Many of us know the vicious cycle of weight loss and falling off the bandwagon in the process. It usually starts when a social event or something to that nature comes up. Suddenly, you have a wedding, graduation, or birthday party you want to look great for. You decide you are going to lose weight to fit into that dress, or tux, and look good in it. You start off super-super motivated and draw up a plan to lose weight. You start researching what kind of diet is most effective to do so.
You’re probably looking at the keto diet or thinking of joining Weight Watchers because they are advertised for dramatic weight loss results. Next, you join a gym and make a plan to start working out or workout more frequently than you currently are. You find yourself sticking to this plan really great for a week or two, then slowly you start to fall off. You’re too tired or too busy to make it to the gym, forgot to pack lunch so you grabbed fast food, etc. Now you’re feeling down on yourself for getting off track and you say screw it. Then a couple months later, you try again. Same cycle.
Is this you?
Here’s the problem and why most people fail. This plan is very open-ended. No deadlines, no short term goals, no meal plan, no workout routine.
Fad diets and programs like Weight Watchers seem like a solid option, but here’s the problem: Once you stop eating that specific way, you’re likely to gain the weight right back. As well, Weight Watchers promotes the number on the scale and eating fewer calories rather than quality nutrition, but we won’t get into that right now.
Having a gym membership and being physically active is great, but unless you are doing a routine that’s specific to your goals, you’re not likely to progress to those goals. As well, you’re at risk for injury if you aren’t using proper form.
If you’ve been finding yourself on this vicious cycle, I want to help you devise a plan for success.
Step 1: Start by setting goals. Long and short term. Be as specific as possible. Give yourself deadlines.
For example: If you have a wedding to go to in 6 months and want to lose 25 pounds by then, break it down. 25 lbs over the course of 6 months equals just over 4lbs per month, or one pound per week. Start there and every couple weeks try to make one lifestyle change. One change at a time is less overwhelming.
For Example: Make your first goal to lose 4 lbs in 4 weeks, start exercising 3 days per week, and eat a cup of vegetables with each meal. Make your goals for your second month: Add in another lifestyle change to focus on: lose 4 more lbs by the end of the month, drink 64oz of water every day, continue exercise 3 days per week. Short term goals and small lifestyle changes to focus on one at a time always gives you something to aim for that’s within reach.
Here is a list of lifestyle changes you can use:
-drink more water
-drink less caffeine
-sleep 8 hours each night
-get 10,000 steps per day
-eat a cup of vegetables at each meal
-add more protein to your diet
Step 2: Devise a plan for both your fitness and nutrition. I’d suggest consulting a professional. There are so many diets and exercise routines out there, it’s best to know what is best for you. Work smarter, not harder.
Step 3: Start planning a week in advance once you’ve consulted a professional. This gives you time to start writing out solid grocery lists so that you can meal plan in advance. Put your meals on a calendar, make them in advance and have them ready to go. Always pack your meals and lay out your workout clothes at night. It makes your mornings simple, fast, and no excuses for missing a workout or not having healthy food on hand.
Step 4: Find a workout buddy or group to workout with. This holds you accountable and of course it’s more motivating to workout with a group. Also, make sure to tell your significant other, friends, and family so they can hold you accountable. The more people you can get on board, the easier this process will be.
Step 5: Be committed to staying on track. A cheat meal a week is okay! Just don’t get carried away and make it a cheat day or cheat weekend. Rest days are good for you! Let your body recover. Overtraining and injuries are not going to benefit you. If you happen to get off track, don’t get frustrated. Re-focus, re-read your goals, and get back on track right away. Don’t wait for Monday.
Step 6: Check off your goals as you achieve them. A sense of accomplishment is motivation to keep continuing. Keep the goals in eye sight a s a daily reminder of how far you’ve come and where you want to be.