Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Simple Secret to Weight-Loss Success

If you ask successful people how they achieve so much, many will tell you that the secret is to break down goals into smaller, less intimidating steps. When you're going after a degree, for example, you work toward the next term paper, not toward the graduation ceremony. Sure, you dream of the day you'll wear that cap and gown, but your immediate attention is on what's next.

It's smart to look at weight loss in the same way. The temptation to obsess over your ultimate weight goal is strong, especially when you're excited about the prospect of being slim and healthy. But that can make the slow and steady pace it takes to get there feel frustrating.

"It's important to break overarching goals into smaller ones, because the big ones are going to seem overwhelming if you don't meet them right away," says Misty Hook, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Texas Woman's University in Denton, Texas. "Setting milestones and recognizing when you meet them lets you reward yourself for small changes. It helps you pat yourself on the back."

Your journey is about you, so the milestones you set should reflect your challenges and successes. Members of the Weight Watchers community share a few common goals, though. Start by using these milestones as your guide, then write down and strive for any others that motivate you!

Milestone: 10 percent of original weight lost
Hitting your first 10 percent can be a great feeling. Often, it can mean you're down at least one clothing size and people have started noticing your success.

Studies show that losing 10 percent of your original weight has incredible health benefits: lower cholesterol and blood pressure, decreased risk for type-2 diabetes and more. Plus, losing 10 percent shows that you're capable of losing the weight you need to. "If you can do 10 percent," says Jackie Raha, manager of group service development for Weight Watchers International, "you can do another 10 percent."

Milestone: Halfway there
Once you make it to the halfway mark, you might find you're getting compliments left, right and center — but you might also hit a bit of a plateau. Rather than get discouraged, look at what you've done so far! "Every time you reach a milestone you're that much closer to your goal," says Raha.

Keep the momentum by looking back at your progress, and replicating the foods you ate and activity you did during highly successful weeks. Browse weightwatchers.com for new recipes and fitness ideas to keep you active and engaged.

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