Battle your weight this year – and win

Guest post by Ali Hale

Prepare for battle

Photo: Snake3yes CC-By-2.0

Hands up if you’ve made a New Year’s resolution (or even a New Decade resolution). Keep those hands up if you’ve resolved to lose some weight.

The statistics are shocking. Two thirds of Americans are overweight; half of those are considered obese. Being overweight is a risk factor for major deadly diseases like heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Couple that with the fact that an estimated 90-97% of New Year’s resolutions don’t succeed, and a heck of a lot of us are headed for an early grave – or at least a nasty wake-up call.

So if you’ve decided that 2010’s going to be the year when you lose weight and get healthy, once and for all, here’s your battle plan…

Get Equipped to Win

You wouldn’t go into battle without armory, weapons and equipment. If your weight is the enemy you’re battling, you need to equip yourself to win. That means:

  • Having the knowledge to succeed. Reputable diet books or websites can help you here, as can trained professionals.
  • Having  the tools which you need. Stock your cupboards with low-fat ingredients; buy a healthy cook book (or look for recipes online) which will fit your diet.

Dodge “Friendly Fire” and Sabotage

How often have you started a diet, only for it to get derailed by a colleague’s birthday cake, or your mum’s cooking? Yes, people are often well-meaning – but their kindness is deadly to your diet. Don’t be afraid to say “No, thanks” or “I’ve just eaten”.

In some cases, people aren’t well meaning. Sadly, they feel threatened by your attempts to live more healthily. Overweight friends might be unconsciously jealous; your partner might be secretly afraid that the “new you” will leave. If someone is consistently undermining your dieting efforts, confront them and explain how you feel when they keep serving you fatty foods or scoffing about your meal plan.

And watch out for self-sabotage … if you find yourself constantly “falling off the wagon” and binge-eating foods which you don’t even enjoy, it’s a good idea to get professional advice and help. Some people become overweight because of deep emotional issues: don’t ignore these.

Keep Up Your Stamina

The battle with your weight won’t be won in a day. If it’s taken you years to gain the weight, then it’s inevitably going to take some time to lose it again. Burning up all your energy and enthusiasm at the start of your diet will just lead to failure down the line.

  • Don’t crash diet, however keen you are for quick results – it’s bad for your health.
  • Give yourself a planned break from your diet once in a while – just don’t go mad!
  • Aim for a steady, sensible rate of weight-loss. 1lb to 2lbs a week is good.

You’re much more likely to stay at a healthy weight if you lose those pounds slowly. Even if it takes you two years, it doesn’t matter. That time will pass anyway: wouldn’t you rather be slim at the end of it?

Enlist Backup

Don’t go up against the enemy alone. Make sure you’ve got some backup in place – a team of supporters who can cheer you on and who’ll keep you fighting. You might find a friend or colleague who also wants to lose some weight, so that you can encourage one another and swap tips or recipes.

Many dieters succeed in groups like Weight Watchers because the group support and weekly accountability helps them to stay motivated each day. Paying a fee for group membership can also work in your favor – you’ll want to work hard to make it worth your money.

You could also turn to online friends: how about blogging about your weight loss, or get the support of your Twitter followers?

Get Expert Advice

Finally, your best chance of success comes when you turn to experts who’ve faced the same enemy as you. That might simply be friends who’ve managed to lose weight. In many cases, it’ll involve finding trained professionals.

Dietitians and nutritionists can devise an eating plan just for you. A personal trainer will show you how to exercise safely and effectively – and will keep challenging you to work harder. Your doctor can check out any underlying health problems which could be holding you back from success, like an under-active thyroid.

Have a great year! If you’ve successfully lost weight in the past, share your tips in the comments. If you’re keen to make this the year that you get healthy and fit, let us know about the challenges you’re facing and what you’re going to do about them.

About the author

Ali Hale blogs about getting more from life at Aliventures, as well as writing for a number of other blogs (including health/fitness related ones). She’s currently taking an MA in creative writing, and lives in London in the UK.
You can also follow Ali on Twitter @alihale.

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4 Responses to “Battle your weight this year – and win”

  1. Tim says:

    Ali, that is wonderfully put. I have had so much trouble over the years. Failure has been a recurring theme. I’ll put your suggestions to work. I want to succeed so bad.

  2. Ali Hale says:

    Tim, good luck! It’s really difficult to put a history of failure behind you … but you definitely can do it (I did, and lots of other dieters do every year). Hold on to that desire to succeed, and you’ll get there!

  3. Todd says:

    Tim, you obviously have the desire. Just stick to your guns, my friend. And of course keep coming to PhitZone for motivation. :)

  4. Kyle says:

    Great article! Solid advice for starting the new year off right and keeping it going!

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