A woman holds a scale up in the air and smiles.
Are you losing it? Get equipped with the tools you need to make your dreams a reality. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

Many of the nearly 160 million overweight people in the United States ring in the New Year with high-flying goals of looking great and losing the weight.

“This year will be the one,” they may say to themselves. “I’ll be wearing skimpy bathing suits by Valentine’s Day, strutting my stuff by spring break and sharing my secrets of success by summer.”

But then, just as quickly as it began, it begins to fade. Those meetings, those nights out with friends, those lunch box snacks, those travel teams. Poof!

Don’t despair.

A lot of people face the same loss of motivation and practical challenges that so quickly chip away your resolve instead of your physique.

Spectrum Health dietitian Jill Graybill, RD, knows that mental fitness plays a big role in weight-loss success.

“I see it over and over again,” she says. “We believe that just by saying, ‘I’m going to lose weight,’ that it will happen. Worthy endeavors require a plan and thinking it through.”

Graybill offers 5 tips for success:

1. Think first

This is a critical step, and most often overlooked. Figure out why you want to set this goal, list the steps it will take to achieve it, and what it will look like once you do.

2. Evaluate long-term goals

Don’t set a weight-loss goal that you are unwilling to keep for the rest of your life. Don’t try to completely cut out junk food or carbohydrates. This is unrealistic, unsustainable and boring. And it can lead to even more weight gain as you later binge on foods you missed.

3. Get support

Tell others about your goal. Telling people you trust about your weight-loss plans will keep you accountable as the novelty wears off.

4. Enjoy food

Relish the delicious awesomeness of the items on your plate. Sit down and slowly consume your food. No electronics or car meals. Research shows you will eat less and feel more satisfied. It takes 15 to 20 minutes for your brain to register that meal. Stick with healthy food most of the time, indulge once in a while, and take time to enjoy the taste of whatever you are eating.

5. Eat reasonably

Learn to listen to your body and stop eating when you’re full. Most people eat with their eyes and only stop when their plate is empty. Use portion control for a proper plate for your body, take your time, and feel free to save some for later.