In an instant gratification society, it makes sense that when we’re ready to lose weight, we want to see results fast. It would be great if — when our minds are finally ready to get healthy again — our bodies would just get on board with the new program.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Instead, it takes longer to lose weight than it does to put it on. Sometimes a lot longer. Most people can easily gain three pounds from a binge weekend. But taking it off? That’s going to be at least a month!

Still, slow and steady weight loss is the key to long-term results, according to a 2017 study published in the journal Obesity.

The trick to long-term weight loss that’s both natural and healthy is patience. You must have patience in the process, and work hard every day to meet the goals you set for yourself by making a real commitment to lasting wellness.

Here’s how to keep sane and focused on your weight loss journey:

Make Wellness a Priority

I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll mention it again. When nutrition and activity are approached like a chore, wellness will be put on the back burner just like every other task we don’t want to do. Instead, daily exercise and paying attention to nutrition should become second-nature. It should be just another part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth.

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. After that, it’s almost mindless! Sure, there will be some roadblocks along the way. And, yes, there are moments when time, weather, and other factors will throw a wrench into even the best laid plans. That’s when you turn to ‘Plan B’ and find a new way to achieve the same goal.

Kick Stress to the Curb

Here’s one that looks great on paper, but is seemingly impossible to accomplish in real life. While it’s true that you’ll never entirely remove stress from your life, you can certainly get a handle on it and take back control.

Make time every day for yourself — even if it’s just 15 minutes in the morning. During this time, focus on just you. Meditate, listen to your favorite music, soak in the tub, or just sit outside in nature. It may sound silly, but it’s important not to overlook this integral aspect of overall wellness. When our heads get cloudy and we feel the pressure of the world on our shoulders, we’re more likely to overeat. At the least, our bodies — sensing something’s wrong — go into ‘survival mode’ and retain fat reserves.

Be Realistic

Healthy weight loss is between one and two pounds per week. But every body is different. That means you could lose more or less. Also, when you’re just starting to lose weight after a period of inactivity, you’ll see greater losses in the first few weeks, after which time healthy weight loss will kick in.

There’s no sense in creating unrealistic goals or beating yourself up if you don’t reach them. For instance, you could say you want to lose 40 pounds in three months. It could happen, but it would never be safe or healthy. So instead of getting angry and falling back into old ways, realize that you could more realistically lose 24 pounds in that time. Even if it’s a little less than that, you should still be proud that you stayed motivated and kept true to your vision.

Remember Why You Started

You may have heard the phrase “keep your ‘why’ close by.” Always remember why you started this wellness journey in the first place. Whether it’s for your kids/grandkids, to get off medication/beat an illness, to improve your mobility, or just brighten your mood and overall quality of life, everyone has a great reason for starting and sticking with a wellness routine.

Maintain focus by recalling that famous story of the tortoise and the hare. Weight loss that’s “slow and steady” will help you safely reach your goals, and set the stage for long-term wellness. Be patient, trust in yourself, and know that every day brings you one step closer to your goal. You can do it!  ■

Until next time,
See You Alter,
Frank

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See You Alter
™ — Waist Management

Frank Samandari is an award-winning journalist, web writer, and voice talent. Once described by a doctor as “obese,” he lost 90 pounds in 2017 and has successfully kept the weight off through a daily regimen of nutrition, activity, and overall wellness.