The time has come to change the dialog and our thinking around diet and exercise. It's time to start thinking in terms of lifestyle change. We don't need a 3-month exercise program and diet that will end. We need instead to make changes to the ways we live, move, play, and eat that we can sustain for the rest of our lives. Yes, I said it - the rest of our lives.
Research has shown that individuals who lose weight and successfully keep it off for at least 12 months are more likely to have made small incremental changes to their lifestyles compared to those who regained the weight within 12 months. Small changes are easier to deal with and minimize the disruption of our daily routines. This makes them easier to stick to.
For instance, instead of starting a reduced calorie diet with proscribed meal plans and an exercise regimen 3 day a week, start small. Replace 2% milk with skim; eat 1 meatless dinner a week; or replace sugar with a natural no-calorie sweetener like stevia; drink coffee, tea, or water instead of soda. Start parking in the furthest available parking spot to force yourself to walk more; take the stairs instead of the elevator; or get up and walk around the office at least once every hour. Choose 1 or 2 small changes to start with. Practice these behaviors every day until they become routine. For some people this may take a couple of weeks, for others it may take two or three months. Every brain is different.
Keep repeating this process with small changes until you are living a healthy lifestyle that you enjoy! As your diet becomes healthier and you increase the total amount and quality of your daily physical activity, you will feel better, lose excess weight, and be healthier.