6 Strategies for Weight Loss Success

The No. 1 New Year's resolution in this country is to lose weight. If that's your goal, you're in luck, because the two people I'm about to introduce you to have done just that and more. By following my LIFE Diet plan, they've lost weight and feel sensational!

First, meet my friend, 33-year-old Linda Horton.  After a lifetime of emotional eating and unhealthy habits, Linda weighed 546 pounds. Many people fret when they are unable to shed 20 or 30 unwanted pounds. Imagine the overwhelming sense of hopelessness Linda felt knowing that she needed to lose more than 300 pounds! Today she's lost a total of 346 pounds280 on her own and an additional 66 pounds on my LIFE Diet. She now weighs 200 pounds.

LIFE Secret #1: Eliminate extras
Linda used to be a major snackaholic and nibbler. I explained to her that "picking" on tiny amounts of food throughout the day may not seem like such a big deal, but it's amazing how quickly those calories compound. In fact, I once had a client who claimed to be eating everything I instructed her to eat, yet the scale wouldn't budge. On a mission to figure out what was going wrong, I asked her to carry around a plastic bag for two days. Each time she reached for a nibble of her daughter's fries, her son's cookie, or her dinner stew, she was to place it in the bag instead of her mouth. After two days she bought the bursting bag to my office. Mystery solved! In 48 hours she would have mindlessly munched 1000 additional calories if they hadn't ended up in the bag. Lesson learned: Every bite counts.

LIFE Secret #2: Ditch starchy carbs at dinner
One of the most important dietary commitments Linda made was to ditch starchy carbohydrates (bread, pasta, potatoes, peas, rice and other grains) at dinner, and replace them with loads of vegetables. By eliminating her starchy dinner fix and instead doubling up on non-starchy veggies, Linda saved over 6000 calories and dropped 2 pounds each month JUST from this one diet tip!

Now, meet Nick Cimato.  At age 38 Nick suffered a minor heart attack, and by 42 he was pushing 400 pounds and was at risk for type 2 diabetes. That year, at his annual physical, his doctor said, "I don't know what else to tell you, Nick. Change or die."

Well, Nick did change…and how. He lost more than 100 pounds on my LIFE Diet program and can now bend far enough to tie his shoelaces, ride on a subway or bus without shame, buckle up on an airplane without a belt extender, and wear jeans. He's also registered to run a full triathlon in 2010!

LIFE Secret #3: Walk off your cravings
Like many of us, Nick sometimes gets intense chocolate cravings. I told him about a recent British study that found chocolate lovers had reduced cravings after taking a brisk 15 minute walk. He now walks all the time. The great thing about this "walking cure" is that it not only helps you fight the urge to munch, it also helps you burn calories instead of eating them.

LIFE Secret #4: Avoid trigger foods
Finally, Nick began to recognize his personal trigger foods — things he just couldn't stop eating once he'd begun. He realized that pizza, bagels, and candy bars were "dangerous" for him, so he did everything he could to steer clear of them. He stopped keeping them in his house, crossed the street to avoid the sight and smell of a pizza parlor, and averted his eyes whenever he caught a glimpse of a candy machine. Identify your personal triggers foods and avoid them at all costs!

Finally, here are two more LIFE secrets to effective and lasting weight loss:

LIFE Secret #5: Buddy up for better results
Numerous studies over the years have shown that partners who team up to lose weight or get fit together are more successful than individuals who go it alone.  A study from Indiana University showed that the 12 month drop-out rate for couples participating in a fitness program was just 6 percent, compared to 43 percent among individuals who joined the program alone.  A November 2008 study published in the "International Journal of Obesity" demonstrated that weight-loss programs can even have a ripple effect; spouses of individuals who participated in a weight loss program lost nearly 5 pounds more weight than spouses of non-participants, even though they weren’t formally following the diet themselves. 

You can increase your own chances of success by pairing up with a weight-loss buddy.  It doesn’t have to be a spouse — relatives, neighbors, friends, co-workers, and online communities all make good partners (for my online supportive community, check out www.JoyBauer.com).  Ideally, your buddy is nonjudgmental, unconditionally supportive, and as dedicated to battling the bulge as you are! With so many people committed to losing weight in the New Year, now is a great time to find yourself a diet companion.

LIFE Secret #6: Make the TV room a NO EATING ZONE
Too many people indulge in mindless snacking in front of the television, and that’s a particularly dangerous habit.  It becomes automatic, like chomping on popcorn at the movies.  It doesn’t matter what you eat—mindlessly eating even healthy foods can rack up the calories.  Try to remain conscious of everything you eat.  If you train yourself to eat at the kitchen table, you’ll be less susceptible to constant munching.  Of course, this assumes that you don’t have a television in the kitchen—if you do, keep it turned off while eating.

Find out if Joy’s LIFE Diet is right for you at JoyBauer.com.

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