The question that needs to be asked is are you really ready and willing to lose weight? It's not enough to feel overweight and out of shape. It's about feeling ready and having a strong enough "why" and a plan of action.

It pays to look at some potential barriers, both physical and psychological that may be getting in the way of your weight loss goals.

Many people initially set unrealistic goals to lose weight and end up disappointed. Some people tend to have an unrealistic notion of how much they can actually lose and then set themselves up for failure. If they don't start seeing the results immediately, they start to lose faith that they can achieve the goals and more than likely give up.

It is the people that set out to lose the weight slowly and realistically, following a plan of action that they implement as a lifestyle rather than a "quick fix", that sees the results long term and reaps the benefits. Yo-Yo dieting simply does not work and sets you up for future hassles and disappointments regarding your weight and health.

It is great to be motivated and rearing to go, but a few other factors need to be looked at to determine the success of your weight loss and see if you are truly ready to lose weight.

Set a realistic goal

The first most important thing to do is set a SMART goal. Make your goal specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time framed.

The most important aspect of your goals is to make it achievable. Start out small and work your way forward. Set goals close to your current weight to begin with and as you achieve this goal, move onto another doable goal if desired.

A larger goal is daunting and overwhelming. This alone is enough to set us up for failure, as we ourselves will believe it is impossible to achieve. A healthy weight loss is around 1kilo a week.

Avoid fad diets

There is no such thing as a perfect diet. Everybody differs in the results they will obtain in any regime used to lose weight. The word "diet" alone conjures up images of deprivation. Any diet that offers a quick fix solution to weight loss should alert you to the fact it will not deliver in the long run.

Aim to talk to a qualified exercise and nutritional professional about what structures you can set in place to create a healthier lifestyle rather than a quick fix to so called perfection. A long term approach is your best guarantee to long term success.

Learn from past experiences

What sort of experiences have you had in the past, in your efforts to lose weight? Are you easily put off exercise after starting with great gusto? Do you dread the thought of having to eliminate your favorite foods?

List what actions in the past you did for weight loss that you found not enjoyable and unhelpful. Now think about what has worked for you in the past in losing weight. Be specific. List what activities have been helpful for you. Did you enjoy a certain type of physical activity? What program did you enjoy following?

Your list of unhelpful actions may include; getting up at 5pm to drive to the gym before work and eliminating chocolate in an attempt to shed kilos.

Your helpful action list may include; getting up 20 minutes earlier to eat a healthy breakfast before work and exercising in the evenings while watching your favorite TV program. Every goal can be made fun with the right type of strategy.

Surround yourself with a support group

Support from friends and family is crucial when you undertake any goal. It pays to be around like-minded and supportive people when you are trying to lose weight. Many people may undermine your efforts to lose weight as it highlights a lack in them selves to achieve their own goals.

Our family and friends love us and wish the best for us, but sometimes they may subconsciously try and sabotage our success for fear of being left behind. If this happens, be assertive and make it clear that you will feel better about your efforts if they could be supportive.

Choose a support group that you can be accountable to for added success. If needed, hire a personal trainer to add some unbiased neutral support and guidance.

Focus on the Health rather than just aesthetics

Focus not only on the weight loss that will eventuate, but all the other benefits that will permeate your life from taking care of your health. Avoid guilt over taking time for yourself. Realise that your friends and family will benefit from a healthier you.

When it comes time for you to do your scheduled exercise program and your motivation levels are waning, think about all the benefits of nourishing your body and mind.

Focus on increased energy, vitality, a stronger fitter body and your body will respond aesthetically. Our society's obsession with looks leave out the crucial "feel" factor in living a healthy and happy life.

Feeling good first will always translate into looking good!


Article written by Nalisha Patel.  Visit Nalisha's website here.