To reach your weight loss goal (or any goal, for that matter), you must develop a set of skills that will help you become successful, says Howard Rankin, PhD, psychologist for the international support group TOPS (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly), and author of The TOPS Way to Weight Loss: Beyond Calories and Exercise.
Some of the skills that will help you live your way to a thinner, healthier body, says Rankin, are:
- Patience. Take things one step at a time. Give up one of your "downfall" foods at a time, for example, not all of them at once.
- Visualization. Think about a specific situation you're going to encounter and how you will deal with it. "See" yourself going out to dinner and eating a healthy meal.
- Accountability. Rely on a support group, friends, or even a therapist to whom you have to report.
- Self-control. Realize that every time you resist successfully, you're developing self-control. Congratulate yourself each time you do this.
- Goal-setting. Think in terms of small goals. You don't need to lose 60 pounds; all you need to lose is one pound next week. Each small goal you achieve will reinforce your motivation and set you up for success.
- Journaling. Keep a written account of your actions, your thoughts, and your feelings, as well as what you eat. This not only increases your self-awareness, but also helps you let out feelings you may try to "stuff" back in with food.
- Assertiveness. Learn to say no. Ask yourself, "Is this going to get me closer to my goal or further away?"