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Editor's Note: Every day, regular people just like you are losing weight, getting fit and improving their lives by using SparkPeople. Who knows better about what it really takes to lose weight the healthy way than other members like you? That's why we asked six successful members to share their incredible stories at the September 2009 "Spark Your Life" Convention in Cincinnati. Here's the video Laura (BLAZEGRRL) created to share her 90-pound weight loss adventure; afterward, she took the stage to share the three habits that most helped her reach her goals.
Here are my top 3 secrets to success:
Go easy on yourself. Change is hard and it takes time. Recognize the small achievements along the way and don’t get down on yourself for the fumbles you make. If you're in this for the long haul, you'll more than likely encounter some setbacks—weeks where you don't lose weight or maybe even gain weight. Try not to get down about that. This process is challenging; it's not always easy, but if you stick with it, it will work for you. Even on days when you don't feel enthused about exercising, try to find little ways to make it fun. I like to treat myself to a new magazine that I can read while I use the elliptical, for example. Just remember that you can overcome the obstacles you encounter and it's going to make you stronger.
Take time to build up your stamina. This goes hand in hand with my first tip. Don’t push yourself too hard too fast. Your body takes a while to warm up to exercising and healthy eating, so start slowly. I find it's easier to build habits when you focus on one thing at a time instead of trying to overhaul your whole life at once. Try to change one new thing every couple weeks. Every week at the grocery store, I make a point to try one new fruit and vegetable, for example, and try to build a fun recipe around it. I do the same thing with my exercise routine. When I first started, I could barely walk at a 3 mph pace on the treadmill without holding on to the console. Every few weeks, I'd reassess how I was feeling and noticed that it got easier as I lost weight, so I continued to increase my speed or incline. Running is my main form of exercise, and I just completed my first 10K. Challenge yourself to improve upon what you did last month and you will build stamina.
Log on to SparkPeople every day. Every day, I still log on. I track my weight, exercise, and check in with my SparkFriends. On days that I don't feel very social, I'll just "lurk" on the message boards; seeing what other members are doing and saying will give me motivation for that day. Those positive comments help me change my whole attitude. Logging on to the website daily keeps me accountable in that way.
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