Fitness column: Six tools to achieve healthy weight loss |

Fitness column: Six tools to achieve healthy weight loss

To succeed at weight loss it must become a lifestyle, and to make weight loss a lifestyle, you’ll need tools to help you stick to your goals, tools that research has shown to be effective.

I have talked to many people who want to exercise and improve their lives. When I ask them why they want to exercise, the answer is usually because they want to be healthier. Then we continue the conversation, and now they really want to lose weight. However, when I ask them how much weight they want to lose and in what period of time, many of them don’t have any idea.

Shooting without a target will lead to missing the target. The target and deadline are only some tools you need to use to be effective at weight loss.

I have gathered six tools that will help you to achieve healthy weight loss.

Know your vision: You should know how much weight you want to lose. Simply proclaiming “I want to lose weight” is not enough. You need a specific number such, “I’m losing 10 pounds.”

Planning and preparation: Plan your day with daily goals. You should know what are doing and not doing every day to manage the goal you have set. Planning your meals and exercise program and dedicating specific times for them will make sure your behavior and your vision stay on track.

Professional accountability: Have a professional guide you on the right path and help you be accountable to your goals. Ask your doctor, dietitian, personal trainer or life coach to help you set a plan for your weight loss will help in your journey.

Social Support: It’s much easier to adopt new habits if you are supported by people who have the same goals or people who have already done what you want to do. We all have times when we want to quit our programs. Support will help you continue doing what you are doing and see the rationale behind your program.

Incentive: A weight loss program becomes more motivating when you begin to see results. However, if you don’t give yourself rewards for the hard work you’ve done, you may not continue with the same motivation you had in the beginning. When you have achieved a short term goal, you should reward yourself with a short vacation, new piece of clothing, or a peer celebration. Of course, make sure you don’t reward yourself by reverting to bad habits that you have been working to steer clear of.

Deadlines: For you to be able to reward yourself, you should make deadlines for your goals. Dividing goals into two, perhaps over two months, will make the goals more manageable. People often procrastinate because they don’t have a deadline and then tend to try to lose weight at the last minute. A deadline also will help you focus on your goal.

Your chances of success are greater if you continue using these tools. Research has shown that people who do not stick with one tool often drop more than one and either don’t make it to their goal or abandon their weight loss program altogether. Find clear objectives, make a plan, ask for professional input, gather with friends who have done what you want to do, pamper yourself and give yourself a deadline. Take action today; tomorrow might never come.

Sandro Torres is owner of Custom Body Fitness in Carbondale, author of the book “Lose Weight Permanently” and a Watch Fit columnist. His column appears on the second Tuesday of the month in Body & More.

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