Stage 3: Lifestyle Change Overview


Why is the weight loss industry so successful? Because of two reasons. First, people are desperately searching for answers. Industry insiders know that millions of people want to be told the secrets of weight loss, but don’t believe they can figure it out for themselves. Second, most programs drop you off at the most critical time: once you’ve seen results. Weight loss without a lifestyle change is a temporary solution. That’s how the industry can thrive on repeat customers.

To break out of this cycle and take back control of your health, Stage 3 helps you transition from “dieting” to a “lifestyle change.” The key to making a shift to a new lifestyle is developing the skills and confidence to stand on your own two feet. Listening to a sweaty, spandexed group leader telling you to do 100 lunges is not a lifestyle change. Crash dieting with water and grapefruit for a wedding in 10 days is not a lifestyle change. On the other hand, knowing how to get yourself up in the morning with a positive outlook - that’s a lifestyle change. Knowing how to forgive yourself for mistakes and steps backward - that’s a lifestyle change. These are things that only you can do.

You are your only shot at making a new lifestyle happen. A lifestyle that relies on other people or programs for motivation and confidence disappears once those sources of inspiration leave (as often happens with typical dieting). If you want to build a new healthy lifestyle that’s around as long as you are, it has to start with self-reliance.

Does it mean you have to do everything by yourself? No. Does it mean you need to have all the answers? No. To change your lifestyle, you simply decide to take responsibility for your own weight loss, and then work to make it happen. If you always rely on others for answers and motivation, or for some magic secret, you’re giving up that responsibility and control.

In Stage 3, you learn to take responsibility for your health and look inward for solutions. Even while you’re growing closer to other community members and fitness buddies, simply knowing that “I know what I’m doing” is a huge boost. There’s a big difference between wanting input and feeling like you need help.

This confidence - this know-how - is what will keep your new lifestyle around for good.


Role of Lifestyle Change


This is every bit a “transition” stage. It’s the bridge that carries you from dieting with healthy habits, all the way to spreading the spark to other goals and other people. The transition makes the SparkDiet different than any other diet, which would typically drop you off right here like a kid after school. Other programs may talk in vague terms about lifestyle, but don’t help you learn how to make the transition in real life.

If you can pick up on this transition and make it happen in your life, you many never have to diet again. The Lifestyle Change gives you a chance to learn to live with your collection of new habits. Even more importantly, it also teaches you how to stay motivated and consistent. Persistent motivation, when coupled with your nutrition and fitness know-how, is the key to keeping momentum alive and making it different this time.

This Stage has three main purposes:
  • Learn to find your own personal sources of motivation when you need them
  • Transition to a new lifestyle where healthy habits are normal
  • Continue involvement with the online community


What you can expect


The most exciting part of an adventure is the point where you start to break new ground. Discovering new traditions, seeing something for the first time, enjoying new experiences - these are all thrilling rewards of taking a new journey. The weight loss adventure you’re on right now also includes a time of facing the spine-tingling unknown - and that time is now.

One of the first things you’ll notice about Stage 3 is that it doesn’t feel like normal dieting. That’s good! Because you may be doing things in this stage that no diet has ever asked you to do. You may be covering new ground.

As you start the Lifestyle Change, you can look forward to looking inward and learning about yourself. You’ll learn what motivates you and how to use that to your advantage. For two weeks at a time, you’ll focus on a single self-motivation technique that’s designed to keep you fired up now and long into the future. From practical and mental strategies to emotional issues, you’ll cover more ground than an African safari.

Most likely, you’ll learn something about yourself that you didn’t know before. The bonus is that the changes you’ll make in the process of an overall lifestyle change will be fundamental transformations that can easily impact life beyond the scale. If you can stay motivated to stay healthy, for example, you’ll know how to stay motivated at work.

Besides building self-motivation skills, it’s important to continue what you started in Stage 2. So you should still track calories and nutrition once a week (instead of every day). This will ensure that your habits are still on track. Also, you’ll continue to receive practical Action Steps and articles to help you carry out motivation strategies that you’ll be introduced to. The difference is that there will be less hand-holding and hopefully more reflection and self-discovery.


5 Lifestyle Change Strategies


What Will Keep You Motivated?
What Will Keep You Motivated? What Will Keep You Motivated?
The key to changing a lifestyle is consistency. The key to consistency is motivation. The key to motivation is to know where to look.

It's Okay To Ask For Help
It's Okay To Ask For Help It's Okay To Ask For Help
Involving just one person with your diet goals doubles your motivation, your energy and your fun. Imagine what a group could do!

How To Reward Good Behavior
How To Reward Good Behavior How To Reward Good Behavior
You’ve worked hard, improving yourself and your life. That kind of effort deserves a reward! Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back.

You Can Overcome Setbacks
You Can Overcome Setbacks You Can Overcome Setbacks
A healthy lifestyle is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Plans will go awry and obstacles will pop up. Don’t get down. Get down to business.

Is Emotional Eating A Problem?
Is Emotional Eating A Problem? Is Emotional Eating A Problem?
For many of us, healthy habits go down the tubes when we’re upset, bored, stressed or sad. You can use your progress to solve this common problem.




Common Sense Behind Lifestyle Changes


Motivation is the (often) missing piece that drives Stage 3. You can learn all you want about fitness and nutrition, but without self-motivation, that knowledge could end up as useless as a forgotten phone number. Over the past several weeks, you’ve laid a healthy living foundation that has produced results and built several new habits. Now it’s time to take it to the next level and add the motivational finishing touches. By the time you graduate to Stage 4, you should have a handful of real motivation techniques that you can call upon and use for the rest of your life.

If a lifestyle could change overnight, there’d be no need for the self-help aisle at the bookstore. We’d all be charming, self-employed, well-dressed, organized people living meaningful lives with plenty of chicken soup in our souls. A Lifestyle Change takes some time, but there are deliberate steps you can take right now to make it happen. Continuing to weave healthy habits into your life is one step. Learning how to keep yourself motivated over the long-term is another step.

Stage 3 is set up and timed on purpose to make both of these steps possible. Healthy habits are going to be an important part of your life from now on - they aren’t going anywhere. While you’re learning motivation techniques, you should have enough time to fully integrate those habits until they form the core of your new healthy lifestyle.

Taking two weeks at a time to study and practice each new motivation topic will also make it easy to adopt these skills and put them into play long enough to see some outcomes and results. Some of these topics, such as emotional eating and setback frustrations, are important enough to spend extra time on and get right. This is not the time for shortcuts or rushing things.

In fact, this could be the most critical part of the whole diet process. You can try to coast on your current success and hope that you don’t fall back into bad habits (and bigger jeans). Or you can build on your momentum to figure out and take care of some critical issues once and for all.


How to Approach Lifestyle Changes


If there’s one word that would perfectly describe a great way to approach this stage, it would be this: excitement! You are on a great adventure and about to change your life. Who knows what the future holds? One thing, though, is for sure - that you are going to control where it goes.

Feel good about where you are. You’ve come a long way and accomplished a lot, even if you haven’t hit your weight loss goal yet. Just by pursuing your goals, you’ve done more than you realize. Go into this stage knowing that you can do it, while knowing that you may still have some things to learn about personal motivation. Confidence in yourself and in your habits will make a Lifestyle Change a lot easier.

On a practical level, pay attention to your healthy habits. Make sure that they’re still around and regularly check your calorie goals. If you’re committed to making these habits stick, you’re already halfway to a new lifestyle.

If you remember anything, remember to be prepared to change more than your gym membership or what’s in your cupboard. Be ready to change something about yourself or your life that will clear the way to reaching your full potential. (Now, that’s something to get excited about!) Keep an open mind, and most of all, don’t be hard on yourself. Be your own #1 fan instead. Give yourself permission to be imperfect, but at the same time, give yourself permission to be wonderful.



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