Are you ready for weight loss?

Have you made the decision to drop a few pounds? Sure, you already know that means cutting out a few calories, maybe cutting back on the drinks after 5 pm and drinking your coffee black for a while. But have you really made the commitment to take off a few pounds for good – to step out of your comfort zone and actually try to look, feel and think differently about yourself? Before you throw out all the “bad” foods and chocolates from Valentines Day, here is a quick quiz to see if you want to succeed at losing weight.

1. Have you discussed your plans with your doctor? Apart from assisting you with a realistic goal weight and pointing out potential health or medical issues, your doctor can be a big supporter, and can also point you to other resources that will make your challenge a little easier. And besides, if you commit to your doctor, you may feel compelled to follow through so he/she will see what you have accomplished!

2. Is your weight loss plan realistic? Everyone wants to lose weight quickly, but how many years did it take to gain that weight? Rather than set a goal of so-many-pounds in so-many-days, how about setting a goal of one or two pounds a week? One pound is about 3,500 calories, so if you cut out 500 calories a day, you will lose one pound a week if you change nothing else. Try walking every afternoon for an hour and you’ll be able to achieve two pounds a week without much difficulty. And we haven’t even mentioned diet yet!

3. Do you have a support system? Many people are comfortable working on their own to lose weight. However, many others prefer to find support and advice from someone they trust and admire. What type are you? And if you need support, where can you find it? Often, some support and advice can come from people on the Internet, on forums and mailing lists. Do whatever works to make your weight loss goals achievable.

4. Can you think long term? Truthfully, losing the weight is only a beginning, isn’t it? You will want to keep that weight off after you do all the hard work of getting rid of it. And you will want to embrace the opportunities that your new fitness level provides. Oh, and about cheating. . . cheating doesn’t affect long-term goals. If you need to cheat, do it smartly. Carrot sticks or celery are better than cookies – low-fat cheese is better than ice cream. Just don’t view a cheat as the end of your weight loss program. . . it’s just a “break” from the routine that you truly do want to keep going.

5. Will you embrace your successes? Even small progress is progress. One pound gone is cause to celebrate. Two pounds gone is reason to celebrate again. Pat yourself on the back. Announce it to the world and keep up the good work.

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