About 42% of people added extra pounds during the pandemic. That’s not a surprise when you consider the reduced activity, stress, and uncertainty since the pandemic started.
Now that things are slowly getting back to normal, you might want to shed that unwanted weight. Starting a fitness journey is often overwhelming.
There’s a lot of information out there, and you don’t always know where to begin. If you’re ready to start your weight loss journey keep reading.
These are the top tips to put into action to lose weight and create a healthy lifestyle.
1. Look Back Before Moving Forward
There’s a good chance that this isn’t the first time you’ve tried to lose weight.
About 80% of people who lose a good portion of their body weight keep it off for about 12 months. Within two years, people regain about half of what they lost.
This isn’t the time to feel like you failed. It’s time to look back and discover the habits and patterns that lead to weight gain.
Maybe you had a busy period in your life and didn’t put self-care first. You might have emotional connections to food.
Get out a journal and write down the times you lose weight in the past. Reflect upon what really worked for you and what you can change this time around.
2. Decide Your Weight Loss Goals and Timeline
Weight loss goals could be a good thing or a bad thing. They’re a good thing if you want to get started.
Are there any events that you want to look great for? Perhaps there’s a wedding or class reunion coming up. Those external motivators are great to get you started.
Make a plan for when those big events are over. It’s easy to get ready for the big event, but if you go back to your old habits when it’s over, then you’re going to regain the weight.
Weight loss goals can work against you at times. They can make you feel bad because it feels impossible from your starting point.
It’s also easy to feel like a failure if it takes a long time to get to your goals. The best way to navigate this is to set realistic goals.
3. Find Programs to Support Your Goals
Losing weight isn’t easy to do on your own. You have to stay motivated. You have to want to get out of bed or drop everything to get to the gym.
Accountability and support are necessary whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been at this for a while.
You might look to your friends and family for support, but they don’t always give you what you really need. You need people who are weight loss professionals.
If this was easy to do on your own, you’d have done it already. Spend the money and make an investment in your health.
Precision Nutrition, saunabar.com, and Noom are a few programs that provide the support that you need to be successful.
4. Pay Attention to Nutrition
Nutrition is everything in weight loss. It’s more important than how much you work out. Without the right nutrition program, you’re not going to find weight loss success.
Most people look at weight loss as a diet or cutting back on calories. This can work, but you have to be careful here.
People tend to overdo it when cutting back calories. Your body needs calories to function. You burn calories when eating, sleeping, breathing, and working.
When you cut too many calories from your diet, your body goes into starvation mode. Your metabolism slows down as a result.
You don’t lose weight, and if you do, you’ll put it back on very easily.
5. Transform Basic Behaviors
Crash diets don’t work unless you’re working with a professional dietician or nutritionist. What does work is transforming basic behaviors.
There are a few basic things that you can change to eat less and eat healthier. For instance, you can work on getting more lean protein into your diet.
The great thing about this approach is that you don’t have to change everything at once. You can work on one behavior at a time.
You can also practice eating mindfully. Americans love to do everything in a hurry, including eating. Studies show that eating fast means you consume more calories.
Your brain sends a signal to your stomach when it’s really full. That signal takes about 20 minutes.
When you eat quickly, you eat more than you should because you’re not getting the signal to stop in time. Make each meal last at least 20 minutes.
6. Don’t Ignore Sleep and Recovery
Scientists discovered that there’s a connection between sleep and weight loss. The bottom line is that you consume more calories when you’re sleep-deprived.
Sleep also plays a role in suppressing appetite hormones.
Think about how you go through the day when you’re tired. It’s much easier to skip a workout or reach for comfort food because you’re exhausted.
As you begin a fitness journey, your physical activity increases. Sleep plays a huge role in your body’s ability to recover from tough workouts.
Sleep well, and you’ll be able to do more during your next workout.
7. Find Healthy Ways to Celebrate
How have you celebrated weight loss success in the past? If you’re like most people, you probably went out for ice cream or had a cheat day and gorged on everything in sight.
You want to celebrate your success. Doing it by “cheating” only creates an unhealthy relationship with food.
Instead of using food as a celebration tool, find other ways to celebrate.
Take yourself out on a date. Get a massage. Spend a day at a museum.
Celebrating your success is about acknowledging the hard work you’ve put in. Even if you call a friend and share your wins, that counts as a celebration.
8. One Change at a Time
When you start your weight loss journey, you’re going to go all out for the first couple of weeks. That’s normal.
You’re excited, motivated, and ready to make a change. The problem is that you end up making too many changes at once.
It’s hard to keep up with so many changes in a short time period. It leads to burnout and you end up giving up when you make a mistake.
You’re on a fitness journey, not a sprint. Make one change at a time. It’s so much easier to manage.
9. Limit Distractions When You Eat
Earlier you learned the importance of eating slowly. Another habit that you can transform is to limit distractions when you eat.
About 88% of Americans eat in front of a screen, whether that’s a phone, TV, or something else.
What happens is that you’re not paying attention to your food. You don’t enjoy food, you eat quickly, and you eat more calories.
Here’s what you can do. Sit at a table and eat slowly. Instead of looking at a screen, listen to relaxing music or a podcast.
If you must have something in front of you, get a good book to read.
10. Mastery Is a Process
What’s the biggest thing to learn when you start your weight loss journey? Weight loss is a journey.
It’s OK if you don’t reach your goals in two weeks. It’s fine if you don’t get there in six months. As long as you’re making different decisions around food and activity, you’ll see different results.
You’re going to make mistakes. You’ll miss workout days occasionally. Those aren’t invitations to beat yourself up.
They’re invitations to learn from those events. When you make mistakes or miss out on something, take a step back.
Know that it’s OK and forgive yourself for not being perfect. Assess what happened, and make a plan to do something different the next time.
If you have a coach, reach out to them and talk through what happened. They’ll help you make a plan for the future.
Ready to Start Your Weight Loss Journey?
Weight loss is a lot harder than it seems. There’s so much more to it than calories in and calories out. You have to take into account your behaviors, attitudes, sleep, and stress levels.
Getting the right amount of support during your weight loss journey is crucial. You’ll get the accountability, support, and care to create a healthy lifestyle.
Put these tips into action, and you’ll never have to start another fitness journey again. For more tips to live a healthy lifestyle, check out the Health section of this site.