When you approach weight loss sustainably you are setting yourself up for success that will last a lifetime. Those who have tried to lose weight quickly by following a fad diet will know firsthand how this approach just doesn’t work, because its not practical or realistic. For instance, you cannot go from eating three large meals a day and snacks in between to living on carrot and celery sticks, and expect your mind and body to adapt to such a drastic change.
However, when you approach weight loss sustainably you are taking control of how and what you eat and when. You’ll also discover more about your body—how you think, feel and respond to different eating habits. These are all aspects that lead to you developing long lasting habits that will be with you for the rest of your life. And, this means you won’t have to look at yourself in the mirror with distain ever again or feel frumpy in your favourite outfit.
So, what can you do to get to your desired weight and stay there? Let’s look at nine realistic steps that allow you to achieve sustainable weight loss.
Approach Weight Loss Sustainably Step #1 Identify Your Motivators
First of all, you need to be clear about what’s motivating you to want to lose weight. You might have one or many reasons but by identifying what these are encourages you to stay on the path to success. The best motivations are those that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed. For instance, your main motivation may be to lose 20 kilograms (measurable) by Christmas next year (timed) so you lessen your risk of contracting type II Diabetes improving your health (specific), so you can enjoy your Mum’s Christmas feast without feeling guilty (achievable and realistic).
The key to identifying motivators that drive you to succeed are finding reasons that you’re passionate about with deep emotional connections. For example, if you’re a mum or dad, then you may want to lose 10 kilograms in 6 months so that you can play soccer with your children in the park without feeling exhausted after only a few minutes.
By making your motivators powerful, you’ll start losing weight in no time. You’ll then be able to keep pushing yourself to achieve your next milestone because your motivators are driving you to reach higher than you have before.
Approach Weight Loss Sustainably Step #2 Stop Using Food as a Crutch
Next, it’s time to think about your relationship with food. Most of us eat without much thought to what were eating and its nutritional value. So, we eat to relieve hunger, sustain life and sometimes as a way to comfort ourselves.
To understand your relationship with food you need to look critically and what you’re eating, when you’re eating and what is motivating you to eat. A food diary can help you keep track of your habits. These diaries come in the form of an app, or if you’re old-fashioned, then you can opt for the pen and paper form.
When you eat because you’re unhappy, not feeling well or you’re feeling emotional this is known as a crutch mainly because you’re leaning on it for support. Some people also refer to this type of eating as a comfort food. To overcome this type of eating you firstly need to be aware that you’re doing it, and then you need to find ways to overcome it. Some people elect to substitute foods with little or no nutritional value for foods that are packed with goodness. Then comfort eating doesn’t have a negative impact on their health.
Approach Weight Loss Sustainably Step #3 Start Slowly and Gradually
Starting slowly and moving gradually is essential when you’re making changes to your lifestyle and how you manage your health. It’s important for you not to rush into anything without fully thinking it through first. By going slowly, and taking small steps towards your goals you can avoid the yo-yo effect that often comes with weight loss—where your weight goes down due to healthy changes and then up again due to not being able to maintain these habits.
Rather than falling victim to the yo-yo effect associated with weight loss, you want to make sure that you’re able to get used to the changes you’re making—this helps you make them sustainable. Plus, that’ll stop you from rebounding out of those good habits and straight back into your old ways.
Approach Weight Loss Sustainably Step #4 Healthy Home Cooking
Finding tasty recipes that you can prepare and cook at home with ease and enjoy is crucial to sustaining your weight loss. When it comes to tweaking your diet, doing more home cooking and avoiding eating out or eating junk food is usually the best approach. But the food has to taste good, and that’s why you should take the time to improve your cooking and hunt down recipes that provide you with essential nutrients. Also, try not to make your home cooking too complicated if you’re not a very confident or a competent chef.
Approach Weight Loss Sustainably Step #5 Be Active to Maintain Gains
Being active is an important part of your weight loss journey as it helps you to maintain good body toning and to continually improve your body shape no matter your size. By making sure that you’re exercising daily you’ll burn calories and weight faster. Exercise can be as simple as walking around the block, or if you’re more enthusiastic going to the gym daily.
The key to being active is adopting behaviours that you enjoy and feel enthusiastic doing. For instance, if you love walking your dog, then make this a daily activity. Start small, by going around the block or walking a kilometre with your dog. After a few weeks, walk a little further. Increase your distance gradually and as you get fitter you’ll walk further. This way of thinking will see you shave kilos off effortlessly and it will help you regain your shape with less effort.
If walking isn’t for you, then consider cycling, playing a sport like tennis or soccer or even swimming. These types of activities when carried out daily will help you reduce your weight in no time, especially if you combine these activities with healthier eating.
Approach Weight Loss Sustainably Step #6 Set Targets for Yourself
Setting targets can be really helpful as they give you goals to work towards. Plus, they are vital for you to maintain accountability when you’re looking to make progress with your health. Targets can be as simple as eating one new healthy dish per week or losing a kilo a week. Just remember to make your targets realistic and achievable. These targets will give you the motivation you need to keep your pushing towards your goals.
Approach Weight Loss Sustainably Step #7 Try Weight Loss Shakes
Weight loss shakes can be beneficial for a lot of people who are trying to lose weight. They just need to be used the right way. First of all, do your research and take the time to find the best weight loss shakes out there. This means paying attention to specific nutritional benefits, and avoiding shakes with higher sugar and carbohydrate levels. With such a broad range of options available, there’s a weight loss shake to suit your requirements. Of course, these shakes should be used in conjunction with a healthy and balanced diet and exercise plan.
Approach Weight Loss Sustainably Step #8 Understand Slow Progress
To make your weight loss sustainable, you need to understand that your progress will be slow. You won’t lose 20 or 30 kilos in a matter of weeks. Having these expectations is not realistic. Plus, if you aimed for such extreme weight loss your body would suffer the consequences like lose skin, fatigue and other possibly detrimental health concerns.
By thinking gradual progress, you will be happy when you make even the smallest of improvements. For instance, aim to lose 500 grams to a kilo a week—this is achievable and also sustainable. Positive thinking empowers you to get through and to then achieve your bigger goals of losing say 20 to 30 kilos. By aiming for a kilo a week it will take you 20 to 30 weeks to lose this amount of weight. But imagine how you’ll feel when you realise you’ve lost 10, 15 and then 20 kilos (euphoric right). So, while those steps might be small now they will eventually add up to be significant in the end, and that’s what matters the most.
Approach Weight Loss Sustainably Step #9 Learn Along the Way
It’s also important that you learn as you progress on your journey. For you this might mean learning about yourself, your body and what you want in relation to better health and fitness. You might also learn more about how you think, feel and what triggers your bad habits.
As you move towards your goals you’ll begin to understand what you’ve done right and wrong on your weight loss journey. When you fall back into a bad habit or feel you’ve made a mistake, then use these experiences as a learning curve that you can draw from so you can then strive to do better as you move forward.
By testing out different approaches to health, fitness and weight loss, you’ll begin to learn what works for you and what doesn’t. Over time you’ll also increase your mental resilience and you’ll stop beating yourself up when you don’t get it right. Remember when you’re learning often you’ll take two steps forward, and then, one step backwards before you get it right.
Look at losing weight as an adventure and approach it in a realistic manner.
Approach Weight Loss Sustainably Key Takeaways
- Identify your motivators;
- Stop using food as a crutch;
- Start slowly and gradually;
- Healthy home cooking;
- Be active to maintain gains;
- Set targets for yourself;
- Try weight loss shakes;
- Understand slow progress; and
- Learn along the way.
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