Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight will tell you that there is one thing it isn’t and that’s easy!
Whatever reason you have for wanting to lose weight, you want all the help you can get, right?
If you’ve tried fad diets, starvation diets, diet pills, or diet drinks and they just don’t work for you (or they work for a short time, but you give up on them) there are 4 reasons behind why they didn’t.
Most people fail to lose weight (or keep it off) due to one or more of these reasons:
1. There Was No Clear Objective
If you suddenly realize that you can’t close the button on your favorite jeans, you probably thought that dropping 25 pounds would be a good idea, rather than buy a new wardrobe.
So, you decide to “lose some weight” by eating salads for lunch starting Monday. By Friday, as you are munching your way through a burger, you suddenly remember about salads.
Why did you forget about salads so quickly? There was really no set goal or plan. If you don’t make a solid goal (I want to lose 25 pounds in 5 months) and then set up a realistic means of doing so (using a calorie calculator) then you have no end game.
Studies have shown that setting targets leads to greater long‐term weight losses. (1)
2. Failing to Monitor or Measure Progress
Many people make a resolution on New Year’s to lose weight. They might say “I’m going to lose 40 pounds this year.” They might even decide to cut calories, but they never set up a system to monitor their calories or their weight loss. As soon as they break their diet, they simply give up.
3. Relying Too Much on Willpower or Memory
Not keeping track of your calorie count or your weight is another sure way to be a diet loser. You might think that you can remember the calorie count for everything you have eaten, so you don’t need to write it down or to weigh your food. You might also think that you won’t overeat at the next company party because you are a "strong person".
We can almost guarantee that you are eating far more than you remember and after 1 drink, you will overeat. Humans just aren’t wired for self control.
4. Few or No Rewards
You might think that fitting back into your favorite jeans is reward enough, but alas, for most people, this just isn’t true. Especially if you have a lot of weight to lose. Little rewards as you go on your journey really inspire you to keep going and stay on track. (4)
Think of what we are about to tell you as a super organized, interactive vision board.
Clear objective, measure progress, tracking & rewards. Check, check, check & check.
Before we talk about the vision board and how it works, you need to have some information on hand.
You should know how many calories you can eat each day to lose weight by your goal date. Ready?
1. Write down your current weight and you can even write down how much weight you want to lose by a certain date. Let’s say you weigh 175lbs want to lose 25 pounds in 5 months.
2. Use this weight loss calculator to figure out how many calories you can eat in order to achieve your goal weight by the goal date. You can play around with the calculator, trying different lengths of time. My tip is to use the “suggested weight loss” feature. Be sure to write down the suggested calorie amount for weight loss and try to be as honest as possible when determining your activity levels.
Transfer the weekly amount of calories allowed and your goal weight onto the calendar.
3. Buy an assortment of different colored post-it notes and colored markers and a large wall calendar. Now you are ready to get started!
First, take out the post it notes and write down your current weight (for our example, 175 pounds). Now, write down every pound using the same colored post it note. In our board, we used yellow but you can use any color you like.
For every 5-pound loss, use a different colored post it note. Take a look at our example board. For every 5-pound loss, we used a brightly colored post it note that would really stand out. These different colored notes mean that you get a reward! This visually prepares your brain to make it to the next colored marker for a reward.
Find a large area on a wall in your home. Depending on how private you want this to be, you could use your bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, or home office. You could also use the back of a door. The back of a door which has a mirror attached would be a great choice.
Put your calendar on the wall and at the start of each week write down the number of calories you are allowed that week. You can get your exact calorie count from the calculator. As your weight drops, this number will change. Use the above calculator to note the changes and write them on the calendar so you won’t forget.
You can also write your goal weight for the week (whatever day works for you, usually Saturday or Sunday) so you can keep your eye on exactly where you should be.
Put down the weekly calories and goal weight onto the calendar.
Use different colored markers if you like and dress up that calendar as much as you want. Add glitter, stickers, cartoons, motivational quotes, or even some inspirational pic’s. Feel free to make this as personal as you like! You might even want to write in your daily (or weekly) weigh-ins.
Now you can start stacking those post-it notes next to the calendar.
Studies have shown that reinforcement techniques such as purchasing a special item when a goal is met are an integral part of the behavioral treatment of overweight and obesity (5).
Take another set of post it notes and write down a set of rewards you would like to give yourself. You can reward yourself every 5-pounds or 10-pounds or once a month, the choice is yours. Remember that rewards should be non-food related. In our example, we used brightly colored notes of different colors that would grab our attention.
Everyone is different, so rewards will vary greatly, but how about rewards like:
You get the picture. Using our example, we would reward ourselves when we lose our first 5 pounds. Our post-it note reward would read something like “170! Get a manicure” Place these rewards next to your post-it notes related to your weight loss, or you could make a separate section for rewards.
Use your calendar to mark off each day that you stuck to your diet. Put a big colored X right on the day, so you will want to continue that streak and mark off every single day.
As your weight loss progresses, you can rip that post-it note right off the wall or cross it out, whichever you prefer. Same with the rewards notes.
Chances are that your weight loss journey will occur during holidays or special occasions. You can write the weight you should be at a separate post-it note for those or mark it on the calendar. For example, “Christmas-155 New Years Day-150” and so on.
This visual aid solves all the problems listed above. Your goal is clearly spelled out. You are measuring and monitoring your progress. You have everything written down, so you don’t have to rely on your memory and your notes are a powerful source of inspiration.
Let’s not forget that your rewards are clearly spelled out, so you know what goodies are coming your way when you reach your goal.