Deciding to lose weight and start a new exercise and nutrition plan can be very overwhelming. As someone who has yo-yo dieted in the past and has failed many times at attempting to lose weight, I’ve compiled some tips I’ve learned to be helpful to get you started off on the right foot.
Make Specific and Realistic Goals
Knowing that you want to lose weight is great, but you need to have a specific goal as well as a time frame. You wouldn’t decide to take a trip and just start driving without a destination, and it’s the same thing with health/fitness goals.
Instead of saying, “I want to lose weight this year”, say “I want to lose thirty pounds by December 1st”. In addition to that, the goal needs to be realistic.
A general rule of thumb for weight loss is to aim to lose 1-2 pounds per week. Therefore, making a goal to lose 50 pounds in a couple of months isn’t realistic or healthy, and will often lead to disappointment.
Do Your Own Research
You don’t have to be a nutrition or fitness expert to become healthy. Throughout my weight loss, Google has become my best friend. I have and continue to learn so much simply through doing my own research.
Before I started my journey, I looked up information such as “how many calories should I eat in a day?” or “how often should I do cardio?” and “what are some healthy snack ideas?” Even now, when I have a question or am confused about something, I look it up. Before you start, sit down and write out the questions that you have, and then find the answers.
Write Out Why You Want to Lose Weight
It is easy to become unmotivated, especially if you don’t see changes immediately. Writing the reasons that you want to lose weight down on paper will help to keep you on track and determined.
Take Before and After Pictures/Videos/Measurements
It is important to take a before picture and/or video as well as record your measurements before you begin your weight loss. Looking in the mirror, you don’t always see a huge difference, but when you can compare to before pictures, videos, and measurements, it really puts your progress into perspective. It will help you to appreciate how far you have come, rather than focusing on how far you still have to go.
Make Small Goals
Having a goal, especially a big goal, can be very intimidating. I learned that instead of focusing on losing fifty pounds, I needed to make smaller goals while keeping my ultimate goal in mind.
I made a goal to lose fifteen pounds, and then to fit in an old pair of jeans, etc. Making smaller goals not only made weight loss less intimidating to me, but I also believe that it is what helped to keep me motivated.
I experienced the same thing with fitness. I didn’t go buy running shoes and decide to start training for a marathon. Instead I made a goal to run a 5k, and then a 10k, and then a half marathon, until my ultimate goal was to run a marathon.
Get Rid of Your Unhealthy Food
I found that keeping unhealthy food in my kitchen was too much of a temptation, and that it was easier to stick with my plan when it wasn’t there to tempt me.
Tell People About Your Goals
Not only does telling other people about your goals help to keep you accountable, but having the support of others is really important and key to being successful. Losing weight is hard, and feeling alone makes it even harder. If you don’t have the support of family or friends, there are many websites and forums online where you can talk to other people with similar goals.
Do Not Get Discouraged
This is the last, and possibly most important tip. This should be a lifestyle change and a journey. There will be days that you are retaining water, days you feel unmotivated, and days you slip off of your plan.
If you slip up, the key is to not give up, and to jump right back on track. Remember that it took more than a week to gain the weight and become out of shape, and it will take more than a week to lose it and become healthy. Stay strong and enjoy the process.