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Friday, 7 October 2011

Lose weight faster and keep it off by changing your habits!

Thousands of people are looking for solutions to lose weight. They hire private nutritionists, visit slimming clinics and weight loss centres.

One of the causes of overeating / obesity is our habits. Many people get used to snacking / eating too much. Breaking these habits is crucial if you want to get rid of the unwanted pounds.

Changing habits should not be a dramatic move as this could mean failure and dropping back into our old habits. Start it slow - one small change at a time. Slightly tweak it every day in the direction you want it changed and you will be amazed how far this gets you.

How to start changing overeating habits to help with weight loss

Let’s take sugar in your hot drinks as a example. Let’s say I have two spoons of sugar in each cup of coffee / tea. You may think this is far too much, but you like hot drinks. They could add up to 6 cups a day and that’s 12 spoons of sugar from drinks only.

Step1: My first step is very easy – realise that I have a bad habit and that I want to get rid of it.
Step 2: Write a plan. Your plan will set your intention in stone and it will help you to be more focused on your goals. It also helps you to set your target.

Let’s write a small, but specific plan:

Week 1: I reduce my sugar to 1.5 spoons and make sure I put not heaped spoons. This is a small change and probably will only make a slight difference to the taste of my drink.

Week 2: I am enjoying my hot drinks with 1.5 spoons and now I don’t notice any difference. It means this is time for the next change. I reduce my sugar to 1 spoon (flat). If this seems a bit too much, add a little more milk than usual. This will add sweetness. You will reduce the amount of milk once you’ve got used to your new sugar amount.

Week 3: Now I am perfectly happy with my spoon of sugar, so it’s time for my third step – cut it down to half a spoon. Try to really taste of your drink. Sugar blocks the taste, so when you drink a sweet drink, you mainly taste sugar, not the actual drink.

Week 4: If you’d like to completely stop having sugar, it’s a good time to do it. Milk could help you here. Increase the amount of milk you have in your drink during the first 2-3 days and then cut back again.

It takes around 30 days to gain a new habit, which in our example is sugarless drinks. Congratulations to your new healthy habit!

The example above is a very small change, which gets you far. 2 spoons per drink add up to 12 per day, 84 per week and 336 per month!

Step 3: Make a start on your plan. Do not make a big thing about it. Try to not to think about it much – just enough to remember to stick to the plan. Also make each step a goal by itself. Don’t jump in your thoughts to the last step. Take it gradually.

Step 4: Be positive about the changes you make. It doesn’t have to be difficult or hard, it is just training your body to enjoy different things. If your body only enjoys fat and sugar, they you need to train it to enjoy other things. Just slightly tweak and you will be able to turn this round in less time than you think.

Step 5: When you are implementing your plan think of what you are gaining from it, not what you are losing. It is not really a loss, and extra amounts of sugar or fat are not treats. Change your mind set. If you think this is a treat and how much you are going to miss it, it will make it very hard for you.

In my case of sugar, when having a hot drink I set my mind to enjoy the drink itself and consider this a treat. After few days you will notice your body does not need extra indulgence and treats your aromatic coffee as a perfect treat.

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