5 Essential Elements for Weight Loss Success

These important factors will help support your weight loss efforts

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No matter if your goal is to lose 10 or 100 pounds, losing weight successfully and sustainably poses a big challenge.

Adopting new habits and sticking to them isn’t easy for most and the slow progression of the process can be frustrating and tedious. Part of achieving your goal, though, involves overcoming these obstacles, which is why success relies on more than just motivation and a well-built plan.

Here, Tim Buist, a weight loss and lifestyle consultant with MyWeightClinic.com shares five essential elements that will help support your efforts so you can stay on track and reach your weight loss goals with less struggle and more ease.

1. Accountability
“If there's one thing that keeps people on track with healthy lifestyle habits, it's someone or something that holds them accountable,” Buist explained. “Often 'yourself' isn't enough because the consequence of letting yourself down isn't perceived as badly as letting somebody else down. This may be a friend or loved one if they are supportive of your goals, but often a professional health coach can be the best accountability partner, because they are not there to be your friend.”

2. Photo Motivation
Buist suggests keeping a photo of your healthy, most desirable self in a place where you’ll see it often.

“[This is] straight out of the psychology literature and something we use when clients transition from losing weight to maintaining weight,” he said. “Your subconscious may see yourself as someone less healthy, overweight, weak, etc. But posting a desirable photo of yourself in your bathroom mirror or on your fridge where you'll see it every day will help to reprogram your self-image to support your healthy habits.”

3. Back-Up Plan
Buist called this “ a plan to limit the effects of any major slip-ups,” which, since no one is perfect, do happen from time to time. For example, if you have a day where you go ‘all-out’ — for a wedding or when friends are in town, for example — that’s fine. Just make sure to recognize the slip-up and refresh your mentality so you can get right back on track the next day without feeling disappointed in yourself .

Specifically, Buist recommended following a day like this with a sort of mini-detox. “For the following 24 hours keep your total carbohydrate intake under 30 grams. And eliminate fat intake other than omega-3s. This means no fruit, bread or dairy, or alcohol for 24 hours,” he said. “Just be careful to not start using this as a way to justify binge eating, because that's a bigger problem.”

4. Water
“I know, everybody talks about drinking more water,” Buist said. “However, do you really track it? And did you know for every caffeinated beverage you need to add another glass of water to offset its dehydrating effect? You need eight to 12 glasses a day and juice or soda doesn't count. Water helps you eat less, helps you digest food better and helps you burn fat better, need I say more? This is a requirement in both our weight loss and maintenance protocols.”

5. Eat More Protein at Breakfast
“The research is clear on this, starting your day with even a healthy plate of grains and fruits sets you up for a blood sugar crash and cycle of craving sugar and carbs all day,” Buist said. “Start your day off with at least 15 grams of protein — eggs, tofu and breakfast meats are the obvious choices, but even a protein smoothie or high-protein Greek yogurt are a much better start. This will keep your blood sugar steadier throughout the day.”

More Reading:
Why Eating Low-Fat Doesn't Lead to Fat Loss
WTF Does It Actually Mean to "Listen to Your Body?"
Nutritionists and Dietitians Dish on What They Would Never, Ever Eat

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