As health-seekers strategize their diet and fitness approach for the approaching holiday gluttony season, there are a few simple but key considerations that can make all the difference between a successful—and even profitable—weight-loss endeavor and a wellness endeavor that falls far short.
In seeking expert advice I connected with diet and fitness industry insider Jimmy Fleming, co-founder of HealthyWage—a company that offers industry-leading corporate and team-based weight loss challenges and financially-induced diet contests for individuals. He offered some compelling insights and opinions on critical elements needed for the best chance of success with a weight-loss initiative. Here are Fleming’s top five ideas:
Map out specific goals & timeframes.
You are far more likely to achieve your diet resolution if you spend a few minutes thinking it through. Sit down at your desk and dedicate even just ten minutes of your life to strategizing your resolution. Put pen to paper or, better yet, send an email to a friend or family member and make a list of the things you’re going to do to change your weight. Simply stating that “I’m going to lose weight” is not nearly specific enough, but it makes a good headline at the top. Write down a date when you will achieve your first goal. This date should be in the near future--one month is a good bet.
Now, make a specific, realistic goal. Most experts agree that you’re most likely to succeed if you don’t starve yourself, and plan on losing one to two pounds per week. In fact, setting a modest goal -- say, one pound per week -- can spare you a lot of hunger and stress. You might even forget you’re on a diet! Suppose you choose 1.5 pounds per week and a one month goal date: your goal will be about six pounds. Piece of cake (so to speak)! Put your goal and goal date on your calendar (e.g., “Weigh 150 pounds” as an entry for January 30).
Go back to your piece of paper, or email. Under your goal and goal date, write down the word “food.” Ask yourself: What exactly is your eating plan? Are you going to follow a particular diet? If so, when are you going to start? Your answer should be “right now.” Don’t be afraid. This is going to be great! If your diet requires that you purchase something or register on a certain website, go do that right now! What about exercise? What specific days and times will you commit to exercising? Who will you exercise with? If possible, call a friend now and set something up.
Review your resolution plan frequently as you work your way toward your goal. When your goal date comes, call a friend to either brag about your achievement or confess that you didn’t achieve it and tell them what’s going to be different for the next goal date. Now, sit down again (pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard) and set a new goal date and goal. Keep going!
Set up financial incentives.
After you’ve written out your specific goals and dates, your best bet is to build a little structure into them. Enter: prizes and rewards. A significant amount of academic research shows that you are much more likely to achieve your resolution if you include a double financial incentive -- i.e., money to lose if you fail and money to win if you succeed! The reason money works better than the natural motivators of vanity and health is that money can be tied to specific, measurable goals and deadlines. In other words, financial incentives help prevent procrastination by establishing a firm start date, and help prevent quitting by establishing a firm goal date. Financial incentives also make weight loss a lot more fun and exciting by transforming the process into a game.
There are fantastic tools and resources available online for setting up financial incentives. For example, HealthyWage allows participants to make various kinds of personal weight loss “bets” and win payouts up to $10,000. The double financial incentive is an incredible motivator and source of structure that most winners say is indispensable.
Do one thing at a time.
Trying to stick to more than one resolution creates a willpower diffusion that is almost always a recipe for failure. Your weight loss resolution requires time, planning, and lots of action items. The winding road from plump to less is made of many cobblestones that you have to lay down one at a time with lots of small, frequent decisions (e.g., “This morning, I am going to skip that second donut”). With all the good judgment and will power those little decisions require, you simply won’t have the time and energy for your other resolutions, too. You’re booked solid! If you think your weight loss resolution isn’t that big of a deal, you might be off track.
Or, at least tell a few friends or family members about your endeavor. If you’re not willing to tell someone about your diet resolution, you might not be committed enough to succeed. When you tell other people about your plans, a magical thing happens. You know that your supporters are waiting to hear news of your success, and you don’t want to let them down. Some researchers believe that the social element is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal.
Plus, it’s important to have support -- i.e., people to brag to when you succeed; people to talk to when you feel like overeating. Talking is a great antidote to a desire to binge or eat things that could get in the way of your success. If you’re really determined to achieve your resolution, you should consider taking the social element even farther. Try writing a blog about your progress. Not only will your readers help keep you seriously accountable, but you may discover that being a great teacher is one of the best ways to learn and improve your own success.
When you tell people about your diet resolution, be on the look-out for a dieting partner (or group of partners). When you work on your diet resolution with a buddy or group of friends or family members, you are even more likely to accomplish your goals. You get all the benefits of accountability plus the comfort and fun of knowing there’s someone waiting for you to exercise, compare food and restaurant experiences, and share the ups and downs of dieting. According to the American Psychiatric Association, “Enlisting family and friends in the effort may help.” One study shows that participants who do a weight loss program with friends are more than twice as likely to keep their weight off than those that try to do it on their own.
In addition to Fleming’s five slim down strategies above, there are other intelligent tactics that can help assure one’s diet and fitness success. Here are a few others that can help you achieve your weight-loss goals:
Science and biotechnology have completely changed the weight loss equation. Innovative and non-invasive biotech is now benefiting dieters seeking to safely supplement their weight loss efforts with plant-based and stimulant-free fat binding products that are clinically tested to accelerate weight loss. So forget the fads! bmiSMART provides effective weight loss solutions through patented technologies that’ll accelerate healthy, sustainable weight loss when combined with a sensible diet regime. For one, the company’s I-REMOVE Fat Binder product—the #1 weight loss seller in Europe for the past 5 years—has been shown in clinical trials to result in up to 3X more weight loss than would be achieved through diet alone. With it, users diet and I-REMOVE’s fat binding properties help them lose up to 3X more weight than they would otherwise!
Relative to how this fat binding biotech works, I-REMOVE contains Litramine—a patented fiber complex made from prickly pear cactus that’s manufactured using with a proprietary technology. This allows the ingredients to bind to fat molecules from ingested food and makes them too large to be absorbed, so the body absorbs fewer calories from fat. Taken right after a healthy, calorie-controlled meal, I-REMOVE is easy to incorporate into a busy lifestyle and does not require time-consuming meal planning or adherence to rigid, highly restrictive diets.
Of course, everyone is familiar with caffeine and similar stimulant-laden oral solutions that jack up metabolism and energy levels only to cause the dreaded crash-and-burn an hour or so later. With I-REMOVE Fat Binder that is no longer a concern. The biotech in this product leverages a physiological process that can radically increase weight loss by reducing the amount of dietary fat absorbed but without the caffeine crash and other unwanted side effects.
Tap tech that can help foster your success.
Having the right equipment can make all the difference, and all gadgets aren’t created equal. Some can go above and beyond with features and benefits that can give you an edge. Take the Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless Bluetooth Headphones for example—an outstanding option that’s particularly well-suited for runners. The first thing I love about these is they’ll literally stay in your ears no matter what activity you are doing or how twisted the yoga pose. And, the fact that they are wireless and will connect to your music player via Bluetooth is super convenient and makes them more comfortable as well. In terms of music, they provide immersive top-quality Dolby sound, so the audio output is fantastic. And the wearer can also control music playback, adjust the volume and take calls with just a quick tap on the earbuds, themselves.
But, even beyond all of these fab features, the Jabra Sport Pulse design is much more than just a set of headphones! They’re actually an all-in-one training solution with a built-in heart rate monitor that measures your heart rate via your inner ear, and are the only earbuds proven to deliver clinical-grade accuracy. The headphones also interface with a specialized Jabra Sport Life App that not only ensures you’re always training in the right heart rate zone, it also allows you to plan, monitor and evaluate your performance. So, you’ll always know if you’re in the most optimal zone for your goals. In-ear coaching also gives you real-time feedback to keep you updated on your workout progress in real-time to help you optimize each workout session.
Leverage killer kitchenware.
No matter how hard or long one works out, all can be lost based on how meals are planned and prepared in the kitchen. One weight-wise appliance that can be a true savior is the T-fal ActiFry. This super versatile, time-saving kitchen gadget allows you to prepare a wide assortment of dishes hands-free and healthfully by using little to no oil. So, the word “fry” in the product name is a little misleading, because it actually uses unique hot air circulation technology and stirring paddle to make tasty low fat meals ranging from meats and chicken to seafood or even vegetables and side dishes.
Aside from the fact that you can cook so many things without any oil, I also love this appliance because I’m a super busy mom and it cooks things fast. Because food is always cooked at precisely 338°, there’s no preheating necessary and meals are cooked very quickly and evenly since the paddle keeps the ingredients moving and stirring as the hot air circulates all around it. Clean up is also a breeze as the pan, lid, paddle, and filter are removable and dishwasher safe. Most importantly, the ActiFry is designed to be safe and family-friendly. My kids use it all the time to make everything from chicken nuggets and chicken wings to much healthier french fries.
With a little bit of planning, some monetary motivation, the right gadgets and gear, and some plant-based biotech, hopefully the next “diet” you embark upon will actually lead to healthy lifestyle changes and choices that result in sustained weight management for the long-term.
***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided at no cost or otherwise arranged to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***