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Lose 10 20 30 Pounds or More! – Part 1

Lose 10 20 30 Pounds or More! - Part 1

Finally! The diet secret you’ve been missing

You walk every day. You watch what you eat. So why are you still struggling to lose weight? The answer may be all in your head: Hating your body–a common reason for wanting to lose weight in the first place–can actually sabotage your weight loss attempts.

The good news: You can learn to like your body and more than double your chances of getting slimmer.

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, CA, found that people who started a weight loss program feeling happiest with their body were more than twice as likely to lose weight as their counterparts who were least satisfied with their body.

But how do you get happy with your body before you lose weight? With Prevention’s feel-good plan.

We rounded up advice from top body-image professionals, weight loss experts, and women just like you who found that feeling good about their body made losing weight easier. In three simple steps, you can boost your body appreciation, shed pounds with ease, and get your best shape ever!

Step 1:

Respect Your Body

“People who worry about how their body looks often avoid the very things that can help them look and feel better, such as exercising and developing better coping skills,” explains Elena Ramirez, PhD, staff psychologist at Green Mountain at Fox Run in Ludlow, VT, a women’s weight and health management center. “Once women improve the way they feel about their body, they take better care of themselves, which helps them lose weight.” Here’s how to befriend your body.

LOOK IN THE MIRROR

Instead of cringing every time you see yourself, start accepting yourself, advises Dr. Ramirez. Slowly acclimate yourself to the image in the mirror by spending a few seconds a day looking at your body clothed. Slowly wear less and less, working up to viewing yourself unclothed for a few minutes.

“In a few weeks, you’ll become comfortable with your reflection and realize that you have some positive physical qualities,” says Kimberly Lavoie, 30, of MA, who has lost 22 pounds since beginning these body-image exercises. “You also begin to realize that you got yourself into the shape you’re in, so you can also get yourself out of it.”

FACE YOUR FEARS

It’s common to avoid situations that make you feel worse about yourself, such as shopping for clothes or going to parties, says Dr. Ramirez. Feeling better about yourself requires facing those situations. “Pick one thing you avoid, such as wearing a bathing suit, and take small steps to conquer that fear,” she says. “First, just buy the suit. The next day, wear it around the house for 10 minutes. Later, wear it in front of a friend. Soon, you’ll feel comfortable enough to swim laps or take part in an aqua aerobics class.”

BE POLITE!

“If you had a friend who said, `What a big butt you have!’ every time you saw her, you wouldn’t remain her friend,” says Thomas F. Cash, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, and author of The Body Image Workbook (New Harbinger, 1997). “Don’t tolerate that treatment from yourself either. Every time you start putting yourself down, stop cold. Instead, encourage yourself as you would a friend. Say, `Yeah, my shape isn’t what I would like, but I’m taking steps to change it. And that’s a positive thing.'”

DITCH THE MAGIC NUMBER

Some women have their whole body-image wrapped up in a number on the scale, says Joni E. Johnston, PsyD, a clinical psychologist in Del Mar, CA, and author of Appearance Obsession (Health Communications, 1994). “If they’re just a couple pounds off, they really horrible about themselves,” she says. “Give yourself an acceptable weight range between 5 and 10 pounds, so you can have healthy, normal weight fluctuations and still feel good about your body.”

HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH

When you’re busy thinking your thighs are too big, you assume everyone else is thinking that too, so you feel self-conscious, says Dr. Cash. “People never judge us as harshly as we judge ourselves. If you hold your head up, smile, and project a healthy, confident person, that’s what they’ll see–and that’s how you’ll feel.”

Step 2:

Accept Your Power

Poor body image often comes with a little soundtrack in your head that repeats this tune: “My weight loss efforts have never worked before, and they won’t work now. I’m a failure,” says Dr. Ramirez.

If you keep that negative soundtrack playing, you probably will fail.

Consider this: In one study, beginning tennis players who were told that they could improve their game by trying hard and practicing scored consistently better than those who were told that poor performance meant they lacked the innate ability. “If you believe you have bad genes, you’re less likely to succeed than if you believe you have the power to control your actions, your attitude, and, consequently, your weight,” says study leader Robert Singer, PhD, chairman of the exercise and sport science department at the University of Florida in Gainesville. It’s all about developing what psychologists call “self-efficacy”–a big word for believing in yourself and your power to do what needs to be done. Here’s how to boost yours.

TALK BACK

One quick way to stop the negative voices in your head is to simply tell them to quiet down, says Dr. Johnston. “Most people walk around putting themselves down without even realizing it. Pay attention when those self-defeating thoughts pop up. Every time your internal voice starts saying, `I’m too fat’ `I’m too uncoordinated’ `I can’t do it,’ answer back: `That’s enough. I can do whatever I put my mind to.'”

WRITE YOUR RESUME

Confidence changes from situation to situation, says Edward McAuley, Ph.D., professor of kinesiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “It might be high in the office, yet low at the gym. You want to transfer all the assurance you can from one situation to the other,” he says. Think of it as writing your resume. You don’t always have the experience a job calls for, but you do have the skills. “Write down the skills you have to succeed at a fitness plan,” he says. “List attributes such as `I’m a hard worker’ `I manage my time well’ `I’m a fast learner’. Then use these skills to succeed at your fitness program.”

RECOGNIZE SUCCESS

Think of developing confidence like building a house with a strong foundation brick by brick. “Each little success is a brick,” says Joyce Nash, Ph.D., clinical psychologist in Menlo Park and San Francisco, CA, and author of The New Maximize Your Body Potential (Bull Publishing, 1997). “Calling a gym that interests you is one brick. Going to observe an aerobics class is another. Don’t disregard all these little steps: Applaud yourself for making progress.”

FIND NEW FRIENDS

A weight loss buddy can go a long way toward building self-confidence, says Dr. Singer. “The more like-minded people you have to support you, the more confident you’ll feel, and the more likely you are to succeed.” Take advantage of the bulletin boards at the gym. Or you can find a fitness buddy online at Prevention’s Healthy Ideas Web site (www.healthyideas.com). Click on the “weight loss and fitness” area, then register under “finding support” in the “weight loss program” section.

A weight loss buddy can go a long way toward building self-confidence, says Dr. Singer. “The more like-minded people you have to support you, the more confident you’ll feel, and the more likely you are to succeed.” Take advantage of the bulletin boards at the gym. Or you can find a fitness buddy online at Prevention’s Healthy Ideas Web site (www.healthyideas.com). Click on the “weight loss and fitness” area, then register under “finding support” in the “weight loss program” section.

 

 

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