Whether you want to shed a few pounds before your next special event or you have a long road ahead of you before you reach a healthy weight, you might wonder about the most effective way to reach your goals. There is no shortage of advice out there on how to lose weight; some of the advice is sound, while some of it is nonsense.
Here, you’ll find some sensible advice that will get you started on the road to weight loss.
Prepare Your Mind
To successfully lose weight, you need to get your mind and your body on the same page. You may know you want to lose weight, but you should dig deeper than that. To mentally prepare yourself for weight loss, you should:
- Accept that healthy changes don’t happen overnight. You may start out on your weight loss journey with lots of enthusiasm and willpower, but those things often don’t last very long. Be prepared for a long road, and recognize that you’ll experience setbacks.
- Practice accepting yourself as you are. Many people with serious weight issues may be lacking in self-esteem and confidence. This could push you to give up on your weight loss goals. Focus on the things you like about yourself, and be happy with who you are while you work hard to become an even better you.
- Learn how to cope with negative emotions. If there is a deep connection between how you feel and what you eat, trying to lose weight may send you on an emotional roller coaster. You may desperately miss the foods you once turned to for comfort. Look for other, healthier ways to act on your feelings.
- Examine your motivations. It would be easy to go on for pages and pages about all of the benefits of losing weight, but you should pick a few that matter most to you. Perhaps you want to reduce your risk of certain diseases, or maybe you just want to feel a sense of satisfaction when you look in the mirror. Whatever your motivation is for losing weight, you should do it for yourself, not for anyone else.
- Know how to stand your ground. People may pile you with all sorts of tips that could help you lose weight, but if you try everything, you’ll only get confused and discouraged. Be methodical, and research any advice you receive.
Know Where You’re Starting
It’s difficult to know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are. Hence, a visit to your doctor may be in order. Your doctor can talk to you about the health risks associated with your current weight. For example, you may have a greater risk of becoming diabetic or developing heart disease.
Some numbers you may want your doctor to measure include:
- Body fat content
- Blood pressure
- Cholesterol levels
- Blood glucose levels
- Resting heart rate
Any healthy weight loss routine is likely to improve these numbers. If you know where you are with these numbers now, you’ll feel an even greater sense of accomplishment when you go back to your doctor after losing weight and see how you’ve become healthier.
This visit to your doctor is also a good time to ask about any diets you are thinking about trying. Some diets are dangerous, and you don’t want to hurt yourself during your efforts to become healthier.
You should also consider starting a diet and exercise journal. This will help you analyze your current habits and will keep you accountable for your actions. You can keep this journey in a paper notebook or use an app on your smart device.
Set Reasonable Goals
You should have one large goal for losing weight and small, “stepping stone” goals that help you get there. For example, if you want to lose 50 pounds, you may decide to lose between 4 and 8 pounds a month.
Make sure your goals are reasonable. Depending on your schedule and personal stamina, it probably isn’t reasonable to expect that you’ll spend one hour in the gym seven days a week. You might get to that level eventually if you really love exercising, but it’s better to start small. You could take a half-hour walk every day or even every other day as a way to begin your exercise routine.
Research Supplements and Metabolism-Boosting Foods
There is no end to the number of supplements that claim they can aid in weight loss, but don’t throw your money away on anything you haven’t researched. The following supplements may be good choices to support your weight loss:
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). This supplement contains healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids that support metabolism and help you reduce your body fat content. Look for a high-quality, CLA product that comes with a satisfaction guarantee, such as CLA-1250 from Zenwise Labs.
- MCT oil. You can add MCT oil to your drinks and meals to help your body better metabolize foods and regulate blood sugar. It can also provide you with a nice energy boost.
- Green tea extract. Contains polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that can help you lose weight. Of course, if you would rather drink your green tea instead of take it in a pill, that also works.
You also want to investigate how certain types of food will impact your efforts. For example, a slice of whole grain toast may have the same number of calories as a can of soda, but the toast will be more satisfying and help you control hunger. The soda won’t do that.
Some foods are better for your metabolism than others. Choose foods that take longer to digest, such as whole grains and nuts. Your body has to work harder to break these down, so they burn calories as they go through your digestive system. Spicy foods can also speed up your metabolism.
As you’re setting your weight loss goals, you’ll probably jot down what you plan to accomplish as you exercise each week, but you shouldn’t just leave it at that. Brainstorm ways you can infuse your daily routine with more activity. You might decide to:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Park farther away from your destination.
- Start projects that require physical activity. This could involve weeding the garden, doing some deep cleaning in your kitchen, or redecorating your bedroom.
- Look for reasons to move. Instead of trying to take all of your groceries inside in one trip, go back for each individual bag. If someone at the office needs extra copies of a document, volunteer to go make the copies.
All the extra calories you burn during normal activities will keep your metabolism active and may well contribute to expedited weight loss.
Seek Out Support
According to Weight Watchers, “A university study cited in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that people who recruited three friends or family members to assist them in their quest to lose weight had better results losing and keeping weight off than those who had no buddy system to fall back on.”
While you don’t want to annoy your friends and family by constantly talking about how you’re trying to lose weight, you should let them know about your goals. They can be your cheerleaders; some may even decide to get healthy right along with you! At the very least, they’ll probably be kind enough to respect your efforts and not tempt you to eat bad foods or tell you to go to a restaurant when you should be going to the gym instead.
Spending time with people whose goals are similar to your own can give you the emotional support you need. If no one in your immediate social circle is looking to lose weight, you may be able to find weight loss buddies online or through a local weight loss support group.
Don’t Make Weight Loss a Chore
You will run into obstacles while you’re trying to lose weight. How you deal with those obstacles will ultimately determine your degree of success. Here are some common challenges that you may eventually run into and how to deal with them.
- Challenge: You get bored. Solution: Shake it up! If your food choices get you down, go online and search for creative, healthy recipes. If the thought of getting on the treadmill makes you want to go to sleep, try out different forms of exercise. Maybe you’ll find a sport you really enjoy.
- Challenge: You hit a plateau. Solution: Examine your routine. Have your habits gradually relaxed as you’ve lost weight? For example, maybe you switched back to whole milk from skim. Even those seemingly few calories can make a difference. However, maybe you’re not doing anything wrong. Be patient, and if your weight loss doesn’t start again soon, talk to your doctor.
Challenge: You’re not used to your new shape. Solution: Go shopping. If you’ve lost a little weight and don’t feel good in your old clothes, treat yourself with a new outfit. You might not feel like buying new clothes while you’re still losing weight is worth it, but it’s important that you find joy while you’re trying to lose weight, not just after you reach your ideal number on the scale.
Losing weight can make you healthier and more confident. Successfully reaching your goals may depend on you having a good foundation for your weight loss. By using the above tips, you can get your journey off to a solid start.