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Tips for Keeping Your Resolution to Lose Weight

The New Year is here! It's time to make your annual list of all the things you really want to do this year. You want to become a better person, give more to charity, spend more time with family, and, of course, lose weight.

Every year, millions of people promise that this year will be different. This year, we will stop carrying around the extra pounds. We will even exercise! By spring, when it's time to wear shorts again, you're horrified! What happened to that New Year's resolution?

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

It's a quote attributed to Albert Einstein, and he was right on the mark. Are you insane? Every year, you make a resolution to lose weight, but you don't change anything. You can't lose weight just by telling yourself to eat better in general. You need goals and you need to prepare yourself. You need a plan!

No Dieting Until the Decorations are Put Away!
Now you're thinking I'm the insane one, but keep reading. Even supermodels allow themselves junk food during the holidays. It's one of those universally allowed pleasures. You're expected to overeat during this time of year.

If you start a diet while the Christmas tree is still sitting there, it's not real life yet. It's still that magical time of year where fudge, cookies, and pie are allowed as often as you want.

When the tree and decorations are gone, you are psychologically saying, "OK, it's time to get back to normal." You won't be as tempted with treats. You won't be getting last minute platters full of sweets from the neighbors who had too much. You are signaling your mind and body that the New Year has begun, and your diet plan is simply a part of your new year.

Choose a Diet Plan!
You don't have to follow the sheep to the latest fad diet. In fact, you shouldn't. It does, however, help to follow a diet plan when you want to lose weight. We all know deep down which things we should and should not cram into our mouths, but we make the wrong choices anyway. When you have some guidance, it's easier to make the right choices.

Choose a plan that allows you to eat a large variety of foods.
When foods are forbidden (think of the "no carb" diets), you only think of those foods. You crave them much more than you did before someone told you that you couldn't eat them. It's human nature. You need to work with your tastes and cravings, not against them. If bread is your favorite food, find a diet plan that allows bread. If you can't live without chocolate, there are several plans out there where you can still get your chocolate fix.

Don't Involve Friends and Relatives!
Yes, it sometimes keeps you motivated to diet or exercise with a friend or family member, but I'm here to tell you to avoid it at all costs!

How many people do you know who kept their resolution from last year? Statistically, most people fail. If you depend on another person to keep you going and they quit, you are more likely to quit. You might both be 'gung ho' at the beginning, but as it becomes more difficult to get your schedules in sync, both of your plans gradually fall apart.

Friendships have been destroyed by the guilt of letting down a friend. You don't want your friend to avoid you because she ate an entire chocolate cake last night. You also don't want to be pressured to cave in when she really wants dessert at lunch. Trust me - it's better to go solo on this resolution thing!

Your Goals
You need goals to stay motivated. Right now, your motivation is that it's the New Year. You have a new beginning. You can make this year be anything you want. By the time March rolls around, you will be happy that you planned goals now. Write them down, put them on your computer calendar, and revisit them often.

Don't make your goals unrealistic. You're more likely to quit altogether if you don't reach a goal, so why make it unattainable? Set your goals low. Make them achievable. Drop a pant size in three months. Walk a mile 3 days a week by March. Fit into a swimsuit (of a reasonable size!) by summer.

We all want instant results, but it's not going to happen. If you think weight loss is too slow, think back to a year ago. Had you started then, think about where you would be now!

Don't be insane this year. A resolution isn't a magic wish. It's a guideline to get you on track. Realize that you've made mistakes in the past by not planning and really committing. Decide that this year will be the year you keep your resolution to lose weight!