Losing weight is a challenge for many people. I know this because I have experienced it myself. Excessive weight gain is more than a shallow problem, it can cause many chronic health issues as well. It can be difficult to find practical information on losing weight with the overwhelming amount of information available to all of us. I am here to help.
This article gives ten real ways to start losing weight. I will warn you that it will require effort and consistency. The good news is if you are willing to do the work, you are sure to get the results.
1. ) The most important place to start is to make a plan. Have a plan and be consistent with it for an extended period of time. It will take time to get results. In order to see if what you are doing is working, you will have to be consistent with your actions for a period of time.
I recommend giving it at least three months before you start switching things up. That way you will have an idea of how your diet and workouts are working for you, and can then adjust if necessary.
A plan doesn’t have to be rigid either. It could mean you plan to start walking everyday and adding vegetables to every meal. It is important that you take a gradual approach and start where you are.
Don’t start killing yourself with workouts or starving yourself of food. That will put tremendous stress on your body, slow down your metabolic rate, and hurt your efforts.
if you are new to weight loss, start with small changes. As those habits become easier, then you can start to challenge yourself more. You really want to take advantage of the fact that in the beginning, you won’t have to do as much to lose weight.
2.) Set measurable goals within a reasonable time frame. It could be that you want to lose ten pounds in 12 weeks or that you want to be able to fit back into your skinny jeans in 4 weeks. It should be realistic and achievable within the time frame.
There is nothing more discouraging than setting a goal that is impossible to reach. It will only hurt you in the long run. However, it is important to set a goal that can be measured in some way so that you can track your progress along the way.
Feel free to get creative with this and make sure you are challenging yourself but not setting yourself up to fail either (setting unachievable goals within an unreasonable timeframe.)
3.) Start tracking the foods that you are consuming. I am not a huge fan of counting calories. However, when you are brand new to weight loss, tracking your calories could help you a lot.
It could be that you are consuming too many calories or it could be that you are actually not eating enough.
My fitness pal is a good app to track calories. I do NOT recommend going by the number of calories that they suggest, This is simply a tool you can use to become more aware of your dietary habits. We are all unique and have different needs with nutrition.
There is no one set number of calories that will work for everyone. It is dependent on many factors. If you start tracking and you are currently eating 2200 calories, you could easily get results reducing down to 2000 calories.
It is better to slowly reduce your intake so that you can get more results in the long run. If you reduce calories too fast, you are only hurting yourself. Your metabolic rate could reduce and you will likely lose muscle, not fat. Take a gradual approach and see better results in the long term. If you are eating a very low amount of calories, it is the opposite.
Many people believe the only way to lose weight is to reduce calories. It could very well be that you are not getting the proper nutrients. Please don’t deprive yourself to lose weight, it does not work and it is only doing more harm than good.
4.) A good way to get motivated and be able to see results down the line is to take pictures of yourself. Have someone take a picture of you from the front, side, and back.
Your weight will fluctuate but if you are consistent with a plan, you will be sure to see your body composition change. It is a good idea to take a new picture every few weeks. Other people may be able to see changes before you do.
I know it is hard to take a picture if you don’t feel great about your body but trust me, you will be happy that you did. It is motivating when you start to see the changes happening. You could also start by trying on clothes, weighing yourself or measuring your body if that works for you.
5.) Stop drinking all your calories. A very easy way to start dropping pounds quickly is to eliminate empty calories. If you are drinking a lot of soda, juice, and yes, alcohol, please do yourself a favor and reduce or cut them out of your diet.
They have little to no nutritional value (meaning they don’t give your body what it needs) and it is a quick way to reduce caloric intake. Start incorporating more water, tea, and, healthy smoothies (make these at home.)
6.) Be mindful of the food you consume. I see a lot of products at the store which is labeled and advertised as healthy. Most of those foods are actually worse for you than regular processed foods.
You really want to stay away from low calorie, fat-free, and highly processed foods. They don’t have a lot of nutritional value and are often filled with harmful chemicals. Do your best to go for more whole, real foods like poultry, eggs, meats, high fiber fruits, and vegetables.
It is all about doing what works best for you and seeing how you feel. I will guarantee you that if you eat more whole foods you will feel much better. It might not start off that way if you have been eating a lot of sugar.
You most likely will go through a period of detoxing from sugar. You may feel tired, lethargic and irritable. Give it some time and the weight will start coming off and you will feel energized naturally.
7.) Stay motivated with visualization. If you haven't already, make a vision board. Find a way to incorporate weight loss on it. I have quotes, my ideal body type, and my exact goals on my board. It can really help to see your goal in front of you.
Visualization, itself is another way to do this. You can close your eyes and imagine yourself at the weight or body composition you want to have. I use visualization for everything and it is a transformative habit.
8.) Reward yourself for being consistent and following your plan. I don’t believe in cheat meals. My first article goes more in depth and it may be helpful to read. In short, I do believe in having flexibility with food. Making a diet work for you, and not the other way around.
It is also important to reward yourself when you crush goals. I suggest making the reward something besides food. You could buy yourself a new pair of sneakers or get a haircut.
It really is up to you but I don’t suggest making food apart of that. It creates a negative relationship with food. I know a lot of people who will work out and then eat a ton of food because they “deserve it.”
Don’t get me wrong if you want to eat something, you should eat it. I just know that the calories you burn working out are not enough to cancel out that behavior. If you are trying to lose weight, that mentality is going to hold you back.
9.) Find someone to hold you accountable. This could be a friend, partner, family, or a health coach (like me!) I do find that most people need someone to hold them accountable with following a weight loss plan.
In the beginning, it can feel daunting to follow through with workouts, eliminate harmful foods, and prioritize sleep. Over time, it will get easier to follow through but it helps to have someone to keep you motivated.
There will be times on your journey where you may self-sabotage or consider giving up. Get someone who will call you out on it. Find someone that will stretch you and won’t allow you to make excuses or give up. Don’t pick your mom because she will be less likely to give you the hard truth.
You really want to pick someone who is honest with you. Someone you can trust that will push you in a positive way and remind you why you started in the first place. Figure out who that is for you and ask for their help.
10.) Prepare your own food. During COVID-19 a lot of people have been ordering takeout. I can empathize with the fact that a lot of people are stressed and this may be easier. However, this action alone is a detriment to your weight loss efforts.
My suggestion is to look for quality places and share meals when possible. It won’t hurt you once in a while but if you are constantly eating out or getting food to-go this will become a hindrance to achieving your goals.
Weight loss is often overcomplicated. Keep it as simple as possible. It is a complex issue but it becomes simple when you realize what works for you. Get in touch with yourself, try things out, and keep doing what works.
Start moving more, eating thoughtfully, and reducing stress. Do those things and you’ll be blown away how quickly you get results. Don’t wait for next Monday to start! Do what you can do, with what you have, and do it now. It may feel overwhelming but, you can do it! It is possible with consistency and persistence.
Know that through this experience you will transform in so many ways. All the sacrifices and hard work will be worth it. You will be a happier, lighter you, all around. Just keep in mind that there is no elevator to weight loss, you really have to take the stairs. Learn to embrace it.