Then Do It. Once you start with the small gesture, you’re ready. Eat a full day’s worth of perfect-for-you food. Walk thirty minutes today, tomorrow, and every day after that. That’s right, thirty minutes of walking a day is the minimum commitment. You can break them up into smaller segments if you can’t do it all at once. Then make a second action commitment: Commit to doubling (or tripling) your daily vegetable intake. With on foot, take one specific first step. The next foot has no choice but to follow.
Make a Gesture. Small gestures (ones not involving individual fingers flung at passing motorists) can be viewed as anything from signs to love to signs of bribery. Token gestures can also help kick-start the psychology of change. Just making a seemingly small change will help determine your long term success, whether it’s buying a pedometer, a health-club membership, or new walking shoes; throwing away the unhealthy foods in your pantry; and even setting up a computer file to record your progress. If you make one small move like this, research shows that you’ll be three times more likely to follow through with the specific pan you intend to follow. This small change is your way of putting the key in your wais management ignition (www.mychoicescount.com can help).
Add Some Support. You may not know it, but your world is full of saboteurs-people out to make you fatter than Microsoft’s bank account. There’s the boss who brings in sweets for every Thursday meeting. The friend who brings you a pie when you’re upset. The spouse who suggests pitchers of margaritas and a plate of nachos to celebrate the end of the week. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with their intentions, but there is something wrong with the fact that their attempts to appeal to your heart are actually damaging it. What you need to do is develop a support system of people who know your goals, know your obstacles, know your weaknesses, and know your strengths. (Don’t have anyone? You can hook up on the Internet, included on Spark People and www.realage.com.) This person will be your sounding board, your comfort system, and your measure of accountability. With public accountability – that is, you reporting in on those daily struggles and successes-you’re more likely to make a permanent change.
We all know that making a change in your life is as mental as it is behavioral. Research shows that this is the best four-step process for making change.
Be Positive. It works for coaches, bosses, and parents, as well as waist managers. If you blame yourself for your weight, if you are depressed about your weight, if your mood is fouler than a subway station in August, then your first job is to refocus. You need to think about what you can do, how you can do it, why it’s good for you, and how you’ll succeed. In the weight-loss game, poker-faced confidence trumps negativity every time. By stripping yourself of the negative emotions of guilt and shame, you’ll make the right rational (and long term) decisions about your eating obstacles.
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