I am often asked by my clients for help on how to lose weight, get fit, or improve their sleep. Not surprisingly, these are areas where people find it extremely hard to achieve and maintain change.A person has to commit to maintaining a change in behaviour over the longer-term in order for any improvement to have lasting effects.
The vast majority of people who lose weight gain it all back plus five pounds, for example. This is usually because people lose weight through dieting, and once they reach their goals they do not maintain the changes they made in their diets that led to the weight loss in the first place.
I had a professor once explain to me in class that he was able to lose 10 lbs and keep it off by removing sugar and creamer from his coffee. He told the class that this change was one he is committed to maintaining over his lifetime, which was the reason the weight had stayed off. This was an example of a successful long-term change because he was able his maintain his commitment.
“Eat, Move, Sleep” by Tom Rath (2013) is a book full of facts about diet, exercise, and sleep that can help you get motivated to make lifestyle changes. By selecting a handful of the ideas that Rath puts forward in the book, and committing to maintaining them over your lifetime, you can effect real change. The best thing about Rath’s book is that he provides the motivation to make and maintain the change over the longer-term.
A couple of ideas Rath puts forward include:
- identifying the sugar content of foods that you eat, and replacing your favourites if they contain 10 g of sugar or more,
- substituting fruit for sugary desserts,
- putting gifts of junk food in the nearest trash can,
- using a pedometer, watch, GPS, smartphone, or manual log to measure your daily movement and aiming for a goal of 10,000 steps a day,
- exercising in the morning to improve your mood throughout the day,
- blocking all light from your bedroom at night, and
- keeping your bedroom two to four degrees cooler at night.
Dr. Patricia Turner, Registered Psychologist, Calgary, Alberta
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