20 Stay-On-Track Magic Tricks for Weight Loss
Have you decided it's time to lose some weight? Kudos to you for taking that first step! Now that you've made a decision to change your diet, it's important to think about how you'll maintain your motivation — before temptation strikes.
Here are 20 tips you can use any time you feel your willpower slipping. Some are concrete ideas for the long haul and others are last-ditch efforts on tough days. Every idea is a sure-fire solution to those occasional slip-ups every dieter faces. So, try several of these tricks until you find what works for you.
- TAKE A PICTURE. Either find a current picture of yourself or have a friend or family member take one. Keep this snapshot of a larger-size you on your refrigerator door, the bathroom mirror, or in your wallet.
- FIND A PHOTO. Pull out a picture of yourself before the weight gain and hang that image in a spot where you’ll be sure to see it.
- DRINK UP. Feeling hungry? You may just be thirsty. A lot of folks mistake thirst for hunger. So drink a minimum of 8 (8-ounce) glasses of water daily. (We like to shoot for 10 to 12!). Add flavor with juice from a lemon, lime, or orange if you don’t like the taste of plain water.
- GO AT A SNAIL’S PACE. It can be overwhelming to think of losing 30 to 40 pounds. Instead, set small goals, like one to five pounds at a time. When you accomplish these small goals, you’ll stay motivated by your success over the long haul.
- MARK MILESTONES. Do you have an anniversary, reunion, landmark birthday, or other significant event coming up? Use that day as a kickoff to your lifestyle makeover to achieve the new, slimmer you.
- PLOT YOUR PROGRESS. Track your weight loss on a chart or graph, starting with either your current weight or picture, and document your success along the way.
- LIFT SOME WEIGHT. Want to feel the difference a few pounds can make? On your next trip to the grocery store, pick up a 5-pound bag of sugar or a 10-pound package of dog food. Think about how much better you’ll feel when you’re not carrying that much extra weight on your body!
- REWARD YOURSELF. Sure, you’re losing weight to look and feel better, but wouldn’t it be fun to reward yourself along the way? Come up with a list of nonfood treats to celebrate your success. Your list might include some fitness items, such as a subscription to a health magazine, a new pair of sneakers, or a gym bag. It could also include gifts for yourself, such as a professional manicure or massage, a CD or movie you’ve wanted, or an expensive item that seems self-indulgent.
- CHEW ON IT. Chew sugarless gum while cooking, cleaning the table, driving, or any time you’re tempted to munch.
- DRAW A FORTUNE. Write “fortunes,” or mood-lifters, on small strips of paper. Include activities such as calling a friend or family member, writing a letter, taking a long bath, going for a walk, or browsing the nearest bookstore. Keep these fortunes in a jar in your kitchen. Pull one to redirect your thoughts whenever you’re tempted to overeat.
- PACK YOUR BAGS. If you’ll be traveling, remember to pack your tennis shoes, shorts, and a T-shirt so you can squeeze in a walk or exercise in the hotel’s health club.
- FLY LIGHT. Airline food can be high in fat and calories, so pack a healthy sandwich, fruit, snack, and bottled water for your next flight. Or call the airline (before your flight) and request a low-fat meal.
- PLAN AHEAD. If your motivation to exercise drops when you head home after work, keep your workout gear in your car or office. Then you can exercise on your lunch break or immediately after work.
- TAKE THE STAIRS. If you’re traveling and your hotel doesn’t have a fitness room, simply find some stairs and go up and down as many flights as possible!
- SHOP SMART. Make your supermarket run at a time when you’re not likely to be stressed and hungry. For example, if you work weekdays, instead of shopping on your way home from work, wait until Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
- SPLIT A SNACK. Can’t avoid the vending machine’s call? Find a buddy at work to split a candy bar, package of cookies, or bag of chips when you’ve simply got to have a not-so-healthy snack.
- POLISH UP. Before you reach for an unplanned snack, try polishing your shoes.
- PULL THE LAST STRAW. What triggered your decision to lose weight once and for all? Keep some reminder of that “last straw,” whether it was a comment, event, or article of clothing. It will always remind you of how you felt before committing to lose weight.
- NAIL IT. If you’re tempted to binge, do your nails instead. You’ll keep your hands busy long enough for the urge to go away.
- TAKE A LEFT. Feel like you could inhale food? Try slowing down by eating with your left hand.
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