Losing weight is the easy part. Keeping it off is where the real challenge begins.
You're off the "diet", you're starting to splurge again. Your new found, regular exercise routine is still going strong so you're feeling pretty good. Then it's Thanksgiving and Christmas and work/life gets crazy and two months of holiday eating, stress and little exercise and you've gained 10 lbs. How do you prevent this?
In addition to diet and exercise, behavioral changes need to be made. You need to "Think Thin". Or in Star Wars terms, "Use The Force". Techniques such as problem solving, involving social support, goal setting and stimulus control are essential tools for weight loss and especially maintenance.
We all encounter problems in our lives. Situations that prevent us from living our lives the way we want to. Navigating through these periods with foresight and a plan can bring you through less weathered and weary. Consider of list of possible barriers or set backs. Think of a few ways to address these.
Social support - gotcha covered. That's what this blog is for. Feel free to expand your network as far as you need. I'm not the jealous type.
We talked about goals. Knowing where you're going and how far you've come.
Avoid a chain reaction. Learn what social or environmental cues encourage undesirable eating or health decisions. If you know what triggers your backslides you can do several things. Separate the association of eating from the cue. (ie...Eating in front of the TV). Avoid or eliminate the cue. (Don't buy problem foods, or buy them but put them out of reach.) Changing the environment can also be helpful. (Get together with friends for mini-golf instead of the bar or BBQ.)
Triggers and consequences: 80% of our behavior is controlled by consequences which either strengthen or weaken behavior. Retrain your self to think and act in the positive. Your new behaviors will change your frame of reference and encourage new or forgotten strengths and abilities.
Another important component of weight loss is self-monitoring of eating and exercise behaviors. There is consistent evidence that individuals who self-monitor these behaviors are more successful at weight loss than those who are inconsistent with self-monitoring. Write it down. You can be as vague or precise as you want.
When you "Think Thin" you change the behaviors that are keeping you "fat" and start to live the new lifestyle you have chosen for yourself. There is life after a diet!