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Overcoming the 7 Roadblocks to Maintaining Weight Loss

1. Become aware of what you are eating.

Before I started my diet, I was an "unconscious eater". I was not aware of anything I put in my mouth. I ate because it tasted good, I was depressed, I was bored, I was stressed, or any number of other reasons which were not related to my body's nutritional needs.

It would not be unusual to have candy around and find empty wrappers and not remember eating it. Until I dieted and started reading labels, being aware of the contents of the food, and becoming a "conscious eater" I was eating all the wrong foods for all the wrong reasons. By being aware and reading labels, I now make choices. Do I really want to put all that sugar in my body? Wouldn't a piece of fruit satisfy that craving for something sweet? Make it fun. Become aware of what you are eating. Make informed choices. Pay attention!

2. Find an exercise that you enjoy.

You already are aware of the need to exercise to maintain your weight loss. Are you doing an exercise that bores you or you approach with a sense of dread? Find something that is fun for you. Do you like to dance, or swim? Have you always wanted to learn to play tennis? How about flying a kite? Think out of the box and go for it. Find a friend that enjoys the same activities and make a commitment to each other and support each other when one of you is not so motivated. You can use the internet or the local paper to find activity partners. Be brave, take up ballroom dancing! Have fun. Make creative decisions. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk those few blocks instead of driving.

The benefits of exercise cannot be overemphasized. You can reduce back pain by improving flexibility. Many diseases are linked to obesity.

3. Don't rely on the scales. How your clothes fit is a better indicator.It is important to keep track of how much you weigh, but another indicator that cannot be ignored is how your clothes fit. Haven't you noticed that the scales can indicate that you weigh the same, but your jeans are getting pretty tight? Pay close attention. You may be consuming too much salt and are retaining water. Be aware and make the necessary dietary changes to get those jeans fitting comfortably. It is too easy to ignore the signs and rely on the scales and begin to gain your weight back.

4. Tune into your feelings.

What did it feel like when you first lost weight? Remember all the compliments you received? How your self-esteem soared? It has been a while now and no one is giving you feedback. Go back in your mind and reconnect with those feelings of how proud you felt for your accomplishment. Dig out those old "fat" clothes and try them on to remind you of how far you have come. Buy some new clothes that you would not have dared wear when you were overweight. Become your best cheerleader. Honor your efforts and accomplishments.

5. Splurge once in a while.

The key to this is to make it once in a while. You will find that you can splurge successfully. The danger here is to fool yourself into thinking that you can do it all the time. You can justify it by telling yourself that you had that pie with ice cream 2 nights in a row and you did not gain anything. It is too easy to fall into the habits that created the weight gain in the first place. Instead of going ahead with that rich desert, stop and ask yourself what you really want. Are you eating because of stress, or depression, or some other emotional need? Ask yourself what you would gain by eating that and if you are willing to take the consequences. It goes back to being a "conscious eater". Make wise choices to splurge. You will appreciate the occasional splurge much more anyway.

6. Find the healthy choice foods that you love and keep them on hand.

Many times you will eat the wrong foods because you are too hungry. You go out to do errands and run late and don't keep healthy snacks in your car and end up pulling into the nearest fast food restaurant. Many wrong choices are based on not having the right foods on hand when hunger strikes. If you love low fat yogurt or carrot sticks, make sure you always have them on hand. Take health bars with you in your car. Find the foods that satisfy you and make sure you have them at home and at work. It is just too easy to get off track because you did not plan ahead.

7. Remember to celebrate yourself.

There are so many creative ways to sustain your momentum. Use all the money you are saving by bringing your healthy lunch to work to save for a vacation. Buy new clothes once in a while that flatter your figure. Compliment your gorgeous self when you look in the mirror. Honor the fact that you were disciplined enough to lose the weight that you did. You know how difficult it was to get started on your weight loss program and the times when you did not think you could do it any longer.

Get out that swimsuit and go to the beach! You look great!!

Nancy Heimstra, Life Coach



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