Not every weight loss plan works for everyone. Prior to starting out, it's important to analyze your personality and establish several important points. This will help define your subsequent approach to weight loss. Remember, personalizing your weight loss plan is the first step to success.
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What is my relationship to food? Am I a big eater? How much pleasure do I derive from eating and how much of it could I give up?
Under the broad term "eating", include not only your meals, but your drinks and snacks as well. If your favorite pastime is sitting in front of the TV with your favorite snacks, then dieting is likely to represent a problem for you. Don't worry, the problem can still be solved. From the beginning, however, it's clear the food issue will have to be tackled: For instance, you may benefit from an appetite suppressant, an absorption inhibitor, or a fiber supplement to create a sensation of stomach fullness. Next, you would be looking at revving up your metabolism, which is equivalent to increasing your calorie output, via exercise and possibly fat burners.
Also, you may want to "get better acquainted" with food: By this, I mean trying to find out what food items bring in a lower amount of calories for the same amount of food. That way, without actually decreasing your food intake, you can decrease your calorie intake to some degree.
From a broader perspective, you should acknowledge that you may need to "rewire" your lifestyle (at least in part).
You need to think what to substitute for those hours in front of the TV, what other
activity you find pleasurable enough to put the snacks aside. Could it be hiking,
doing yoga, taking dance lessons, doing martial arts, working out at the gym,
pumping iron, boxing, playing golf...? In other words, what physical activity
strikes your fancy? Remember, it has to be something you enjoy doing and are ready to stick with long-term. Think about this seriously. The success of your weight control endeavor depends on it. If you cannot cut back on your food, exercise becomes a major staple of your weight loss plan.
Am I ready to invest the time and effort into exercising? Even though it's not
much time that needs to be invested, we are still talking about a long-term commitment.
Am I ready to make this commitment? If so, what are the rewards? If not, what are my risks?
Am I healthy enough to embark on a physical exercise program?
If you have any
doubts about this point, or if you have any worrisome symptoms such as joint
pains, persistent muscle pains, chest pains, shortness of breath, dizziness, etc, please talk
to your doctor prior to starting an exercise program.
Now, considering you are healthy enough to exercise, and ready to invest the time
and effort: Which is your preference - aerobic exercise or strength training?
Aerobic exercise means any exercise that raises your heart rate in the cardio range over a period of at least 15-20 minutes. Walking briskly, running, climbing a mountain, or using your treadmill are all examples of aerobic activity. In order to be effective, aerobic activity needs to be performed at least 2-3 times a week.
Strength training or muscle toning means any exercise that works the different muscle groups in your body in a repetitive fashion, thereby increasing the energy burned by these muscles groups.
I consider strength training to be extremely effective - in fact, I call it the "back door" or the "shortcut" to effective weight loss. Further details in the section Exercise for Weight Loss.
Other aspects that need consideration: Am I a great deal overweight? More than
30-40 pounds? Have I failed in my weight loss attempts before? Is my weight trend increasing out of control? Am I in danger due to this fact? Should I consider a support group?
Being significantly overweight, especially when your weight is spiraling out of
control, is dangerous for your health. In such cases, especially if you have failed
in previous weight loss endeavors, you should seriously consider a support group
such as weight watchers, physicians' weight loss, etc. It is incredible how much
energy one can derive from a group of people all focused on the same issue.
Do I know the risks of being significantly overweight?
Would that help motivate
me to win this battle? Am I already suffering from medical complications
of obesity? Should I get a medical checkup? Should I consider weight loss medication?
Or perhaps bariatric surgery?
Now, put all your conclusions on paper. This is the first draft of your personalized weight loss plan. Mow things over in your mind for the next few days, and jot down any additional thoughts that may occur to you. When your weight loss plan has crystallized (on paper and in your mind), it's time for action.
Return from "My Weight Loss Plan" to "Self Evaluation"
Prior to embarking on a weight loss plan, it is prudent to consult with your physician, This is especially true if you suffer from any preexistent medical conditions, are significantly overweight, or are over the age of 45.