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If you feel that you’re in a rut with your weight loss program, know that this is not unusual.

Losing weight is a lifelong endeavor and with it comes ebbs and flows in your motivation and focus.

You don’t need to completely change your program to get out of a rut. Instead, consider following some of these easy tips:

1. Set new goals. We all need new goals now and then to help motivate us. Depending on your situation, you may want to set a new diet, exercise or even stress management goal. Examples include: keeping healthy snack food options at work (so you don’t have to depend on the vending machine), committing to walk a minimum of 2 miles each time you hop on the treadmill or starting to track your emotional-related eating. When you set specific goals, you’ll be more likely to realize success.

2. Spice it up. If you’re bored with your diet or exercise program, now’s the time to spice it up a bit. Consider trying new salt-free spices in your cooking or adding a fun workout using a hula hoop or the new kettle bell. Trying new foods or even a new workout may be enough to increase your motivation and focus to stick with your weight loss program.

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3. Counter negative thoughts. Negative thoughts can quickly sap you of your energy and make it hard to follow the healthy weight loss strategies that have been proven to help you lose weight. First, you need to be aware of the times those negative thoughts enter your mind and then be prepared to counter those thoughts with something positive. If you find yourself feeling guilty about something you ate, counter that thought by acknowledging that one or two bad diet choices won’t ruin weeks or months of better diet choices.

4. Get back to basics. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or completely bored, pick one or two strategies that you know have worked in the past to get you back on track. Examples include carrying a water bottle with you or starting to track your daily food intake. The minutes you spend doing these activities will remind you that you can take back control and your health is worth the effort.

I hope these four tips will give you ideas to get out of that rut and re-focus.

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