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Decide, Commit and Prepare

Commit. If your weight and healthy eating goals are important to you, then they must be given some priority in your life. Are you willing to do what it takes to make them happen? Like any challenge, changing your eating habits will take time, attention and commitment. If managing your weight is a sincere goal, then go for it! If not, don't waste your time, energy, money and self-esteem on something you don't see as a priority for yourself right now. It's your life, and only you can make - and stick to - this decision.

Be prepared. Plan ahead what you are going to eat and the exercise you are going to take. Take your shopping list to the supermarket and use it! Make the commitment to fit exercise into your diary and your life, just as you would a meeting or appointment.

Keep eating. Eat regular meals to help reduce the chance of binging or focusing on food too much. But allow yourself some treats. Deprivation is more likely to lead to resentment and binging and certainly won't help you stick with your weight loss plan.

Pay attention to hunger cues. Many dieters hold off on eating in anticipation of a meal out or special event. Hunger followed by plentiful food often leads to over-eating so eat a healthy snack such as a meal replacement or protein drink before going out to help you stay on track and in control.

Keep moving. Set realistic steps for keeping active, even in short bursts, to reach a daily activity goal. If you're not strictly the cardio type, don't forget walking the dog, leaving your car walking to the shops then carrying your groceries - and putting them away yourself so you're up and down more - all contribute. Lift, escalator or stairs? These small decisions and actions all burn calories and keep you on the move.

Forgive yourself. If you binge, overeat or indulge in foods you generally avoid, it doesn't mean you have 'fallen off the wagon' completely. Remind yourself that the urge to over-eat will always be there, as you develop healthier attitudes and eating habits these feeling should be easier controlled. You should build a more relaxed day into your diet every 3-4 days allowing additional carbohydrates or (healthy) fats.

Take stock. When you feel the urge to eat, decide if you are actually hungry. HALT! Ask yourself if you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. There are other reasons too, such as being bored, frustrated, pissed off, nervous, etc. Food isn't going to solve any of these problems. Your body makes you crave carbohydrates because they cause a serotonin release, serotonin is a feel good hormone which many recreational drugs also caused to be released into the bloodstream, hence the reason that bar of chocolate gives you a temporary boost.

Document yourself. Keep a list of activities and treats other than eating that will help you relax and enjoy yourself. Use that list when you feel you're turning to food for reasons other than hunger.

Be optimistic. Many dieters are convinced that efforts to change their eating habits, exercise and weight are bound to fail (again)! If you are convinced you're going to fail, then you probably will. Take a positive attitude to succeed and you just might. Most people fail at whatever they try because with success comes responsibility and HARD WORK. To get your abs out for your summer vacation or whether you want to get ripped for a bodybuilding contest, you need to be prepared to educate yourself about different foods and their composition of fat, carbs and protein, when you can closely estimate the number of calories on a plate of food then you are well on the way to success.

Enjoy! Finally, take pleasure in the foods you choose to eat. Let food be your ally, not your enemy. Don't view food as recreation after all it is only fuel.

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