Plan Your Day to Lose Weight
Making lifestyle changes doesn't come naturally. To change your eating and exercise habits, you've got to plan - to make it happen.
You're running late, flying out the door. You might skip breakfast: the cereal box is empty, and the milk's gone
sour. Forget taking lunch: there's peanut butter in the jar, but you are out of
bread. Exercise before work? You've got to be kidding. It's a
typical hectic morning, at the beginning of a typical jam-packed day. What
happened to those resolutions to exercise more, eat healthier, lose
weight? It's easy for them to get lost in the daily shuffle.
In a perfect world, we could accomplish all this by the time our busy day
- Jump out of bed by 6:30 (or earlier).
- Get a good chunk of exercise, 20 minutes or more.
- Eat a satisfying but healthy breakfast: fresh fruit, high-fiber cereal,
- Brown-bag a wholesome lunch: more fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt, whole-wheat
bread, homemade vegetable soup (maybe that you prepared last night).
It's true -- with a little planning, this could be your reality. Your
morning rush would go more smoothly, and your weight loss efforts would stay on
track. You bounce out of bed, knowing what your next move is - all day, all
week, all year.
"If you leave exercise and healthy
eating to chance, it's not going to happen," says Milton Stokes, RD, MPH,
chief dietitian for St. Barnabas Hospital in New York City. "You're responsible
for you. Use your personal digital assistant to set your day - gym time,
dinner. Make these things pre-meditated - so it's not like a surprise, you've
got an extra hour, should you go to the gym or watch TV. If you don't plan it,
you won't do it."
Planning for Weight Loss
Planning helps you build new habits, says Barbara J. Rolls, PhD, the Guthrie
Chair in Nutrition at Pennsylvania State University in Pittsburgh and author of
The Volumetrics Weight Control Plan. "Without planning, you're always
going to be struggling - trying to figure out how to eat what you should.
You'll end up making yourself eat things you don't want to eat. Eating will
always feel like work."
Indeed, planning involves discipline - and that is a key trait that is
evident among the "successful losers" who belong to The National Weight Control
Registry. They have maintained a 30-pound weight loss for at least a year - and
many have lost much more, and kept it off for much longer.
"It is very difficult to lose weight and keep it off - and people who
succeed must have discipline," says James O. Hill, PhD, the Registry's
co-founder and director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of
Colorado Health Sciences Center. "People who are most successful plan their day
to ensure that they stick to their eating plan and get regular physical
activity. It takes effort to be successful in long-term weight management."