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Make Weight Loss a Habit!

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At Fitness United one of our specialties is weight loss. Many people come to us with the goal of losing significant weight either for a special occasion or for some other external driving force. When it comes down to it, you have to want it for yourself. If the number one reason you’re trying to reduce your weight is to please someone else or is to look your best at your sister’s wedding then we have a problem.

Until you make it your primary goal to lose weight for no one but yourself, it will always end in failure and frustration. Just like any goal in life you need to be as specific as possible about what you are trying to achieve. Write it down. Create a vision board. Make it your screensaver at work or on your smart phone. Be consumed with it. Set sub-goals or small victories to achieve. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Small incremental changes are required to create a snowball effect for significant weight loss. Tell as many people as possible about your goal so that you are forced to stay accountable. Use the acronym S.M.A.R.T. to set your weight loss goal. That is, Specific, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. For example your SMART goal may look something like this.

“I will lose 10 pounds in the next 30 days by running for at least 25 minutes every weekday before work.” It’s specific (10lbs), it’s measurable (10lbs in 30 days), it’s realistic (just over two pounds a week), and it’s definitely attainable (people have lost much more in 30 days).

This is especially relevant for weight loss. What we are really trying to do when chasing a weight loss goal is to change our habits. It all comes down to our habit loops. According to Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit, a habit loop is as follows; Cue–Routine–Reward.
For example, as of right now you might have a cue of lacing up your sneakers first thing in the morning, a routine of then immediately eating a huge bowl of Captain crunch, and a reward of feeling good from the sugar high you get afterwards. Lets take a look at how we might turn this negative habit loop into a positive one by keeping both the cue and the reward and simply changing the routine.

Charles explains that “If you want to start running each morning, it’s essential that you chose a simple cue (like always lacing up your sneakers before breakfast or leaving your running clothes next to your bed) and a clear reward (such as a post run smoothie, a sense of accomplishment from recording your miles, or the endorphin rush you get from a jog.” You see, you keep the same cue and reward but simply swap out eating sugary cereal for a morning run. It seems simple but it is very effective and easy to do.

Finally, if your morbidly obese and have tried to go it alone with your weight loss goal, I highly advise hiring a personal trainer, coach, and/or nutritionist. Unless you fall into the 5-8% of highly motivated and goal oriented people who can go it alone when it comes to exercise and dieting, I recommend getting professional assistance for three major reasons.

1. Education- A professional ensures that you are getting the most bang for your buck and not wasting time or spinning your wheels. There is a ton of conflicting information out there on the web and in gyms about the most effective way to lose significant weight. Hiring the right coach can make all the difference. A good coach will create the correct program for you and your fitness level and will work to help you make small incremental changes in your diet that will create lasting change.

2. Motivation- A good coach will know exactly how to motivate you and keep you that way without tearing you down and making you feel worthless.

3. Accountability- This might be the most important reason to hire a coach. When you have money invested along with an interpersonal connection with another human being that is focused on helping you succeed, your chances of following through are much greater.

Failure to hire a coach is akin to trying to replace you car’s engine by yourself after blowing a head gasket. It is probably possible but it will take you a year or two to accomplish. On the other hand, if you take your car to a mechanic, the job will be complete in a couple of weeks. Not to mention it will probably last longer and work better if done by a professional.

Weather you are trying to lose 10 pounds or 100 pounds, it is imperative that you get plugged into some sort of exercise program or weight loss group. The power of simply being around like minded individuals who share your exact goal can exponentially increase your chances of success. Make the investment in a gym membership or a personal trainer and get to work immediately. THIS IS YOUR LIFE and you only have one. Make it worth living.

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