So Kelly Osbourne is checking herself into what she calls food rehab. Can you relate? Eat all the treats you crave and before you know it, you’re guilt-ridden and ready for some serious diet therapy. But cutting out the crap and losing weight seems impossible. Is there a way to slim down without beating yourself up? I say YES! You can have your cake and eat it too – if you do it right. These days, it’s not about dieting so hard that we make ourselves – and everyone around us – miserable. Here are 5 happy and UN-cranky ways to help you reach your health and weight goals without scaring everyone away or denying yourself so much that you feel like life is over.

Set reasonable goals Make losing weight possible by setting diet goals that are achievable. Small successes allow you to see results, which in turn will motivate you to up the ante. And no comparing. Everyone is different, with different body types, metabolisms and expectations. That means focusing on you and only you.

Change habits gradually. Take a good look at how and what you’re eating now, and list or chart it. Replace bad eating habits one by one rather than trying to change your diet all at once. Build in the almighty H2O, especially now that it’s Spring. Slowly refine your meals to fistful sizes of all food groups 5X/day, but not all at once. And don’t forget to indulge in your favourite special treat once in a while. Or, if you must, just take a bite or two.  The idea is to stay satiated and happy, not to feel constantly denied.

Stay positive. Changing your diet won’t happen overnight. Give yourself at least a month to get used to the new  routine before you expect to see results. Take your eyes off the mirror and focus instead on the great feeling you get from sticking to a plan. Take the time work out any emotional issues you have that may be driving you to be an emotional eater, as this can sabotage any efforts you make.

Get off the couch.  “Diet” alone is not enough. The dreaded exercise is part of the deal, so make it fun! Once your blood is pumping, you’ll start feeling lighter, and healthier. Find a buddy for moral support, and keep each other motivated, active and upbeat.  It’s OK to go ahead and embarrass yourselves on the Zumba floor because you haven’t danced to the Village People and YMCA for 25 years if you have to. Everyone’s in it for similar reasons, so don’t worry about how you look. Walking, running, weight training, swimming, cycling, yoga – whatever gets you revved up will do.

Reward yourself.  Bonus: Losing weight means your old clothes won’t fit quite right, so treat yourself to something new at each weight loss milestone, but be sure to buy what fits. If you load up on clothes that you expect to fit next month, you might end up disappointed. Take it step by step, and soon, you’ll be right where you want to be, all in good time! Photo credit:

About the author

Lauren Millman

Lauren Millman is a Professional Certified Coach, Counsellor, Interventionist and Behaviourist, in private practice in Toronto. She writes for business organizations and e-magazines, and is a regularly featured expert on Rogers Daytime and CTV. Lauren is all about keeping it real, and thinking outside the box to help you get-your-happy-on. She's married with three kids, is a self-confessed coffee snob, and believes you can't own too many pairs of shoes.

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