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The Key To Permanent Weight Loss And Success

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The promises of losing 30 pounds in 30 days offered by many fitness programs
sure sound sexy, but they don’t always address a very important detail – is that
weight loss sustainable? What good does it do anyone to get fast results with
weight loss, muscle gain, or improved health only to lose all of those results
shortly after?
This is a sad reality as studies show a large portion of people who lose
significant amounts of weight through dieting fail to keep it off over the long
haul. But the problem isn’t, as some people claim, purely because “diets don’t
work” or that obesity is a matter of genetic set-points. While there is some truth
to the idea that short-term dietary quick-fixes typically don’t work over the long
haul, that’s often because they leave out the most critical element to long term
success.
Before I understood this critical element, I failed to see why some people like
myself were able to maintain their fit physiques for many years straight while
other people would constantly struggle with weight loss and weight regain often
accompianed with yo-yo dieting efforts. Then I started studying psychology,
personal development, and simply observed those who were successful and
found it wasn’t a genetic factor that was making a difference, it was a mental
one.
That is, people who not only get results, but keep those results are those who’ve
made health and fitness a habitual lifestyle rather than simply a means to an
end. When healthy eating and exercise are your habits, the results they bring are
both permanent and come with greater ease.
The challenge is that over 90% of your day to day actions are not conscious
choices, but done out of habit. And simply consciously deciding to do
something different like cut out junk food and eat healthier isn’t always enough
to overcome years of engrained eating and lifestyle habits. Particularly when
one’s habits have a strong emotional component. Hence, the New Year’s
Resolutions that never quite pan out by February.
Is there a solution?
Yes. And you don’t even need to read the books on psychology and
neuroscience like I have to figure out the practical methods of changing your
habits. While many of the tips in this guide work together to help you change
your habits, this tip is simply about the importance of taking gradual steps.
This method of changing your health habits is simple. Pick only 1 or 2 things a
month that you want to change. They should be challenging, but something you
know you will be able to do.
Examples include:
Walking 10 minutes a day 3 times a week.
Carrying a gallon of water with you at all times and drinking it regularly.
Replacing 1 sugary drink with green tea each day.
Doing a set of 20 pushups, body-weight squats, and resistance band rows
after waking up.
The following month, either add in a new behavior you’d like to make a habit or
simply add more effort to your existing behaviors such as increasing the walking
time from 10 minutes to 15 minutes.
Let’s compare this approach with someone making a New Year’s Resolution to
“Lose 30 pounds, cut out all junk food, eat a salad everyday, juice every
morning, and exercise 5 times a week in the gym.”
If this person doesn’t do any of those things already, they are going to feel
completely overwhelmed. They may get a good start with their initial burst of
motivation, but eventually work, family, friends, and other priorities get in the
way and there’s about a 95%+ chance they’re going to give up.
Now compare this to someone who simply decides that for their first month,
they’re going to cut out their afternoon snack and replace it with a piece of fruit.
The second month they’re going to exercise at least twice a week for 20 minutes,
starting with home workouts in front of the TV so they can still catch their
favorite shows.
The third month they add in a salad for lunch and now go to the gym at least
twice a week. So on and so fourth.
By the end of the year, they could easily have lost 30 pounds, dramatically
reduced their junk food intake, and most importantly have made long-standing
changes to their habits. Their new behaviors were gradually introduced into
their life so they weren’t overwhelmed. They chose actions that were
challenging, but still manageable enough that they knew they could stick with
them long enough for them to become habitual.
Not only has the second person achieved their goals, but as I’ve seen in my
experience, they’ll likely continue these behaviors year after year and actually
get to keep their results.
Remember, what comes quickly can be lost quickly. What comes from
persistence remains persistently.

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