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5 Tips to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind in 2014

Are you like the millions of others who have set a goal to lose weight in the new year? Think it's going to take lots of deprivation, extreme dieting and hours sweating at the gym? Nope, nope and nope.
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Are you like the millions of others who have set a goal to lose weight in the new year? Think it's going to take lots of deprivation, extreme dieting and hours sweating at the gym?

Nope, nope and nope.

In fact, in my experience that's just about the worst way to do it -- and a sure-fire way to only get results for a few weeks and then slip back into unhealthy habits. Instead of taking things away in 2014, why not add more awesome to your life? And why not make some small changes, month after month, that don't seem so hard but eventually add up to big results? Yep, that's how you lose weight easily!

Whether you've set a New Year's resolution to lose five pounds or 50, follow these tips to settle in your healthy weight and making eating right and being active a habit -- and not a chore -- in 2014!

1. Set monthly goals. Create a goal for each month of the year that adds something new and cool to your life. For example, try a new workout each week in January. Next month, set a goal to eat at least one green veggie every day. For March, buy a new healthy cookbook and challenge yourself to make one new recipe a week. In April, take your workout outdoors twice a week. You get the idea -- switch things up to keep yourself motivated about your healthy lifestyle. As you build goal upon goal, month by month, you'll naturally begin to lose weight and feel better without the obsessive calorie counting or deprivation-dieting mindset that drives most by mid-February to give up on their goal to lose weight.

2. Weigh yourself, and then give up the obsessive number watching. The scale can be a great tool, but it can also be a huge self-esteem crusher when you don't see your changes reflected on the scale as quickly as you'd like. This new year, weigh yourself once to get a starting weight, and then put the darn thing in the closet for at least a week, maybe two or three. Invest in a measuring tape, too, so that you can take measurements every other week to see how much your body is really changing. Ya'll know the scale isn't the whole story, as it can greatly fluctuate based on what foods you eaten, sodium intake and how hydrated you are.

3. Ditch absolutes. Words like "always" and "never" rarely have a realistic place in your day-to-day life when it comes to working out and eating right. It's important to ebb and flow with your new healthy lifestyle. When you're really craving pizza, eat a piece and don't feel guilty about it. Just keep your portions in check. If you really listen to your body, it will usually tell you what it needs, whether it's a nap, a good long run, a big salad or a day off from the gym. Trust yourself, and don't be so darn hard on yourself.

4. Embrace mindfulness. I can't tell you how many people tell me that they "love food" yet scarf it down without really even tasting it. Slow down, take a few deep breaths, listen to your hunger and really taste your food -- it's an incredibly simple and effective way of enjoying your food more and eating less. Put your fork down between bites. Focus on the conversation around you. Check in with yourself as to how you're feeling and how hungry you really are. And for goodness sake, savor each and every bite, really chewing your food and tasting it. You'd be surprised how much less food we all need to feel satiated when we just slow down.

5. Start your day with a little self love. Yes, you probably want to lose weight because you're not thrilled with your body or how it makes you feel, I get that. However -- and this is a big however -- you can't hate yourself healthy. Corny as it sounds, you have to start with love for yourself, exactly as you are. By accepting and loving you as you are now, you then learn to value yourself enough to take care of you for the long haul. So this year, create a short two- to five-minute self-acceptance ritual that you do each morning. Something as simple as telling yourself that you love your body will work, but feel free to make it even more fun by playing a song (or watching a video like this!) that pumps you up and makes you feel better or reading a quote that makes you feel good. The idea is to start your day with a reminder of why you're worth taking care of. Because you totally are!

Did you set a New Year's resolution this year to lose weight? How are you doing it sanely?