While losing excess weight is good for your health, taking off those pounds can be stressful. You check the bathroom scale each morning wondering why the numbers don’t drop down faster. You go to parties worrying about what you’ll be able to eat instead of looking forward to seeing your friends.

The pressure can come from external sources too. Your doctor may be telling you that you need to lose weight to help manage medical conditions. You may compare yourself to images you see in the media and feel like your body comes up short.

You CAN reach your weight loss goals with fewer distractions and less discomfort!

Try this process for shedding the pounds without the stress.

Make Your Choices Automatic

Making decisions requires effort, especially when you’re trying to resist something tempting for the sake of longer-term gains. By changing your environment and your thinking, you can make healthy choices automatic.

Try these activities to form healthy new habits:

  1. Exercise regularly. If you visit the gym each day after work for a few weeks, it will become difficult to do anything else with that time. Similarly, you could put your running shoes by the door to remind yourself to start each day with a jog through the park or a walk in the neighborhood.
  2. Create a shopping list. Keep candy and chips and any other tempting foods out of your pantry. Write a shopping list before you go to the market to prevent impulse purchases and never go to the store hungry.
  3. Drink water. We often overlook the calories we drink. Fill up on water instead of soda or alcohol. Keeping hydrated has many other benefits too like helping to keep you alert and to sleep better.
  4. Keep a log. Using a journal or a log book to track your behavior will help you to spot your personal triggers for overeating. That way, you can develop strategies and have substitutes available in advance. Sometimes just knowing you have to write something down that you eat — no matter how small — can deter you from eating it in the first place.

Focus on Changes That Have the Most Impact

Would you rather spend your day thinking about your diet or being free to focus on the activities you love? If you make a few changes to your eating habits, you can relax and devote the rest of your energy to other things.

Focus on these changes:

  1. Eat more vegetables and fruit. Aim to consume at least 7 servings of vegetables and fruits each day. They’re usually low in calories and high in nutrients. Plus, they’re rich in fiber which makes you feel fuller. To help control blood sugar, choose fruits from the lower end of the glycemic index.
  2. Cut back on processed food. Much of the sugar, salt, and excess calories in your diet probably comes from packaged food. Switch to natural whole foods whenever possible. My philosophy is: If it’s in a package, don’t buy it.
  3. Control your portions. You can eat just about anything if you watch your serving sizes. Treat yourself to a few bites of cheese or dessert or a small croissant every now and then.

Develop Social Support

Any goal is easier to reach when you have partners on your side. Reaching out to others can even make losing weight seem fun. As a life and health coach I’m here to support you in your weight loss journey. I’m totally about helping you make lifestyle choices that will help you reach your health goals — not to lock you into a strict diet or exercise plan that you won’t enjoy doing. Get in touch with me here.

These activities will bring you support:

  1. Find a weight loss buddy. You probably know someone who’s trying to lose weight too. Team up so you can share encouragement, and hold each other accountable.
  2. Go online. You may not have time to go away to a spa, but you can find a weight-loss community online. Discuss your experiences and learn from each other’s struggles and success. My coaching services are available online worldwide.
  3. Seek inspiration. You’re bound to lapse occasionally. When your motivation wanes, give yourself a boost. Talk to one of your role models or read a book by someone who lost weight or overcame a similar challenge.
  4. Ask for help. Let your family and friends know what kind of assistance you need, whether it’s a ride to the gym or a few reassuring words. Be willing to help them out too.

Take the stress out of losing weight. Adopting healthy habits, targeting your efforts, and reaching out for support can make dieting — or lifestyle change — more pleasant and successful. You’re more likely to reach your weight loss goals and enjoy your life while you’re shaping up.