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DOES...success might come from a physician or nutritionist, weight loss clinic, support group of friends, a diet planner, even articles and blogs on healthy eating...ReaMost people would say yes. But are you “most people?” Surfing the inter- net, perusing the bookstore, wandering through the library, a person can get lost in the information available about the perfect diet. The quest is never-ending. Just when the world accepts the newest fad diet another pops up without delay. What might be healthy for you could be a disaster for another person.Most often “diet” implies losing weight. Frankly, searching for and finding the quickest method for weight loss is desired even when gaining weight did not happen overnight. Nonetheless, slow and steady is good because with it comes a change in lifestyle. That very change in lifestyle can lead to sustained long-term change.Motivation is often the key ingredient for success. Add in a plan of action, support, and a bit of reward for achiev- ing incremental goals and chances for success continue to increase.Step one for many is to find your mo- tivation. Why is losing weight important to you? Why do you want to feel or look healthier? Why does it matter today? Isit an event, like a wedding or a vacation? Is it inspired by a health emergency or chronic condition that has caused a shift in the way you must live your life? Have you just gotten to the point where your clothes don’t fit they way they used to? Maybe you just don’t feel good. Your mo- tivation may be something else entirely.Whatever your motivation, I have found that establishing a desired outcome or goal is just as important. Once both sides of the equation are in place, a plan of ac- tion can be created. The wonderful thing about a plan is that it creates a guideline for change but it can also be amended along the way as needed.In my journey I knew that exercise would be part of my plan, in fact, it always had been. What I lacked was control over my meals. I was so busy, that eating on the fly became the norm. In order to be more efficient with my time, I added meetings during meal times. It led to eating out for every traditional meal on some days. Before I really stoppedto measure the changes I was noticing, 20 pounds had found their way onto my frame. That needed to change.Changing that lifestyle meant reclaim- ing control over my food intake. I had to spend time preparing food again. In turn that meant shopping for the foods that needed to be prepared rather than those that simply required a microwave, or that I could pay for during a meeting. Further- more, I needed a plan if I was going to be successful. I needed a reason, a goal, an outcome that was more important than staying right where I was. My motivation was a desire to be healthy and to avoid the downward health spiral that seems to happen to adults as we get older.The most difficult part was not in choosing new foods but rather indetermining their preparation. I knew what foods were good for me, just like I knew which foods really made me feel lethargic. I needed a recipe for success. That meant a plan with the right foods in the right quantities, with healthy movement.The good news and bad news is that there were a plethora of meal plans that already existed. I could have bought pre- packaged foods, planned foods by points, tossed all my foods in a blender, or cho- sen to follow the newest fad diet. None interested me. I read books on specialty diets and explored programs available online that offered direct assistance.A short list of what I found included the Mayo Clinic Diet, Nutrisystem, South Beach Diet, Bistro MD, Green Blender, Diet to Go, and Weight Watchers. There were a host of specialty diets too such as living a paleo lifestyle, eating whole foods, focusing on low carbs, healing digestion, addressing autoimmunity, balancing blood sugar, managing stress, cancer recovery, fat loss, athletic performance, and so much more. Whew.Many of them asked the same ques- tions... What’s your motivation? What are your challenges? What steps do think you can take that will help you to be successful in your quest to discover a whole new you?My quest and desire included exercise and fresh foods. I really enjoyed cooking but had strayed so far from it that I need- ed some menu guidance to reclaim my interest in experimenting in the kitchen22 SCENE 4302 I HEALTH & FITNESSl

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