HOW TO START Losing Weight. Are you frustrated by all of the unhelpful information on diet and exercise out there? Do you find that you go from inspired to apathetic in a matter of days when it comes to losing weight? It’s the plight many of us face. We want to lose weight, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Inspired to make a change finally, many of us end up following an all-or-nothing approach to weight loss that’s not sustainable. Research shows that having clear objectives is one of the best tools one can have when starting a weight-loss program. It means putting some work in on the front end of your journey to make way for the path of least resistance.
Being sensible about what to keep and what to toss from your pantry and consuming the correct portion sizes are a few of the moves you can make. You should also be sure to have comfortable workout clothes and footwear at the ready, and know how you’re going to track your progress. That might mean purchasing a scale, heart rate monitor, or body fat tester.
No matter what your objectives are, educating yourself and laying some groundwork, rather than blindly jumping in, can clear a path for success. Read on for no-nonsense advice on how to start losing weight.
Start with These 4 Steps
There’s no getting around the fact that we live in a fast-paced, competitive world. We are pretty much all guilty of taking on more than we should at times. We try to be superstar parents, spouses, and employees all at once. And we want our houses to be clean and our bodies to be in shape as well even though there are only 24 hours in a day.
What’s the first thing to fall to the wayside amidst this chaos? For most of us, it’s taking care of ourselves.
Finding time to take on something like weight loss can feel akin to preparing to climb Mount Everest. While it might not require you to withstand blizzards, avalanches, and 200-mile-per-hour freezing winds as you make your way to 29,000 feet, losing weight comes with its own set of considerable challenges.
Social media, magazines, and even your physician can all offer useful weight loss tips, but adequately executing them is easier said than done. To be sure, you wouldn’t attempt to climb a mountain without some forethought and preparation. In the same way, laying out a detailed plan of attack for weight loss is essential to your success.
This plan should include everything from what and how much you’re going to eat, how you’re going to track your progress, and what gear you’ll need to make it all happen. Think of this as building your basecamp before pushing toward the summit. Read on for a breakdown of all the things you should consider to ensure a successful climb.
Determine daily calorie intake
Pinning down how many calories you should consume is half the battle when you consider the fact that all calories equal. Unfortunately, 500 calories of deep-fried cheese curds are not equivalent to 500 calories of raw vegetables. That’s why figuring out what your macros, a.k.a. Macronutrient intake should be similarly significant.
Macros include protein, carbohydrates, and fats. While tracking the rough percentage of daily calories you get from each macronutrient group takes a bit more planning than just determining how many calories you should take in to maintain health and lose weight, it gives you more direction on what exactly to eat.
To determine your daily caloric needs for weight loss, consult the Calorie Needs chart, which will walk you through a (simple) mathematical equation to discover your daily calorie range for weight loss.
Once you’ve crunched the numbers, consider getting portion containers to take the guesswork out of how much of each macronutrient you should eat each day to lose weight. Instead of weighing your food or continually counting the grams of carbs, protein, and fat listed on nutrition labels, pop your food into these containers before plating your meal, and you’re good to go.
Another option is to download one of the many nutrition apps that can help you track your intake. Why track your calories and macros? Research has shown that people who kept a food diary lost nearly twice as much weight as people who didn’t.
Track Your Progress
There’s a good reason one of the most oft-cited weight loss tips involves tracking your progress. When we see real, tangible movement in the direction of our goals, we tend to be more motivated to keep putting in the work necessary to achieve them. While it’s unhealthy to obsess over how much and how fast you’re losing weight, setting some benchmarks can be helpful.
There are countless ways to monitor your weight loss. It might mean weighing yourself regularly or taking your measurements at predictable intervals. It could also involve a pair of skinny jeans, a wedding dress, or another garment that you are hoping to fit into once you shed the pounds.
If you see over time that you’ve lost some weight or you’ve lost some inches, that’s a big motivation. And sometimes you don’t notice this happening as much because you lose weight little by little.
Whatever method you choose, make sure it motivates you. Decide how often you’ll weigh yourself or try on your jeans (maybe once a week), and keep a detailed log. Also, keep in mind that real progress comes from putting in the effort to eat clean and exercise over a sustained period, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see instant results. As they say, “a watched pot never boils.”
Once you’ve defined the dietary changes you want to make, along with how you plan on tracking your progress, take stock of whether you have all the proper tools to execute your plan. Here’s a list of things you might find helpful when starting your weight-loss journey:
- Smartphone apps
- Portion containers
- Scale or body fat tester
- Healthy cooking tools: blender, slow cooker, salad spinner, measuring spoons
- Clean eating recipes
- At-home workout gear: resistance bands, exercise mat, dumbbells of various weights
Removing temptation foods from your refrigerator and pantry and replacing them with a good stock of healthy options is another essential step to complete before you start your new eating plan.
While many weight loss tips you’ve likely read often include advice on self-control, why be tempted in the first place? Pitch the unhealthy stuff and stock up on healthier foods, so you don’t go astray in a hungry moment.
In addition to the exercise gear listed above, be sure you have the clothes and shoes you’ll need to exercise regularly. Research shows that clothing can impact the wearer’s psychology by changing the way he or she performs while wearing the items. You’ll likely feel more competent and confident in workout clothes that are comfortable and fit properly.
No, you don’t need a drawer full of overpriced nylon and polyester to exercise. But, if you’re wearing 10-year old shoes and old cotton sweats with holes in them, treat yourself to a new ensemble.
Set your goals
As was previously suggested, trying to muscle up the mountain in one go is a recipe for failure. Conversely, taking a measured and patient approach sets you up to achieve your long-term goals.
As such, take a moment to write down one or two unhealthy behaviors you want to eliminate this week, and one or two you want to scrap next week. It’s a great way to ease into your first moves up the mountain.
While it may seem like a long journey to make, getting started is often the most challenging part.
I hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you have anything that you’d like to share or any opinions on any of the content on my site, please do speak up. I look forward to your comments, questions and the sharing of ideas.
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