Successful Leaders & Dieters

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How lessons learned from leadership can help you lose weight

What do highly successful leaders have in common?
What do highly successful dieters have in common?
and – What do each of these groups of people have in common with each other?

The answer is, Good Habits

The connection between successful leaders and successful weight loss can be a matter of developing a few good habits. Stephen Covey wrote in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (2004), that there are certain behaviors / mindsets which can lead to effective outcomes. Here’s how we suggest you use these same habits for weight loss and maintenance.

People tend to like stability and avoid change. The thought is that change, no matter how small, is going to feel uncomfortable. And as a pleasure-seeking species that enjoys the status quo, we shy away from making changes, even when we know the outcome will be good for us. When it comes to weight loss, this means accepting that you may not be happy with the physical shape you’re in.

Step One is to Embrace the Discomfort of Change. It’s a conscious process in which you replace intrusive negative thoughts about making a change with positive self-talk. It’s replacing thoughts of “I’ve tried before and never lost much weight” with “My current plan to get healthy and lose weight is going to lead to greater energy, less joint pain and a better physique.” It only takes a couple of days for you to realize the positive benefits of dietary change.

Set aside time in your busy schedule to accomplish the necessary tasks needed to lose weight and keep it off. Step Two is Calendar Time to Eat Breakfast, Lunch and Exercise. Physically record in a day planner or calendar the times you plan on eating and exercising AND, schedule backup times just in case matters outside of your control prevent you from meeting your deadline.

All too often we consume food in a rather mindless fashion; eating becomes ‘just something to do.’ Remember Step Three, Food is Fuel; therefore, for every bite of food you put in your mouth, every spoonful of ‘energy,’ there has to be a corresponding energy expenditure or physical response. There’s only one outcome when you don’t burn all the fuel you consume: weight gain. This is why food diaries are so helpful.

It can be truly surprising just how many things (or people) can stand in the way of you losing weight. Almost everyone trying to lose weight comes up with “valid” reasons why they can’t. Expecting Resistance and Overcoming It is the Fourth Step in successful weight loss. Face resistance head-on. Develop a plan on exactly how you are going to overcome resistance when it arises. If you’re served a high calorie, high fat food, consume only a small portion. Push yourself to exercise for at least 15 minutes when an hour workout seems out of reach.

It’s been two weeks and the scale still reads the same! Weight loss takes time! It’s not fast and you don’t want it to be. When working on losing weight, Stick to One Program. Step Five requires you give yourself at least a couple of months to take weight off and lose inches around your waist. Think of ‘successful’ weight loss as a marathon vs. a sprint. If something doesn’t appear to be working, maybe you could use some tweaking. Contact our Dietitian Rana Parker at 213-252-3090 for a consultation.

Collecting Data to monitor your progress is Step 6, and is important in keeping you focused on your goal and providing feedback as to how well your efforts are working. Regularly measuring your weight and hip/waist circumferences is important. Weigh and measure yourself on the same day and time, once each week. Write down the results and track if your efforts are having an impact. You may want to keep a food journal or consider using a low-cost Apple or Android app.

Only You are Responsible for Your Weight Loss. This final Step means you have to take personal responsibility … to avoid eating too much fatty, sugary or processed food. Get in the habit of eating breakfast, and stop eating when you feel 80% full.