The classic song Summertime starts with the lyric, "It's summertime and the living is easy..."
After 11 years in the diet business, I think the next line should be, "It's summertime and the thought of dieting makes me queasy..."
In the weight loss business, it's known as the summer swoon -- that time of year when we tend to put our weight loss plans in park and zoom instead into a serious stretch of family, friends, fun, food and fat.
Maybe this year will be different. After all, don't you hate being overweight when you're heading into the end-of-year months that are notoriously heavy on parties and holiday feasts (think Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's...)?
Stop the insanity and don't stop your weight loss effort just because school's out and fun is in!
1. Draw up a workable plan
Just saying, "I am going to lose weight!" isn't going to cut it. Nope, you need a workable game plan if you want to lose weight and keep it off.
You also need to be in the right frame of mind. If you haven't wrapped your mind around a diet plan, you're setting yourself up for failure.
Your odds of stumbling or quitting fast increase tremendously if your willpower is wishy washy.
Think of the reasons you WANT a healthy new lifestyle -- more energy, better health, nicer clothes... Then pick a diet plan that'll fit your laid-back summer lifestyle.
We, of course, recommend the Diet-to-Go meal plan since it takes all the work out of eating great -- and means good food will be on hand all summer long.
Now spell out your mini-goals for the next two weeks... month... summer. And keep your eye on the prize -- a healthier, happier you!
Now that's better tasting that a second corn dog or bacon-topped grilled burger any day!
2. Pledge allegiance to the diet
When we make a vow or take a pledge, we feel more determined to follow through with something. Yes, it sounds kind of corny but a good way to stick to a diet this summer is to create a pledge, sign it and then post it on your fridge, dashboard and bathroom mirror. Keep it simple but inspirational.
Maybe it's something as simple as: "I WILL lose weight this summer and I WILL feel better by fall. I am doing this because I want to ________ (lose weight, feel great... fill in the blank with your most important reasons). My starting weight is _______; by _________, I will lose _____ pounds. My goal weight is ________ and I WILL reach it by ___________."
Be sure to keep your pledge POSITIVE and SPECIFIC.
3. Sweep away temptation
Spring is nearly over, but it's a great time to clean house. We're not talking about dust, dirt and stains. We're talking about cleaning out the junk foods from your fridge, freezer, pantry and and cupboards. Toss everything that won't help you get healthier.
Then stock back up with fresh fruits and veggies, and junk-free yogurts and cheeses.
4. Write on, dieter!
Studies have shown that those people who keep track of everything they eat tend to lose nearly twice as much weight as those dieters who refuse to pick up a pen or mouse. So grab a pen and start a food journal... and keep track of EVERY nibble.
5. Draft a support team
There's no reason to go it alone. In fact, studies show that's the worst thing a dieter can do -- try to lose weight without leaning on a friend or fellow dieter for support.
The best bets: friends and family members. After that, you can turn to your co-workers or members of your church or any community groups you belong to.
It's important that you pick people you feel comfortable being around... and people you trust to share your worries and goals with. Don't pick people who will be afraid to call you out when you drift or use poor judgment!
6. Make time for exercise
It's summer, so exercise doesn't have to involve smelly, stuffy gyms or mind-numbing treadmills. Get outdoors and burn away calories while you play! Beach volleyball... softball... jogging... biking... The list is endless!
Please have some sort of plan here too. You need to make time for regular activity. Shoot for 30 minutes a day. That's the length of your favorite sitcom, so put down the clicker (they're mostly reruns anyway) and get moving!
You can lose weight with diet alone, but you'll lose more weight when you add fitness to the equation.
7. Accept slips as speed bumps to success!
Toss your outdated notions of achieving perfection with dieting. No one is perfect and trying to attain perfection is a great way to sabotage your resolve.
Your in this for the long haul... for life! A fatty fast food meal or a few extra drinks with the girls won't doom a diet. So never ever use a slip as a reason to ditch your dieting efforts.
Now, let's all sing together, "It's summertime and the slimming is easy..."
Author: John McGran