable. See the following planning guide to put your goals into action: "Get Back on the Diet Track."