You’ve decided you’re ready for a change. It’s time to lose weight. Congratulations, you’re already on step 3 of success! Step 3? Yes, recognizing a need for change is step 1 and making the commitment is step 2. So now what? The following 10 tips will help you make attainable goals and sustain the lifestyle changes you’ve decided to make.
Have a Weight Loss Goal, but Don’t Set a Specified Date
No, this doesn’t go against typical goal-setting advice, keep reading. It’s very beneficial to set a weight loss goal, it can help keep you focused and on track. With that said, don’t set a rigid date when you must meet that goal. Setting a specific date may cause stress and discouragement if you happen to miss the deadline by a couple pounds. Instead, set a time frame. Try setting your short-term goals quarterly and long-term goals yearly. Weight loss takes time. Each body is different.
A healthy lifestyle change should be sustainable for life; its a journey not a destination.
If you find your weight loss pace is less than you would like it to be, take a look at your goals and change them to alter the result. If you stay on track and have lost weight consistently, you will reach your ultimate goal.
We all lose and gain weight at different rates (and in different areas). You may not see results as quickly as you may like, but it is important to stay with it. If you’ve made lifestyle changes, most likely you will see results. Remember, the more extreme your changes, the more extreme the results. Don’t expect to lose 10 lbs/week if the goals you have set are to walk three nights a week and cut out desserts during the week. Those are good goals, don’t get me wrong! We all need to start somewhere, but results will be minimal and will take a while with small, incremental change.
A normal healthy weight loss is about 1-2 lbs/week, that means it may take as long as 5 months to lose 20 pounds.
But if the loss is slow and steady, there is a higher chance of keeping the pounds off . It’s going to take time, but you will lose the weight.
Be Realistic and Real with Yourself
Assess how ready you are for change in your life. Assess how dramatic you want those changes to be. If you go to see a Dietitian, they will assess your readiness to change and help to guide you towards attainable goals that match up with your willingness to change. You don’t want to set un-achievable goals; if you do, a two-fold negative result will take place: 1. weight loss won’t be achieved and 2. discouragement and thoughts of failure will creep in, which may lessen your readiness to change and could cause you to throw in the towel.
Don’t Weigh Yourself Everyday
Avoid weighing yourself everyday because you won’t see changes on a day to day basis. Don’t cause yourself the discouragement and frustration, it’s like watching water boil. Try weighing weekly. When you do weigh, do it at the same time and with similar clothing. Also, use the restroom before weighing yourself. Typically, your weight will be at its lowest on Thursdays and the highest on Monday mornings, so keep this in mind when choosing your “weigh-in day”. And remember, different scales will read differently, so always use the same scale.
Learn How You View “Junk” Food
We eat what is available at home. Be real with yourself: how do you view junk food? Can you handle having it at the house? Will you eat it on occasion because because you’re craving it, or does it sit there and tempt you like cigarettes for a smoker who’s trying to quit? If you can easily choose the apple and string cheese over the chips, stock the house with healthy options and a couple junk items for those cravings. But if you’re like the smoker, it may be best if you eliminate all bad choices from the house.
Think About Your Meals Ahead of Time
Waiting till the last second to decide what to make for dinner will typically result in less healthy meals. Take some time and roughly plan what meals you’d like to make for the work week. Make it fun, go on Pinterest, create a board for the week and Pin your plan! Go shopping on the weekend to get what you need for the week’s menu. Then, spur of the moment dinner decisions won’t lead to boxed mac and cheese and eggs. Same goes for lunch. Ideally, if you work out of the house, packing a lunch is the best option. You control the calories and portions before your stomach starts to think for you. If going out is the plan, look at the restaurant menu online before you go and choose sensibly before your growling tummy makes the last minute decision.
Find Out How Many Calories You’re Actually Eating
Entering everything you eat into a food journal allows you learn how much you’re actually eating. Most people underestimate how many calories they are actually consuming. Why? Underestimation of portion sizes. So know that your journal will only be as accurate as your estimation of portions. What does that mean? Measure. At least for the first week. I promise, measuring your food will shed light onto why your weight has been such an issue. These days it’s so easy to do a food journal. There are a multitude of apps for tracking: My Fitness Pal, EverydayHealth , FatSecret and LoseIt just to name a few. Check out this article for a rundown of the top apps to choose.
Pay Attention When You Eat
Chances are, once you passively feel full, you have already consumed many more calories than you need. Next time you’re eating a large meal, pay attention: about half-way through you will likely feel your first satiety signal. Yes, that’s right, half way! Most portions these days are near double how much we should be eating. Also, take note, once you feel it, the taste and satisfaction of a bite of food is substantially less intense than the first few bites you took. Try stopping a couple bites after you feel that satiety signal. Have some water, box up your leftovers and wait. You will likely feel satisfied in a couple minutes. And don’t worry, tell yourself when you feel like a snack, you can eat.
Don’t Eliminate Food Groups
Many fad diets focus on eliminating entire groups of food like carbs or sugars, but this is not sustainable. The body needs a balanced diet to run optimally. Completely eliminating food groups and vices such as sugar or chocolate can cause binges and stress to the body when introduced back in large quantities. Plus, the whole idea is detrimental to your psyche. Don’t think about a yellow elephant…what do you see? Yup, that’s what I thought. Now don’t eat any carbs…what are you craving?…See what I mean? All foods can fit into a healthy diet so don’t feel bad if you choose to have a bagel, scoop of ice cream or a piece of chocolate once in a while. Just log it in your journal and account for its calories by eating less at another meal or snack.
It’s a well-known fact that if you make your goals public, you have a higher chance of sticking with it. After all, we don’t want to publicly display our shortcomings. If this is uncomfortable for you, a new way to stay accountable is to join RetroFit. They offer online coaching from Registered Dietitians, Exercise Physiologists and Behavior Coaches to address nutrition, fitness, and your mindset. In the privacy of your own home, they can help you achieve your goals and “make simple changes to your daily choices, so that you’re more likely to lose weight and keep it off for good.” If other programs have failed you in the past, it’s worth looking into!
Hopefully these tips can motivate you to set attainable goals to help you lose weight and ultimately reach your weight of choice. Good luck!
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