1. Do it for yourself. The motivation to lose weight and keep it off has to come from within you. If you're relying on gimmicky diets, you may still be hoping for some magical solution outside yourself.
2. Think 10 per cent. People who focus on losing just 10 per cent of their weight may have the best chance of long-term success. And dropping those first pounds produces the biggest health gains like decreased blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol and lower blood sugar, to name a few.
3. Take it one pound at a time. Crash weight loss programs rarely work. Even if you're able to stick with the severe calorie deprivation or the extreme energy output required, such quick-fix regimens leave you totally unprepared for the moderate but permanent changes needed to sustain the loss. Experts recommend that you strive to drop no more than half to one kilo a week while working to develop eating and activity habits that you can maintain for a lifetime.
4. Weigh in weekly. Evidence from several studies indicates that people who maintain weight loss hop on the scale at least once a week.
5. Get support. Finding a buddy to cheer you along will make the weight loss effort that much easier.
6. Expect to slip. Most people believe that you've got to do it all or it isn't worth doing. But that's not true. If you can't exercise the equivalent of walking 30 miles a week, it doesn't mean you shouldn't exercise at all. Make a start. Do what you can do. Something is always better than nothing.
7. Ease in. Just because you're suddenly burning to lose weight doesn't mean you should immediately plunge into full-throttle workouts. That's prescription for agony, injury and failure. And there's no rush. After all, if you want the weight loss to last, you'll be exercising for the rest of your life.
8. Make it fun. If you don't enjoy your workouts, you probably won't stick with them. For example, you could go dancing, play badminton, or take up a hobby that keeps you moving, like biking, hiking, or gardening.
9. Break it up. You don't have to do all your exercise in one long session. You'd burn just as many calories, and get nearly the same health benefits, by squeezing several shorter bursts of activity into your day.
10. Blend it in. You can exercise practically anytime, anywhere, without any special clothes or equipment. For example, deliberately park your car in the farthest corner of the parking lot, get off the bus one stop short of your destination, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or attack your housework vigorously. Counting up your minutes or mileage at the end of the day can provide an encouraging reward.
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