Alert! However, I am no expert in this area and am only sharing my experiences and knowledge (I have gained from books, interactions, etc.). Everyone should definitely consult their trainers, dietitians, or doctors before quoting me on anything! :o) [Don't say I didn't warn you :P]
This Q&A will be in two parts. Here we go...
DQ2 - We read books, take advice from different ppl, join groups (i.e weight watchers, south beach diets, etc.) and get extremely motivated initially. I very often find myself going slack after a couple of weeks or months. How should one maintain that motivation to reach one's goal?
Personally, there is no one correct answer to this question. To find motivation for yourself you will have to be honest with yourself. I am sure you see yourself in the mirror everyday. That should be a motivation enough! If you do not like what you see and tell yourself to do something about it every-single-day you will stay motivated. Set small goals (weekly) for yourself. When you achieve them you will feel gratified and motivated. I promise you!
You really need to want it badly, else you are not going be to able to stay motivated for long. Write down what you want and put it up on your wall and let it be a reminder to you at all times. Whenever you start slacking think of why you started on this path in the first place. Talk to people who motivate you. May be hire a personal trainer, they will keep tabs on you. Weekly assessment would want you to prove yourself to them. But all of these are just tools to help you, you really need to want it from within (like anything else in life)!
DQ2 - Healthy lifestyle (food, exercise, being active) is extremely important. What should one do if in an unhealthy environment?
Be strong. Stay focused. Have dinner at home and then go so that you are not hungry and tempted to eat everything that comes your way!
If you are just over at someone's place for dinner then eat in small portions (you don't wanna be rude, of course). Make sure there is food on your plate (so that no one pesters you to eat "stuff"). But no-one said you have to eat it all in 5 mins. Make it last for the whole meal. And most importantly talk to people. If you are talking you would be eating as much! Very simple! :o)
However if you are staying over at someone's place then tell them in advance what you eat. No one would mind. Everyone wants to make their guests happy (and if they mind, then they are so stuck-up - Don't visit them :P) Make healthy choices from the options you are given. If it's all unhealthy and drowning in oil then I suggest just drink water and simply pretend to move your spoon in the food and throw it at the first chance you get. But I doubt that would happen!
DQ2 - Sometimes due to stress we tend to indulge without realising it. What should be done to bring back that focus on oneself?
I generally plan my whole week's food in advance. I keep minimal snacks at home. That way I have no choices available to indulge into. It's not at all as hard as it sounds. When you go for grocery next make sure you already know what you are going to make with it so that you do not buy anything else but what you really require!
Divide your 5 meals for the day in advance. Make a mental (or written) note of what you are going to eat and you are more likely to stick to it. One only indulges when they are hungry and they do not know what to eat. I always have chopped lettuce and salad stuff ready because it's easy to toss together and quite filling. (e.g. You can have 100 calorie microwavable pop-corns!)
DQ2 - Everyone's metabolism is different yet one tends to get upset seeing others producing results quicker than them. How should one change his outlook on this?
Why get upset? Get jealous! Hate them! ( I mean, don't tell them that though!) Have that burning desire to do better than them. Tell yourself, oh! they are loosing fast, so they will put it all back on that quickly too! I know, it's mean but it's true. The practical and consistent your weight loss is the longer it's going to stay with you. I am a living example of all the trial and errors of this game!
DQ2 - How can one solve a binging problem?
Partially, I have already answered this above - Plan your meals. If you are full and satisfied you are not going to have any space in your stomach to binge! But let's say, one day you do loose your self-control, then burn it out in the gym the next day, walk a couple of extra miles, don't take the bus/tube that day and walk till the safest distance, drink a lot of water to flush it out, don't use the elevator, basically punish yourself! If you do something wrong, you gotta pay!
Continued on the next post ... Soon!