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7 Steps to Weight-Loss Success

Don't just wish you looked and felt better.  Use these tips to jumpstart your "new you" plan.

By Anne A. Simpkinson, New York, New York

WEB EXCLUSIVE

Two years ago I lost 45 lbs. then last year put a good portion of them back on.  Instead of despairing, I'm ready to re-boot and start over. 

Maybe you're in the same boat.  If so, let me share seven things that helped me drop those unwanted pounds:

1. Keep a Food Journal.
I personally use WeightWatchers.com to track what I eat. It’s a great place to find out about how much and what you can eat and still lose weight. It charges a fee, so if you’re on a tight budget, you could sign up for the free weight loss website, SparkPeople.com. It’s got many resources and advice to help you on your way.

2. Join a Gym.
I joined a relatively inexpensive gym in my neighborhood, mainly for the treadmills and yoga class. What I found was that while exercising at first exhausted me, it didn’t take long until I felt more energized and less hungry.

3. Find a Diet Buddy.
My neighbor was given advice from her doctor to lose weight and when we found out that we had similar weight goals, we joined forces. First, we started a weekly weigh in and then eventually she too joined the gym with me and so once a week, we’d go to the health club, weigh in, work out and take the yoga class.

4. Wear Your Motivation on Your Wrist.
A former colleague once gave me a motivational wristband: Don’t give up. Serendipitously, I happened to find it early on, and have been wearing it religiously. When I feel tempted to overeat or slough off exercise, all I have to do is look down and read the motivational message, which helps keep me on my self-improvement track.

5. Find Inspirational Role Models.
I was lucky enough to work with two women, Julie Hadden, Season 4 Biggest Loser runner-up who lost almost 100 lbs, and Tammie Temple, our 2009 New Year, New You contest winner who not only lost 63 lbs but ran a 5k with her teenage son! These women’s honesty, hard work, dedication and faith inspired me to take on what seemed insurmountable. They helped me realize that if they did, so could I! You can find inspirational weight loss stories on our site.

6. Get a Lap Cat.
As silly as it may sound, having Mimi, my eight-year-old tuxedo cat, or Smooch, my two-year-old rescue cat, on my lap at night as I read or watch television, helps me not get up for snacks. I simply can't disturb their lazy snoozing.  They're just too cute and comfortable!

7. Stay Focused.
I realize that there are many projects I’d like to take on this year but they can wait. My commitment is to achieve my goal by year end. So I’m holding off on other things so I can put my energy into planning my meals, keeping my larder well stocked with healthy foods, taking the time to exercise—it pays off!