One of the extreme difficulties people have with weight loss is starting out their journey. You can find so much material about diet and weight loss, that the sheer volume of the content can be overwhelming.
You have to sort out what to eat, and what not to eat. You have to figure out when to exercise, and what kind of training to do. The choices are endless. Now, insert all that into your busy schedule, and it’s not surprising to see you just throw in the towel after a week or two.
To successfully and sensibly lose weight – and maintain that weight loss – you must tackle the first day of your journey very differently from how you did the day before.
For most people, Day 1 of their weight loss journey includes numerous extreme changes. Maybe you’d go to the gym and exercise for an hour. Afterward, you’d drastically change your diet by getting rid of carbs, sweets, and practically all your favorite food.
For sure, in just a few weeks (or less), you’ll feel that your weight loss plan is not sustainable. Then, you’ll either feel bad or pretend not to care, which leads you to order pizza and go back to the couch.
Obviously, doing regular exercise and changing your diet plan need to happen so you can lose weight. But you can’t just change decades of eating habits and minimal (or zero) exercise routines in ONE day or ONE week.
And if you’re stubborn to try, you’ll just get frustrated. True change comes with time, as you learn to slowly but surely create sustainable, healthy routines.
The key to losing weight is conditioning your body, mind, and spirit for the long journey ahead. Losing weight can be hard, sustaining the weight loss harder – but they are doable. Below are the first steps you need to take to achieve success in your weight loss journey.
1. Start A Weight Loss Diary
Begin your weight loss plan by identifying your bad habits. Your food and exercise diary will help you figure out your poor eating and exercise routines.
Record everything you eat and drink throughout the day. And yes, that includes the bit of candy you had after a meal or the teaspoon-size taste test you had while cooking.
The truth is, everyone knows what a healthy eating habit looks like more vegetables, less red meat, more fruits, less (or no) deep-fried anything, more water, less (or no) soda and so on.
Eating healthy also means more home cooked meals and less dining out. And since people naturally crave what is “forbidden,” maintaining a healthy diet becomes harder. But deep inside, you know your “sacrifice” is worth it.
The trick is to avoid doing anything drastic. You already know how to eat healthy. Don’t just let the knowledge sit in your brain. Practice what you know.
Your food diary can help you monitor and adjust what you eat. It can also aid you to spot if you’re an emotional or stress eater. Through this, you can track how full you are after every meal, evaluate your dining habits, and assess how you eat when you’re alone and when you’re with other people.
Keep working on your diary throughout your weight loss journey so you can monitor your progress, and also remain accountable for your habits.
2. Set Realistic Goals
Exercise goals and targets enable you to strategize your weight loss step-by-step as you make changes in your lifestyle.
Setting up unrealistic goals is setting up yourself for failure. It’s like planning something – anything – just for form, so when you give up, in the end, you’d still feel better because you can convince yourself that you’ve tried.
Instead, plan to reach your target through modest weekly changes to your exercise routine and eating habits. Check your diary to find areas where you can change or improve.
Set sensible goals that encourage steady changes to your routines. Make them challenging, but achievable.
3. Add Your Emotional State Into The Equation
To truly succeed in transitioning into a healthy lifestyle, you need to condition your body, mind, and spirit. You’ll fail if you only nurture your physical being.
If you’re not emotionally ready to take the next step, there will always be something that will keep you from achieving your diet and exercise goals. Major life disruptions and mental concerns can hinder your weight loss success.
Emotional hurdles like relationship troubles, financial hardships, health issues, stress and anxiety, depression, and eating disorders can put an end to your desire to lose weight.
Aim to get rid of mental and emotional issues as part of your lifestyle change. Some of these concerns, like an eating disorder or depression, may require professional help – so seek for it!
4. Tell The World
The natural instinct of many who start their weight loss journey is to keep it private. For some, the desire to improve their lifestyle is a sore subject, something awkward to share with others.
But the reality is, your loved ones and the people who genuinely care about you are going to be your biggest supporters on this journey. And you will need all the help you can get.
A strong support system will help you go through the difficult stages of your journey. They’ll inspire you when you feel like giving up. Don’t be surprised if someone in your circle volunteers to be your exercise or diet buddy. This is the beauty of being open to the world.
Being open also makes you accountable for your actions. Quitting is an easy thing to do if no one knows what you’re going through. But if you have people who have your back, cheering for you, and excited about the changes in your life, you’ll be more inspired and determined to stick to your plan.
Losing weight is a process and commitment. Like anything else important in life, you need to sweat it out – literally and figuratively. Do these steps, and you’ll be off to a great start!