It's that time of year where it seems like everyone is talking about being healthier and losing weight.
But if you're like most people, the good intentions never seem to translate into success and each January you're back wondering which diet to go on next.
So here are 10 tips for losing weight in the New Year.
1. Ask: What do I want to achieve?
Most people think purely in terms of losing weight.
But what's the point losing weight and then gaining it all back a few weeks later?
In other words, think about what the real goal is. It's not just to reach a certain weight. It's to reach it and stay there!
2. Accept that it will take longer to lose weight than you expected.
Everyone is in a hurry but the fact is most people have unrealistic expectations about how fast they will lose weight.
If you're expecting to lose weight faster than you actually can (and who isn't influenced by fad diet claims of losing massive amounts of weight in a short time?) you are likely to be disappointed and more likely to give up.
Instead, the best thing you can do for yourself is accept that it will take a little longer and that's ok.
3. Don't overhaul your diet.
Completely overhauling what you normally eat might seem healthy and virtuous but these sort of changes are too drastic to maintain. If you're replacing your regular diet with something that resembles rabbit food, ask yourself if you're really going to be sticking with it for more than a few weeks.
Instead make small changes that are easier to integrate into your life.
4. Don't do anything unpleasant.
Have you ever tried a diet that was so unpleasant that you couldn't last on it for more than a week and then you blamed yourself for lack of willpower?
When it comes to cutting back the calories, there is no place for "no pain, no gain". If it's unpleasant, you won't keep doing it.
5. Keep a food diary.
Everyone talks about writing down what you eat and with good reason. It works! If you have to choose one action to take, take this one. It's that powerful.
6. Have a life
If you usually eat out at restaurants a lot, then don't suddenly stop. You have to be able to "have a life" while losing weight. Remember, you're trying to create a lifestyle you can maintain for the long-term.
7. Slow down your eating.
When you slow down your eating, you not only eat less but enjoy your food more. And remember, eating slowly takes quite a few attempts before you make it a habit, so don't give up after the first try.
8. Clear out your home (and office) of trigger foods.
If you know that certain foods are really tempting and difficult to resist, then why would you keep them all around you? You're asking for trouble!
Get rid of them. If you must have them, make it a deliberate choice, and not just because "it was there".
9. Don't expect perfection
When a child is learning to do anything (walk, talk, ride a bike) they make mistakes. And we tell them that it's ok because it's part of learning. But why do we expect perfection when we are trying to change our eating patterns?
Slip-ups are part of the process of losing weight. Expect them and accept them.
10. Keep going no matter what
You make your success inevitable if you keep making small changes, sticking with the things that work, and modifying the things that don't work. But most of all, the key is to never give up, no matter what.
For more about a behavioural approach click here.