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5-Step Plan to Permanent Weight Loss
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Have You Been Stuck on a Weight Loss Plateau?

Here's How to Break Through that Plateau and Get Started on Permanent Weight Loss

The last time you went on vacation did you plan where you'd go, where you'd stay, how long the trip would last, what you might do when there? Most of us have a basic structure to our day. Why then do we attempt to lose weight without making a plan at all? Outside of saying we'll eat the latest prescribed "diet", how are we supposed to make progress if we simply hope for the best in tackling what it is that makes us eat more than we want in the first place? It's no wonder we forget our resolve to diet by 10 AM, and then decide, "I'll start on Monday."

Follow These Five Steps, Every Day for one Week

It's far easier to reach your destination with a map; therefore, here is your roadmap to permanent weight loss. Follow these five steps, every day for one week. At the end of the week (say Sunday evening) take inventory.

  1. How has the week gone?
  2. Did you follow through?
  3. Did you make a plan and then follow your plan?

Make adjustments where necessary. That's the point in making a plan; when you discover a method or plan that really is workable (such as using EFT and NLP methods), you'll be much more likely to work toward following through until that new plan becomes your new habit.

Each Week Decide: Do you Want to Continue?

Do you want to follow the steps for another week? If, "Yes," then make a commitment and follow through. It takes discipline to follow-through, but anything worthwhile takes effort. Even the lottery requires buying a ticket.

STEP 1: State What You Want to Achieve in the Next Month

"I want to lose 50 pounds."

Is that achievable in the next month? If not, break it down into smaller mini-goals:

"I want to lose 5 pounds this month."

In what other ways can you describe what you want? Try using other senses such as what you'll see, what you might hear (compliments, etc.) and what you will feel:

"I want to step on the scale and see (a certain number) of pounds (remember keep it reasonable for something you can achieve in one month). (Visual - you'll see something).

"I want to feel my pants getting looser." (Kinesthetic - you'll feel something).

"I want to see myself in the mirror wearing last year's bathing suit and it fits." (Visual).

"I want other people to notice my clothes are getting too big for me." (Auditory if you hear things such as compliments, Visual if you see the way they look at you).

"I want to easily bend over and touch my toes." (Kinesthetic - feels good).

"I want to get up from a seated position, easily and gracefully." (Kinesthetic, feels good).

Those are positive goals. Focus on what you want. How you want to feel, what you want to experience. Imagine hearing these things, feeling these things, and seeing these things. Does it "feel" right? Are there any issues that pop up regarding what you are imagining? Are you telling yourself, "I can't do this, I'll never look that good," and other negative things? Those are the types of statements that EFT addresses beautifully. You'll be able to refine your goals as you progress, so if you discover something that really is not inline with who you are or what you want to accomplish, you can refine it.

For example, if you're a 62-year old woman and you're imagining the body of an 18-year old, that may need to be refined. Set solid goals, but don't be ridiculous.

STEP 2: Make A Plan

Get out your weekly calendar and start with eating less (portion control), eating more (healthier foods), or eating differently in some way. Pick one thing at a time, one food, one habit, one pattern. You'll make changes and adjust as you go, but choosing one specific thing at a time gives you the opportunity to really make changes in the way you live, the way you eat, the way you move, that will be permanent. Trying the latest fad diet isn't helpful unless you really enjoy what you are eating and could follow a similar program the majority of the time from now on.

For instance, many people like the low carb approach, and that's fine, if you like to eat a lot of meat. For me that wouldn't work because I prefer to eat a lot of whole grains and vegetables, and I rarely eat meat. I don't eat the same way as you might. That's okay.

The best plan is to look at how you eat now and see where you might make some changes, as stated above. I still eat the things I love including chocolates, pizza, occasional cheese burgers and fries. I just don't eat them every week (actually I do eat chocolate almost every day), but the other things are more "special occasion" treats.

Do you eat pizza every Friday night? What if you ate it only three Fridays a month instead? Would that be horrible? What if you stopped at one slice less than usual? I used to eat about four or five slices on a Friday night, yet warming up leftover pizza I'd never have more than two slices and it was plenty. Eating four or more slices would have stuffed me beyond belief, so what's different about the Friday or Saturday night. I think it's because weekend nights have the "indulgence" atmosphere, while weekend days do not (at least not to the same degree). Once I reduced the frequency of the indulgence weekend night eating, I lost a few pounds.

Is there anything similar in your eating habits?

Do you mindlessly snack out of the bag of chips until they're all gone? That habit can be tackled with portion control. Take a small bowlful to your chair instead of the whole bag. Decide in advance how many bowls you'll eat, and stick to your plan. Be reasonable. If you know it's going to take three bowls full of chips to be satisfied, tell yourself you'll have three bowls of chips, and then follow through. That's perfectly fine. It's still probably less than eating the whole bag, and once three bowls is your new pattern, you can cut it back again perhaps to two. One day you'll find a handful or two is plenty.

So what if this takes a month to accomplish? What you'll find is that you can eventually eat a bowlful of chips without needing the second, and you'll lose weight. It can be that simple, yet it does take the effort in the beginning to pick a pattern or eating habit and work specifically on that one thing.

Gradually cutting back on quantity, gradually introducing other ideas such as an apple here and there, modifying what you prefer to eat is a far better approach than eliminating all your favorites forever more. The former is a way to develop an eating style that works for you and that you can live with. The latter (fad diet approach) is fine for short-term weight loss but that weight inevitably comes back simply because you'll eventually go back to the eating style you prefer.

STEP 3: Consider Exercise

Adding regular exercise helps more than anything else because the more active you become the more calories you burn, and if you build muscle, the more calories you'll burn at rest. What, when, how often? Do you need equipment, books, tapes or can you just get started and gather the other ingredients as you go?

Write it all out. Your plan should include which days of the week and at what time. Don't make the mistake of trying to decide you'll exercise every day. You're not likely to stick to a plan that doesn't have built-in off days. Make it easy at first. You can always add more later. I started with a 6-minute exercise bike ride and slowly built it up over time. It took me about nine months the last time I got back into my bike riding habit and now I'm riding 40 minutes a day about six days a week. Small changes, add up. Build up to more exercise over time. Start with three days a week and add either more time, more intensity (work out with more effort), or more days, as times go by. If you say you'll exercise on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you'll be far better off when you succeed, than if you say you'll exercise every day and the first day something comes up, you quit.

Hate to exercise? Think outside the box. Exercise does not have to mean Sweating to the Oldies. It can be gardening, bike riding, it can be taking walks in the park. Anything where you're up and doing something other than sitting watching TV. Actually even your TV can be used now, or the X-box and PlayStation. If you like dance, get DDR (Dance, Dance, Revolution) or the new Yourself!Fitness program for X-box, PC and PlayStation. Dance, play, go fishing. Whatever floats your boat but get out and get busy.

STEP 4: Decide Whether Your Plan Is Workable For You

Take a look at your plan and decide whether it's possible. If not, make changes until it is.

Start by listing each individually what you want to achieve, and then answering the question of how you will achieve it?

1. I want to eat less quantity. I'd achieve it by having half or three-quarters of the amount I usually have. See if that is sufficient. Keep a food diary for one week, religiously writing down everything that goes in my mouth.

2. I want to eat more, healthier foods. I'll achieve this by adding more fruits and vegetables for snacks, so when I'm hungry, or think I'm hungry, I'll have an apple or some carrots. This has the added benefit of more nutrition.

3. I want to eat in a different manner. I'd achieve this by pay more attention while eating. Turn off distractions. Think of each bite as a separate event. Write down what I'm tasting and see what I notice now that I never noticed before? Different smells, sights, textures, and subtle tastes. I'll make an effort to really chew each bite at least 10 times.

4. I want to add some exercise. I'll achieve this by doing some research at the library or on the Internet about what I might enjoy, then perhaps get a free pass to my closest gym, talk to friends, borrow exercise tapes. Consider hiking. Find exercises I can do in front of the TV at first, or on the floor in my bedroom when I first get up. Whatever works.

Be willing to experiment until you find what works best. Ignore other people. This is about you. They don't know you, and frankly, they're all busy worrying about themselves anyway. Start slowly, then add more after the first few weeks, when you're ready.

Finally, Close your Eyes and Imagine Carrying out your Plan

If you chose getting up an hour earlier, visualize yourself doing so. Does it fit? Are you a night person? If so, an early morning workout probably won't pan out -- stick to midday or evening workouts. Find what fits for you. Can you really see yourself doing what you've chosen, regularly? Do the days of the week, times of day work or do you know you won't follow through? Adjust until you find something you will do regularly. It's consistency that gets the results.

STEP 5: Set Up Plan A And Determine What You Need To Get Started

Plan A:

1) I need a small notebook I can carry with me for keeping track of what and when I eat (only needed short-term to get an idea of what I'm eating now and where I might make small changes).

2) Need monthly calendar to track my exercise minutes, even if it's only 10 minutes this month and 20 next, that's progress. You are after progress, not perfection. There is no such thing as perfection.

3) Visit library or order book online for using bodyweight for exercises. Pushups, crunches, etc., can be done without any extra equipment.

4) Buy healthy foods to have on hand such as fruits, cut up vegetables. Visit different grocery stores and markets to see what's there I hadn't noticed. Make dinner at least twice a week and freeze leftovers into ready-to-eat frozen meals.

5) Purchase or order supplements, protein powders, videos, etc., if I want them.

Putting It All Together

Start working your plan. Don't wait for the next full-moon or some other arbitrary starting date. Just get started. The sooner you start, the sooner you begin to see results.

If you use EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), do it at least three times a day. It only takes a couple of minutes and you can do it while you do other things, so get it done. Check in with your list of behaviors you'd like to change, and then work on one issue each week or until it becomes a non-issue, then move to the next.

You might start with frustration that things aren't happening fast enough, since this is a common early annoyance and one that drives many people right back to the couch:

Example EFT statements:

"Even though I'm frustrated by all these instructions, I deeply and completely accept myself."

"Even though I don't want it to take so much effort, I deeply and completely accept myself"

"Even though I hate all this and just want to wake up skinny, I deeply and completely accept myself."

No matter what, if you are putting attention on this process, then you are making progress. It doesn't matter if you keep to your plan exactly. What does matter is that you make a plan at all.

If you make a small effort every day you'll find that some days will be better than others, and that's okay. It's easy to forget, and fall back into our usual patterns which is why keeping a notebook handy helps keep you on track. So does scheduling your workout time just like you would any appointment, and then keeping it.

The Goal isn't to be Perfect but to Take Action

You can use a grading system, such as one point for achieving each item on your list, and tallying the points at the end of the week. You could also color in the squares on the calendar, so when you achieve what you planned, you color it in, but if you didn't achieve what you planned, you don't color it in, or different shades of color. That way you can see at a glance how often the calendar is colored, how many squares are missing, etc. You can also see as months go by how you are improving.

If you exercise five days this month, then 10 next, and 20 after that, you're improving. You're getting fit, and the weight will be coming off. Having a visual display of your progress can help keep you on track. Remember, expect to be human (less than perfect) and you won't be disappointed.

If you believe you must have a strict plan, that's okay, as long as you're aware that a slip from time-to-time is not the end of it. Slips are nothing more than a learning experience, then you go ahead to see if you can prove me wrong. That would be great if you never slipped. Just no matter what, no matter if it's been a week since you did anything on your list, it does not matter; just pick up where you left off and start again. Slowly you'll falter less and succeed more.

The goal is to build strength and fitness into your daily life. Better to go about it slowly and achieve small successes than to jump in with all your heart and never come back for day two.

Small Changes Equal Big Results

There are 365 days in a year. If you achieved your goals on 200 of them this year wouldn't that be an improvement over last year? As you improve, your weight will fall. That's how it works. That's why people who achieve their best weight and maintain it have learned how to stay "on plan" more often than "off plan." Eventually you don't really think of it as a plan at all but just how you are. It becomes your new way of life.

Use these five steps to get started on a plan, right now. Start by getting a small notebook, then start writing down the days of the week, thinking about your schedule and how you'll make some changes to your routine. After all, it's your present routine that isn't working, so you must make some changes. Make them fit, and then you'll fit into those small jeans in no time.



Learn to use EFT for Weight Loss

You may not need to lose weight specifically, but if you have issues with food that you'd like to resolve, learn to use EFT and NLP methods. You can learn to remove your obstacles to feeling healthy and in charge of your own life. Look here to see if a Weight Loss Coach is right for you.


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Kathryn Martyn M.NLP
Kathryn Martyn Smith, M.NLP EFT Weight Loss Coach
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