Finding the motivation to begin a weight-loss program can be incredibly challenging. For some, the actual thought of it is too daunting and thus, the action stage is never reached. Instead, they spend years stuck in the cognitive phase (remember Prochaska's Stages of Change Model?) afraid of what change means. The picture of what life looks like at a healthy weight isn't enough of a motivation to move them forward on the continuum.
First, you have to ditch the "all or nothing" mindset. If you've taken this approach in the past, odds are you've failed at your healthier attempts. Successful, long lasting change happens by introducing new behaviors slowly over a period of time. Stop thinking about what you think you should do. Rather, focus on what you can do in the here and now.
Scroll through the list of behaviors below and choose one to tackle. Then ask yourself: "On a scale of 1-10 how confident am I that I can do do this behavior every day for the next 14 days?" If the answer is 9-10 then get started! If the answer is less than 9 then either choose a different habit or make your chosen habit easier (i.e., instead of exercising for 30 minutes try 15 minutes).
Pick one of the following habits and commit to doing it every day for the next 14 days:
1) Exercise for 30 minutes. Just move (walking counts)!
2) Drink 8 cups of water.
3) Eat at least 4 one-cup servings of vegetables.
4) Take fish oil with breakfast.
5) Sleep at least 8 hours (including night sleep and naps).
6) During meals, stop eating when 80% full (your belly will thank you).
7) Eat 4-5 meals.
8) During the work day, get up twice and do 5 minutes of stretching.
9) Eat lean protein with each meal.
10) Replace grains with greens at each meal.
These 10 habits can kick start your fat loss journey. When first starting, pick one that you feel you can easily implement into your day in order to set yourself up for success (saving the more difficult habits for later). Only add a new habit once you've mastered the first one. Let everything else in your life remain the same except for that one particular habit. We are aiming to make these habits part of your (new) normal routine; integrating them as seamlessly as possible into your lifestyle. This is the recipe for long term success. This is how you begin to find a healthier version of yourself!
Which habit will you work on first?
For more information on nutrition and healthy eating, check out Precision Nutrition.