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HOW DO I LOSE WEIGHT-
AM I READY?
A Step By Step Approach
So, you want to lose weight! That's great! Getting started on a successful weight loss program begins with committing to change your current lifestyle. Understanding why you want to lose weight, how you became overweight and determining your commitment and motivation levels is a first step.
Ask yourself: "HOW WILLING AM I TO SAY GOODBYE TO A LIFE OF EATING EVERYTHING I WANT? Eating everything you want whenever you want is one reason you became overweight. You must CHANGE YOUR EATING BEHAVIOR if you truly want to lose weight. ARE YOU READY?
HERE ARE A FEW STEPS TO HELP YOU GET STARTED:
1. CHECK YOUR WEIGHT on the weight calculator to see if you are in the healthy weight range. If you are overweight or obese, you will want to check in with your health care provider before beginning any weight loss program. They will help you determine how much and at what rate it is safe for you to lose weight. Usually, 1-2 pounds a week is a safe weight loss range depending on your age, current weight, and weight loss goals.
2. TAKE INVENTORY OF YOURSELF AND YOUR EATING HABITS. Take out a notebook and really think about the answers to these questions before you write them down:
- WHY DO I WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT? Write down all the reasons you can think of such as: to wear in style clothes, easier to exercise, be healthy, etc.
- HOW DID I BECOME MY CURRENT WEIGHT?
- HOW COMMITTED AND MOTIVATED AM I TO CHANGE MY CURRENT LIFESTYLE? This means that you will need to stop eating large amounts of all foods, stop consuming things like junk food and soda. and, do some activity everyday.
- WHAT KIND OF SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT DO I HAVE? Will my parents buy healthy food and keep junk food out of the house? Will they help me to exercise and do fun activities? Will my friends support and encourage me?
3. WHAT ARE MY EATING HABITS.
- WHAT KIND AND HOW MUCH FOOD DO I EAT EVERYDAY? Do I have certain problem foods that I have trouble avoiding?- LIST OUT MY PROBLEM FOODS.
What foods do I have cravings for or have trouble resisting when in front of me or in the house? Chocolate, candy, chips, ice cream, soda, fast food?
- HOW OFTEN AND WHEN DO I EAT? Do I eat when I'm hungry, or when I am sad, stressed, or bored?
- DESCRIBE THE SITUATIONS WHEN I TEND TO EAT. Write down HOW YOU ARE FEELING, and WHAT AND HOW MUCH YOU EAT at those times. This will help you figure out your emotions and what distracting things you can do instead of eating when they occur.
- KEEP A FOOD DIARY. THIS IS IMPORTANT! List ALL THE FOOD and ALL THE AMOUNTS you eat for MEALS and SNACKS for several days. BE HONEST. You may find that it is not WHAT you are eating as much as HOW MUCH you eat that is causing you to gain weight.
- TRY CUTTING DOWN FOOD PORTIONS. Use a smaller plate or bowl to make your portions appear bigger and then cut down food portions. DON'T HAVE SECONDS. Check out serving size and portion control tips for more information.
- CUT FOOD IN HALF WHEN YOU GO OUT. Limit eating out but when you do, box up half the food when it comes to the table before you start to eat and save the other half for the next day for lunch or dinner.
- LEARN TO AVOID YOUR PROBLEM FOODS. You can learn to TRAIN YOUR BRAIN to stay away from your problem foods like sweets and soda. Check off in your food diary how many days you can stay away from your problem foods. The longer you stay away from eating your problem foods, the less you will crave the food.
4. WHAT IS MY EXERCISE/ACTIVITY LEVEL? Write down your usual daily routine for 3-4 days.
- WHAT AND HOW MUCH EXERCISE OR ACTIVITY DO I DO?
- WHAT ACTIVITY OR EXERCISE WOULD I LIKE TRY? Make a list of all the things you'd like to try.
- Do something on your distracting activities list EVERY DAY! If you don't feel like doing something, review Why I Want To Lose Weight. Your list should give you motivation. When you do a distracting activity that is fun, you don't even think about food. It works!
Doing distracting activities with friends can be fun! Activities like walking, swimming, skating, biking, or hiking with others helps distract you and keep you away from food.
Here's the simple truth:
NO MOTIVATION = NO WEIGHT LOSS.
If you have little motivation to eat less junk food, eat less food amounts, or stop eating when you aren't really hungry, you will not lose weight. If you don't distract yourself with other activities when you aren't really hungry, you will not lose weight.
There is more information on motivation in the Healthy Weight School. You can also check out the Teen Bulletin Board and the Success Boards for more tips and inspiration.
5. SET REALISTIC SHORT TERM GOALS. You may wish to lose 50-100 pounds and that might be a great goal. However, you will be more successful if you start with a short term goal, say 10 or 15 pounds. Then, once you reach that goal, set another short term goal. Success builds success!
- MAKE A LIST OF EACH GOAL. Then,
- MAKE A PLAN FOR EACH GOAL. For example:
GOAL: Lose 5 pounds.
PLAN: No sodas or candy. Walk 1/2 mile every day. Then,
6. CHECK YOUR PROGRESS EVERYDAY. Did I follow my plan? If you did, keep doing the plan. Then, add to your plan. For example: No sodas or candy and cut my dinner portions by 1/2. Increase my walking to 1 mile. Keep repeating this for each goal. If you didn't follow your plan, don't beat yourself up. Just start each day new and try again.It's a good idea to weigh yourself EVERY DAY as well. That helps you stay on track and stay motivated. Then, start your next goal. The key is to lose weight step by step, one day at a time.
7. GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS. Try to write down WHAT and HOW you are feeling when you feel like snacking or before you eat. If you can understand what makes you feel a certain way, you can make a plan to change how you respond to that feeling. You'll have ups and downs but keep at it. Keep positive!
8. ASK YOUR FRIENDS FOR HELP. They can be very supportive and help you to stay away from unhealthy foods. Learn to ask for support from trusted friends, school counselors or parents. That really helps!
9. HOW WILL I MAINTAIN MY WEIGHT LOSS? Think about how to keep your goals. Am I willing to give up food for pleasure? What things can I do to replace eating for pleasure in my life? Weight loss requires a long term commitment to a healthy lifestyle. But, YOU CAN DO IT!
10. MORE HELPFUL SOURCES AND THINGS THAT HAVE HELPED OTHERS:
- There is more information about motivation in the Healthy Weight School.
- Check out the Teen Bulletin Board, pre-teen, and Success Boards for more tips and inspiration.
- Try the chatroom and check out more ideas in the tips area.Get moving!
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healthcare provider if these tips are right for you and please read our disclaimer.