Sticking to a weight loss goal is never easy, and keeping the weight off once you’ve lost it can be an even bigger challenge.
Studies have shown that our metabolism slows when we lose weight, and we can experience hormonal changes that make us hungry. It can seem like an unfair uphill battle, but there are things you can do to give yourself an edge when your biology seems to be against you.
In 2011, I got back to a healthy weight and have been able to maintain through healthy eating, exercise and diligence. Admittedly, I made many mistakes and side-steps during my progress and learned quite a few valuable lessons about what works. In this two-part series, I’ll share my favorite insider tips and tricks for losing the weight and keeping it off for the long term. In part one we’ll talk about how to get started!
Set tangible goals. Saying that you’re going to lose 70 pounds in a month isn’t just impossible, it’s downright dangerous. Aim to lose about 2 pounds per week. Slow but consistent weight loss lasts much longer than short and drastic drops. Much like with the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady will win the race!
Something to talk about. Tell someone about your goal. Unless you have someone to cheer you on or be accountable to, it might get very tempting to abandon the thought of trying altogether. Think of your most encouraging friend or workmate and let them know that you’d like them to check in with you every so often. Victory is twice as sweet when you have someone to celebrate with!
I’m not buying it! If it’s not in your house, you won’t eat it. Resist the temptation to purchase unhealthy snacks when you’re grocery shopping. Go with a list and don’t divert (bargain hunters should ignore the snacks that are on sale).
Take small steps. You might have a long way to go or a goal that seems too big to tackle. Don’t focus on the overall goal at first. Break it down into increments and reward yourself along the way. It’s amazing the impact that losing just 10% of your body weight can have on your overall health: reduction in cholesterol and blood pressure and better numbers across the board. Have your blood work done when you start your effort and check it again once you’ve lost 10%. You’ll be excited to share your results with your doctor!
Good sense snacking. If you can’t resist a snack every now and again, proportion them the minute you get home. Purchase a food scale and some snack-sized bags and reach for those when you need a treat. You’ll know exactly how much a proper portion is and won’t be tempted to finish off the whole box or bag. Better yet, stock up on fresh fruit and produce for snacking and leave the processes stuff on the shelf!
Get moving! To lose weight, it’s as simple as using more calories than you take in. Not able to run? Start with a 10-minute walk every day. Try something new and keep your routine varied in activity but consistent in practice. If you’re inclined to only lift weights, find ways to introduce stretching and cardio into your workout. If you’re a fan of group exercise, find a new class to take and make some new friends (and do some networking while you’re at it!). Don’t be afraid to try water aerobics, racquetball or even swing dancing. Variety will keep you from getting bored and a workout buddy will keep you accountable!
Reinforce yourself. If you’re the sort of person who responds well to positive reinforcement, place a photo of yourself from when you looked your best in a prominent place as a reminder of your goal. If you’re more encouraged by negative reinforcement, use a photo that reminds you of how far you’ve come or how far you have yet to go. I keep a photo of myself at my heaviest on my refrigerator door to remind myself of what can happen if I lose control. Know yourself and how you respond to motivation.
Do your homework. Before you go out to eat, check to see if the restaurant has a nutritional guide online. Many restaurants offer up the ingredients and nutritional content of their food. Check to see which dishes are the healthiest and which ones are deceptively rich. I was surprised to find that club sandwiches, a seemingly healthy choice, are actually sometimes the highest calorie sandwich on the menu! If your friends are kicking around ideas for where to eat, don’t be afraid to offer up a healthy suggestion up front. You’ll be less likely to get stuck eating someplace without many good options.
Stay tuned, because the next edition of HLT on March 20 will feature the final 8 tips for weight loss! While you’re implementing these changes, incorporate some Reliv Slimplicity meal replacement to help keep you feeling full and make sure you’re getting the proper nutrition. The recent addition of LunaRich soy powder will give you all the added health benefits of lunasin!