There are so many sources of information out there on how to lose weight, hundreds of diets, promises of dramatic weight loss, meal plans, books, videos, DVDs so I don’t blame you for feeling lost and wondering where to start. Take a step back and look at my 7 tips for succeeding at weight loss. Keep it simple, do the things you enjoy and do it your way.
1. Keep a food diary
To begin to understand how to lose weight you need to be honest with yourself about what you are eating. When people ‘diet’ they may think they are eating well but don’t always think about those extra calories that go ‘unnoticed’. That biscuit or cake at work, the fizzy drink at lunch, finishing the kids’ tea to ‘avoid waste’, a glass of wine (or 2) in the evening, all these calories add up and could be the reason you aren’t losing weight. If you keep a food diary and log everything (yes everything) you eat and drink you will be taking the first big step to losing weight. Click here to download my free food diary to start using today! Calorie tracking apps are also a great idea as not only will you see how many calories you should be consuming against what you actually are, you can also monitor vitamins and minerals to ensure you have a healthy, balanced diet. It’s also worth reminding yourself that you can’t out-train a bad diet…
2. Invest in a fitness tracker
If you are going to invest in any equipment to aid weight loss, make it a fitness tracker watch. This will help you monitor how active you are, how many calories you are burning and depending on the type you have, it will encourage you to move more and motivate you to take that flight of stairs instead of the lift or park further from the shops and walk. There are many relatively cheap ones available that all do the same job, there are also many second-hand ones available so grab yourself a bargain! Once you start tracking the food going in and the calories being burned it’s a simple game of maths, the calories burnt need to be higher than the calories consumed!
So you’ve cracked the healthy eating and activity, now you need to think about structured exercise. Not only cardio to burn those calories but also resistance training to burn even more calories and to build lean muscle. If you are unsure about using weights, my blog on reasons to lift weights will reassure you. Take time to find an exercise that you enjoy, ask around to see what other people do, try different classes, join a gym, ask for recommendations, whatever suits you but it’s important to have structured exercise sessions. Working out at home from a magazine article or just doing exercises you like means they are exercises you may be used to and not necessarily what you need to achieve results. Classes are a great way to start as they will introduce you to new exercises and a good instructor will make them fun, different, tailor them to your own fitness level and more importantly, make them progressive to help you achieve results. Don’t be afraid to speak to your instructor about your goals and how you can achieve them. I run weekly boot camps, circuits and HIIT classes in Meon Vale and Lower Quinton with more locations and dates to be added soon. Click here to see the classes I currently run and register here to be notified when new classes are added.
4. Buddy up
Research shows that having an exercise buddy boosts results and increases motivation. You are far more likely to get up and out of bed in the morning or head back out in the evening if you know you are meeting a friend or personal trainer to workout together, it’s easy to make excuses to yourself when you are tired but knowing that someone else is also making the effort will make it easier. Working out together can also increase the intensity if there is a bit of fun competition, having someone there to cheer you on and tell you what a good job you are doing is also a great motivator. If you don’t have any exercise minded friends, classes are a great way to meet new friends with a common interest!
5. Avoid the scales!
There’s nothing more demotivating than eating well all week only to step on the scales at the end to find there has been no weight loss. There are several reasons why you may not be losing weight, if you are exercising, the most likely reason will be the increase of lean muscle, which weighs more than fat. The key is to take photos and measurements at the start of your weight loss journey and keep them safe for 4 weeks, then do the same again and compare. You are more likely to see results this way and there’s no better way to motivate you to continue than seeing and feeling results of your own hard work.
6. Don’t deprive yourself
The key in a weight loss programme is to not deprive yourself of everything, life is for living after all and healthy eating should be a way of life, not a ‘temporary diet’. We all have bad days, accept it as that, just a bad day. Remind yourself of what you want to achieve and why you are doing it and just start again from the next meal. However, try to avoid ‘fat days’, I see this too often when people weigh weekly, they think it is a good time to indulge, this will only slow down results.
7. Achievable goals
It’s important to know what you want to achieve, this may be a certain dress size, weight, fitness level, whatever it may be making sure the goal is achievable and break it down into manageable steps. You may have a lot of weight or inches to lose so think of it in stages, aim for a smaller goal first then reward yourself with a nice treat such as a new outfit or a spa day when you reach that goal, then think about and set your next goal. Sharing goals with friends and loved ones will help you stick to them too, having the support of those closest to you will help you to achieve anything, it will also make sure they remove the temptation to keep you on track!
Good luck on your weight loss journey, if you have any questions or need guidance please get in touch.