July 6, 2008

bikini club - week 15

A weight loss program has two stages: first a losing stage then a maintenance stage.

The first stage can last up to six months and it's pretty much what we have been doing here. We have cut off the obviously bad food and looked at better options, we have been eating less and snacking more... and the welcomed result has been that most of us have experienced some weight loss. :)

As the bikini club enters its final month I want to start talking about the "after".

The maintenance stage will be up to you. You've lost all (or most of) the weight you wanted to lose, but now you have to make sure it doesn't come back. How do you do that?

I have one secret that will help. :)

I'm talking about creating habits.

I've learned, for example, that eating whole wheat bread is better for me than eating white bread, so I've switched to whole wheat and after more than a month of eating it, it has become a habit.

When I shop for bread now, my new habit makes me look at the bread aisle differently. I don't look at the white breads anymore, and I don't even miss them. I only compare the different whole wheat brands trying to find the better one (with no high fructose corn syrup in it, for example).

So as you start switching to healthier food choices, try to make them a habit. If you decide to eat less sugar, make it a habit: if you used to have 2 donuts in the morning and now you have switched to oatmeal, make the oatmeal the habit. Stop thinking at the donuts. They are not your habit anymore. The oatmeal is. After a while your brain will forget the donuts habit, and the donuts as well. :)

Make a habit of exercising, too!

Exercise is crucial in the second stage of weight loss, and if you can develop a habit of making time for 30 minutes of exercise every day, or every other day, once you've established it as an habit, you won't dread exercising as much anymore. It will just become part of you routine, of your day, of your life... until you won't be able to go back to non-exercising. Because you will also realize how much better you feel and how much better you look when you follow such a healthier lifestyle.

And if you ever get overwhelmed by all the changes you think you need to make and by all the habits you need to pick up, don't worry! You don't have to change everything at once. Start with small changes and then turn them into habits. Like me and my bread. :)
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