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Behavioral Tips for Successful Weight Loss

Or how to make that weight loss success a lifetime habit

Best Behavioral Tips

I have gathered tips from the experts that will help you control your urges, cope with stressful situations, and use behavioral principles that will enable you to make small changes in your habits. There are no magic bullets and no substitutions for calorie control, but there are behavioral techniques that can help you increase your awareness of your eating habits and help you meet your weight loss goals. Be realistic and only make the changes that you can maintain and incorporate into your lifestyle.

  • Journal your food intake every day along with your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and your analysis of your progress.
  • Write down your goals, desires, and simple wishes -- put them on paper and refer to them often to help you stay focused on what you want in life (i.e. to lose weight, be healthier, have more energy, climb a flight of stairs easily).
  • When the urge to eat strikes you, call a supportive buddy, check into one of our community support boards, take the dog for a walk -- do something that diverts your attention from the food to a more healthful activity.
  • Plan ahead so that your cupboards and refrigerator are stocked with healthy food.
  • Learn to cook differently. Subscribe to a healthy cooking magazine.
  • Eating out at restaurants can be very challenging. Have a plan in hand and stay away from buffets.
  • When self-defeating thoughts creep into your head, refer to your list of goals and remind yourself that this is hard work, but you are worth it.
  • Chew your food slowly, savoring each and every bite. Make sure you swallow everything in your mouth before taking another bite of food.
  • Eat only at the kitchen table -- not standing up, not in the car, not while on the phone. Limiting your eating to one spot will help control your intake.
  • Use luncheon-sized plates for your meals so the food will look more plentiful.
  • Don't fixate on food. Instead, talk about things in your life.
  • Weigh-in once a week only. Being tethered to the scale is emotionally defeating.
  • Record your physical activities every day or buy a pedometer and keep track of the number of steps, striving for 10,000 daily.
  • Cope with cravings by taking just a few bites. Then ask yourself whether it is worth it to continue or if you've satisfied your desire.

Member Tips, Too

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members weigh in with their tricks and techniques that have helped them stick to their eating plans:

  • Keep your hands busy while watching television -- try folding laundry or doing something that needs to get done.
  • A ten-minute brisk walk will raise your energy level for two hours afterward.
  • Plan meals that everyone in the family can enjoy. Making separate meals takes too much time and energy.
  • Have a back-up plan so there are no excuses for not getting your exercise. Join a gym with childcare in case your babysitter gets sick.
  • Ask for a treadmill for your birthday so if it is raining or cold, you can still do your workout.
  • Chew gum while cooking -- it will help you keep your hands out of the pot.
  • It is OK if you don't want to weigh in this week. Just get back on the wagon and weigh in next week.

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