Accept that the early days of a fitness program may not be fun. "You've just got to push through," says Jillian. "Your body is an amazing machine. After two weeks, the walk that used to have you sucking wind won't even tire you. It took only that long for the women on The Biggest Loser to discover they could do exercises they initially found impossible. By the end of the first month, you'll see some pretty significant changes. That's when I get calls from my clients: 'Oh my God, I felt my hip bone!'"
12. Don't expect dramatic weight loss to continue.
Depending on where you're starting from, "during the first two weeks of a new diet and fitness routine, you can drop as much as 15 pounds," says Bob. "After that, it tends to be one to two pounds a week. But everyone hits plateaus, which means that you can diet and exercise religiously for weeks without losing any weight at all. You just have to stay strong and ride it out. Life is all about ebbs and flows, and if you stick to your program, the weight will start coming back off."
13. Keep your body guessing.
Constantly surprising your body will help you avoid those weight loss stalls and get you out of them if they do occur. "You want to keep your food intake fluctuating, so your body never quite adjusts," Jillian says. "With women trying to lose weight, I like to vary it by around 400 calories. One day they'll eat 1,700 calories, then drop to 1,300 for two days, then two at 1,500, and one at 1,700 again."
The same principle holds true for exercise. "At first doing the exact same thing over and over is fine," says Bob. "You'll see results, which will keep you motivated. Eventually, though, at around four weeks, you'll need to vary the routine or your body will get used to what it's doing. But the smallest change can make a huge difference. If you've been walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes, slow your pace by half and increase the incline. If you're riding a stationary bike on the manual setting, switch to a program that imitates climbing hills. At one point, the contestants on The Biggest Loser had been doing barbell curls for a few weeks. So I had them change to just holding the barbells for five minutes without letting them drop. They couldn't believe it—it was killing them!"
14. Visualize long-term change, not deprivation.
"My clients, particularly those who have to lose a lot of weight, are often very angst-ridden when they start," says Bob. "They say, 'You're going to take away the food I love! You're going to make me do things I don't want to do, which is why nothing has ever worked for me!' I try to get them to relaaaax. This isn't about beating yourself down but lifting yourself up. It involves realizing why your eating has gotten out of control and starting to think about food differently. In fact, when my clients get close to their goal weights, I often give them one day a week to eat whatever they like—popcorn, M&M's. Losing weight and keeping it off means balance—not going without treats for the rest of your life."
15. Learn to hit the pause button.
Part of changing your eating patterns requires altering your reflexes. "When you find yourself thinking, I'm going to get an ice cream cone because I've had such a bad day, just stop," Bob says. "Take a moment and ask yourself, Am I really hungry? Do I really want this? Why do I want it? The pause gets you thinking instead of simply acting on impulse."
If it turns out that what you're feeling is something other than hunger, Jillian adds, find a nonfood treat. "Instead of eating the ice cream, reward yourself with a manicure, massage, or bubble bath. Do something positive, healthy—something that makes you feel beautiful and is incompatible with breaking yourself down."
Tip #16: Just forget about your thighs