"Lose 7 lbs in 7 days" "Lose 3 pant sizes in 3 weeks"  The faster and easier, the better...this is the mentality of many who want a healthy lifestyle, but want it now and without having to give up too much of their current lifestyle.  This is the reason there are so many fad diets pulling people into the habit of yo-yo dieting.  Weight is lost, but gained right back when the tight restrictions of a fad diet are too difficult to maintain.  Could patience be the key to weight loss success for the long term?

Sure it may be true that if you eat a special vegetable soup recipe for every meal for weeks on end you will be so full of fiber and fluid that you will not be hungry for anything else and will lose weight.  Sure if you replace two of your meals with filling protein shakes and eat small portions for one meal you will lose weight.  Sure if you do nothing but drink low-calorie lemon juice all day you will lose weight.  However, these "diets" will do nothing but make your body crave vitamins and nutrients that these meal regimens are missing, you will likely be tired of eating, or drinking, the same thing day in and day out, and before long you will reach for a french fry or cookie that will start the regain of weight lost from such fad diets.  Balance is everything and most of all, patience is key to weight loss.

As they say, "good things come to those who wait" and if you take the building of a healthy lifestyle one step at a time, it will make the process that much easier, and each new habit you learn will become part of your routine instead of being a temporary fix.  Faster is not always better, especially with building a healthy lifestyle, because in more cases than not, "diets" that get us to fit into our wedding clothes or jeans from high school within months' time will not last and studies show that these quick "fixes" can wreak havoc on our hormones and make us more susceptible to weight regain.

In addition, goals we set can be overwhelming to imagine at first such as "I want to lose 50 lbs this year." We may feel like just taking the quickest way to our goal so we don't give ourselves time to give up on our goals and don't have to struggle to reach our goals.  However, if this goal is broken down into more attainable goals each week, it seems less daunting.  Start off by saying, for example, "This week I will cut down my soda and  juice intake to 1 cup a day."  The next week you could say "I will replace one cup of pasta with one cup of veggies at dinner each night."  These small goals may not seem all that impressive on their own, but if built upon one another, they could lead to a reduction of calories that will eventually lead to a gradual, healthy weight loss that can be kept off for the long-term.  In addition, accomplishing one small goal at a time can help build your motivation that will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle for the long-term.

Use these steps to gradually build your way to weight loss success:

1.) Make a long-term goal ( "I want to lose 50 lbs this year" "I want to run a half marathon next fall").

2.) Make some 3-month short-term goals ("I want to lose 15 lbs in 3 months" "I want to run a 5K race")

3.) Break each short-term goal into small weekly goals ("I will cut down to one cup soda a day"  "I will jog for 20 minutes a day for 3 days this week")

4.) Keep track of each weekly goal and build on it each following week ("I will drink at least 6 cups of water each day" "I will jog for 30 minutes a day three days this week")

5.) Each time you accomplish a short-term goal, create a new one -Having a continuous stream of short-term goals will help build motivation and bring you all that closer to your ultimate health goals!

Source: New England Journal of Medicine