Group support and accountability – Organize a group of friends, church members or co-workers to meet on a regular basis for sharing experiences, successes and ideas.

Resources and information – Learn more about leading a healthy lifestyle by surveying the wide variety of related books and magazines available at the library and doing research on the Internet.

Pre-packaged foods – Create your own pre-measured servings for on-the-go packing and portion control. Make up 100-calorie snack bags and fill small plastic containers with fruits, vegetables and other foods. Divide entrees into calorie-controlled portions for the refrigerator or freezer.

One-on-one counseling – You might enjoy partnering with a friend for your weight-loss journey so that you both have someone to commiserate with. No one will understand your challenges and triumphs better than someone who is going through the same experience.

• Track your progress. Keep a diet and exercise calendar in a prominent place to keep track of how well you meet your daily goals. Each day write in your weight, the exercise you do, and what kind of eating day it was (Great, OK, Oops) based on your calorie goal. The visual reminder will keep you accountable.

• Celebrate your success. At pre-set weight-loss milestones, reward yourself with a new piece of workout gear, a scenic walk in a new location, or a massage. Some of the best rewards for building a healthier body will be increased levels of energy, strength and stamina, along with a more positive outlook on life. So start thinking about the all other goals that you’ll soon be ready to work towards – and achieve.

Sources:
1U.S. Food and Drug Administration – http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/2004/304_fat.html 
2 Shands Health Care – http://www.shands.org/find/service/weight/rmr.htm

Beth Huber is a pianist, piano teacher and freelance writer. Her work has appeared in such national publications as The Dollar Stretcher, Writer's Digest, The Secret Place and Clavier Magazine. She lives in Chester County, PA and can be reached at bethhuber@att.net.