Weight loss as a self help or self improvement project. The thought process is between the two are very similar. A person decides that something needs to be changed, identifies the reason for the change and finds a way to make the change.
The reason for the change is usually the driving force that determines the level of commitment to achieving the change. It doesn't matter whether the change is weight loss or any other type of self improvement. If a person is not committed to the project and does not follow a program to achieve his or her goals, any gain will be short lived.
So, what do you need to do if you are thinking about a weight loss program?
1. Think about the reason you believe you need to lose weight. There are as many reasons as there are people in weight loss programs. It could be a cosmetic reason (you want to look better on the beach) or health reason (you need to try to control your blood pressure or reduce your chloestorol). There has to be a reason that makes you willing to work for a long-lasting change.
2. Realize that permanent weight loss requires some king of lifestyle change. At a minimum, you may have to change your diet and/or eating habits. You can't expect permanent loss if you use a program to achieve your weight loss goals and then go back to your old habits. Your old habits are what got you here in the first place. Keep the new habits that helped you get the benefits you wanted.
3. Establish some kind of plan. Your goals may be reached with a change in your diet or eating habits. Many times, it is not what you eat, but how much you eat that makes a difference in the amount of weight you carry around. The old saying "You are what you eat" has some bearing on your weight. If your weight loss is more significant, you may have to include some kind of exercise in your program. The metabolism must be changed to achieve real and permanent weight loss. If you want to make significant changes in your appearance, you should consult with your doctor and find out if there are any underlying medical conditions that would change the plan.
Weight loss is a billion dollar business. There are many, many commercial plans available and many websites that are devoted to helping people lose weight. You can't watch television without seeing some celebrity pushing this plan or that plan. They all encourage a lifestyle change in habits and they all work. They all include diet (sometimes you have to buy the food from the plan) and they should include some form of exercise to strengthen and tone the muscles. You can't get six-pack abs just by dieting. It takes hard and consistent work. If you can afford a commercial program, this might be the way to go.
4. Set some goals. An end result goal is great, but you should set some weekly or monthly goals that show progress toward your ultimate goal. Without visible progress, you will get discouraged and it will be hard to stay focused on your weight loss program. The goals don't always have to be a number of pounds lost. You might try using something more visible, such as losing a dress size, getting into a pair of jeans as your short term or long term goal. You might try to stay on the stationary bike ten minutes longer or climb two flights of stairs without getting winded as a goal. The point is you have to have something that shows that you are making progress.
5. Figure out how you are going to achieve your goals. You might need to find a place to get some guidance and help in your weight loss program. The YMCA/YWCA usually have equipment available for a small nominal fee. There are lots of commercial gyms available that have equipment and instructors that can help you set up a plan. My greatest success came through a weight training class at a community college. In fact, it was so successful that I took it three quarters in a row. Where you get the help is not as important as consistency
6. Get some support. Self improvement and weight loss results are sometimes easier to get if other people are helping and encouraging you along the way. Most people start and try to stay on a diet alone. Sometimes it works, but usually the diet goes quietly by the wayside. All the commercial programs have a system in place that provides support and encouragement that is needed to achieve permanent changes. Your support group should include your family, friends and co-workers. These groups have more daily contact with you and will have a direct or indirect influence on your success.
Weight loss is always a self-improvement project. To lose weight permanently, changes diet and lifestyle have to be made. Old habits have to be dropped and new habits formed. There is no other way.
If you've read this far down this article, you must have some interest in the subject. Don't give up, go at it carefully, avoid crash diets and find a way to lose weight permanently.