Can you believe it's Week 8 already? Wow! We're halfway there. Are you taking steps -- regardless of whether or not you're participating in the challenges -- to reach your weight loss goals? I know every challenge isn’t going to resonate with each of you, but as long as you’re sticking with your healthy eating and exercise plan, you’ll be successful!
Are you ready for Week 8 challenges? Here we go!
1. Plan for how you're going to deal with those inevitable cravings. Let's face it, the only way to achieve long-term success is to truly make lifestyle changes, not look at this weight-loss journey as a temporary means to an end. And, if you’re in this for a lifetime, cravings and temptations are inevitable. How will you handle them? Here are some steps I have employed over the last year or so:
- Stay focused on why I'm doing this. One of the books I keep on my shelf for easy reference is The Beck Diet Solution. (It even comes with a workbook to help you process your own thoughts.) One of the things the author has the reader do, very early on, is make a list of why you want to lose weight. Then, you're supposed to read the list at least once a day, every day for a couple of weeks. The thought is that you eventually internalize the list so that when you face temptation your reasons are firmly in your mind.
- Rely on the help of my husband and some trusted friends. It's their job to remind me of my goals, if I'm feeling overly tempted and can't refocus on my own. It’s very important that you be very open with these few people about what you need. When somebody starts acting like my “diet police” it really annoys me. I am a grown adult capable of making my own decisions. However, a gentle, loving reminder about how far I’ve come and the goals that I still want to reach can be very helpful in a moment of weakness.
- Have plans in place for indulgences. I have some miniature chocolate bars stashed in my fridge. They're not in plain site, so I usually forget they're even in there. However, when I get that rare, but irresistible urge for chocolate, I'd rather eat one or two of those miniature bars (at 50 calories a piece) than devour an entire full-sized bar. What about the urge for a big, juicy burger? Most casual dining restaurants now offer mini burgers. A full serving (usually three or four) is generally a whopping 1,000+ calories,but one mini burger will usually satisfy a craving for red meat and I can always find someone at my house willing to eat the extras. The dog will volunteer, if no one else will.
- Careful meal planning. If there is some meal that I really want to have that is typically off-limits, I can plan for it. Planning low-calorie meals for the rest of the day in which I'll be indulging -- or lower calories days before and after the "treat day" -- and making sure I'm getting in my workouts mean that the occasional splurge meal is not out of the question. To me, the key to long term success is moderation, not deprivation.
What plans do you have in place to deal with temptations?
2. Add strength training to your workout routine. It's a proven fact that muscle burns more calories than fat. Building muscle tones your body and helps you fight fat. I love strength training. If I could lose weight just doing strength training and skip the cardio, I could be a happy camper.
Already doing strength training? Add another set of reps or learn some new moves. Let's keep each other encouraged as we pass the midway point. We can do this! Remember: Do or do not...there is no try!