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    Stage 2: Getting Comfortable

    After several weeks of adjusting to your new and improved lifestyle, you should be developing a healthier relationship with food. Eating nutritious foods and getting physical activity have become part of your daily routine.

    Friends and family have started to notice the new you. Your clothes are looser, and the numbers on the scale and tape measure are going down. You have more energy, and you're feeling pretty good. Pat yourself on the back; you deserve kudos for a job well done!

    But even as you congratulate yourself, don't get too comfortable. It is so easy to slide back into old habits. After an initial burst of energy and enthusiasm, you can become lax about portion sizes, exercise, and/or journaling. That's when you hit a weight loss plateau.

    Stage 2 is the time to figure out what works for you and what doesn't. Remember that your goal is to find changes that you are comfortable with and can sustain. If in doubt, ask yourself these questions:

    • Do you like your eating plan?
    • Does it keep you feeling full between meals?
    • Are you eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein?
    • Are you still losing weight?

    If the needle on your scale remains stuck, you may need to decrease the calories in your eating plan and/or increase your physical activity. Consider adding strength training to your fitness routine. Increase the intensity or duration of your routine; walk faster for a block, or increase the incline on your treadmill. A few tweaks should get you off that plateau.

    Don't let Stage 2 turn into a slippery slope. If you find yourself in trouble, turn to your friends on the message boards. We're there to support you, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    This stage can be tough, but it's also critical to your success. Think of it as a hill to climb; when you get to the top, you'll be thrilled to see how easy it will be going forward. At some point (exactly when differs for everyone), sustaining a healthier lifestyle becomes easy.

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