After spending the holidays feasting on luscious dinners, desserts and the occasional extra glass (or two) of wine, your New Year’s resolution may involve shedding some pounds. If so, the best way to hit your goal is to think small, says Stephanie C. Barthmare, Med, LPC, a pyschotherapist at Methodist Hospital’s weight management center in Houston, as reported by HealthDay News. Here’s how:

     • Plan to lose just a few pounds. Doing it a little at a time will keep you from being overwhelmed—and it will keep you on track for keeping the pounds off.

     • Be specific about how you plan to lose weight, and have realistic expectations of what you can do each day. Also, include detailed directives, such as “no pre-dinner snacking” or “take a 10-minute walk every afternoon”.

     • Gradually stop eating bad-for-you foods. For example, start by cutting down your intake of soda from three a day to one for the first week, Barthmare said. “And then maybe [the] next week eliminate cheese from your sandwiches.”

     • Create a vision of your goal. Think about fitting into smaller-sized pants than you currently wear or doing an activity you don’t do now.

     • Keep it balanced. Going cold turkey on foods that don’t fit into your diet plan may work for a few days (or weeks), but when you start thinking about what you’re giving up, it’s highly likely that you’ll return to old and unhealthy eating habits, Barthmare said.

“When you don’t come up with a plan to lose weight and the process is torture, you are setting yourself up for failure,” Barthmare said. “By refraining from one behavior that you know is potentially causing weight gain, you will begin to accumulate small successes, and these positive actions and resulting good feelings give you the momentum to keep going and eventually reach the goal you set for yourself.”

Think about it. With these few tips, you’ll be out of your holi-daze and reaching your weight-loss goal before the year is up.

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