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Staying on Your Weight-Loss Program

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A good weight-loss system is only as good as your commitment. With a balanced, practical system spiced with common sense, you can be successful. All systems are destined to fail, however, if you fail the system. An effective weight-loss system is one that incorporates the following aspects: how to eat, balanced nutrition, exercise, and attitude. Let's look at what you need to bring to a good weight-loss program for you to win at weight loss.

Tenacity and Patience

Tenacity is the most critical factor for weight loss. In the words of Winston Churchill, “Never, never, never, never, never give up.”

Figure that it takes two to three months for a woman to lose a dress size healthfully. Ditto for a man to lose 2 inches of belt size. If you are starting at a size 20 and want to be a size 10, it could take as long as 15 months. Can you hang in there for the long haul?

You could be thinking to yourself, “Fifteen months! By then I'll be almost a year and a half older. Do I have to be larger than I want to be for 15 months?” You know the answer. It's yes. Think of it this way: you will be 15 months older anyway. When you get there, would you rather be overweight or your ideal size?

To reach your goal, don't allow yourself to be derailed by stress, depressed emotions, or an off-the-cuff comment from friends or family. Although you want quick results, it's easy to get discouraged when you don't see visible results right away. Weight loss takes as long as it takes.

Starting the Journey to Your Ideal Size

When you begin a weight-loss program, you are starting a growth process, just like planting a seed. After planting the seed, it needs time to germinate. If you become impatient to see the tiny green plant shoot and decide to dig up the seed to see whether it's germinating, you will kill the plant. Germination is the time for patience. As you eat nutritiously and exercise faithfully, you will see some changes, but you cannot reach your weight goal overnight, just as the seed doesn't sprout and produce beautiful flowers overnight.

Fruition is when the seed bears flowers and fruit. For you, the fruition of your goal is when those jeans fit comfortably. The attainment of your ideal size can take months and perhaps even years from when you begin. Be patient. Good things come to those who persevere and wait.

Food, Food, Everywhere Food

We are bombarded with weight-loss advertising and news reports about the growing “size” of the population. At the same time, Madison Avenue tries to seduce us with advertising that promotes food and eating. The newsstand formula for selling checkout counter magazines is simple: picture a luscious-looking dessert and a headline that reads, “Lose 10 pounds in a week.” These magazines fuel our national love-hate affair with food and eating.

Fast-food restaurants still tantalize us with offers to “supersize” our orders because of the extra “value” we get. Sit-down restaurants serve portions that are big enough for two or three people. We are repeatedly encouraged to assume that bigger is better … even when it's not.

Supersized meals lead to supersized bodies. These hefty meals offer enough food to feed two, three, or four people. Rather than getting supersized meals, get a right-size meal. Get just enough to meet your body's needs and no more.

Today, food is more widely available and abundant for the average person than at any other time in the history of man, especially in first-world countries such as the United States. This hasn't always been the case. You don't have to go back far in history to find times when food was not plentiful. Many people lived in a feast-or-famine environment. When food was plentiful, they ate lots of it because they didn't know from where their next meal was coming. They ate richly whenever they could to store enough fat so that they could make it through the lean times. Today, in our country food is plentiful, but many people eat as their ancestors did—eagerly and anxiously—as though they don't know when they are going to eat again.

Practically any food you could possibly want is available right now within less than an hour's drive of your home. Even if you live away from a city, you can order your favorite foods through the Internet and mail-order catalogs. You can't even begin to eat all the food that is available to you.

Think of a T-shirt emblazoned with the saying “So much food, so little time.” Hopefully that has not been your food motto. If it has, change it. How about a T-shirt that reads, “I eat all that I need but not more than I need.” Or it might have a motto of “I eat plenty but not more than enough.” These mottos add an elegance to eating that lets you be in control. It lets you transcend the caveman urge to fill up at every food station on your path through life.

For now, think about right-sizing both your body and your food intake. Plan to take in enough food to stay healthy and active. Plan to stop eating supersized meals before they supersize you.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Healthy Weight Loss © 2005 by Lucy Beale and Sandy G. Couvillon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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