Losing weight in a healthy way is a gradual process. So it can be difficult for people to stay motivated in an effort which is not a quick fix. Depending on how much weight a person has to lose it could take weeks or months to safely lose the weight – so people may feel discouraged after trying so hard for a bit and not seeing that end result sooner.
To help stay on track, FX recommends the following:
· Think of losing weight as a lifestyle change rather than a diet. Fad diets often don’t have lasting effects – lifestyle changes do. FX suggests you speak with your family members, doctor, and even a nutritionist and trainer about how to make changes to your exercise routine and diet that will be more of a lifestyle change.
· Find a partner. Staying on track with an exercise routine and healthy eating is always easier when you have a companion to motivate you. FX suggests you find some friends and/or family members who will commit to exercising with you at specific times during the week, and that you ask your parents to get on board with keeping healthier foods in the house and preparing healthier meals.
· Don’t take drastic measures. People who go crazy with the exercise or severely restrict their diets in an effort to lose weight not only create certain health risks for themselves, but they risk running out of self-control. Some recent research on exercise and diet suggests that there may be a limit to self-will, and when we hold the leash too tight on our exercise and eating habits we fun the risk of it all collapsing – reaching a point where we’ve had enough and then giving up on exercising and even binge eating. Think of the phrase, “slow and steady wins the race” and try to apply that to what you are doing. Expect reasonable things of yourself and set reasonable goals so that you don’t peak too soon and burn out.
· Find the fun in it. When it comes to picking an exercise for yourself, find something you enjoy so you don’t burn out on it. Whether you join a bootcamp, take a dance class, go for walks, swim, do pilates or yoga, or whatever else – find something you like to do. When it comes to food, consider taking a cooking class (maybe you could get a family member to go with you) to learn how to make healthier food options for yourself that will taste delicious.
· Find ways to reward yourself for your progress. By progress it could mean running a little further, doing a new yoga pose, getting into a smaller pant size, taking a small portion of the ice cream rather than eating the pint or whatever else – do something nice for yourself that feels pampering – a nice bubble bath, a mani/pedi, or whatever else feels good to you.
· Consider speaking to a mental health professional if you think that emotional issues may be getting in the way of your staying on track. Food to some can be like a drug – when a person is angry, sad, stressed, or anxious they may turn to food as a way to self-soothe. If you think that there are any emotional issues that are making it harder to make the lifestyle changes that would help you to lose weight, consider meeting with a therapist to discuss your concerns. If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.
FX appreciates what a hard thing it is to commit to getting into better shape. But it is possible and you need to believe that you can make it happen. Just reach out for support from the people around you – support, suggestions, encouragement from those who care about you – it will be a very helpful thing!