So you’ve decided to get fit, eat better and lose weight. Now what? You need to think strategically and get a game plan. Here are 9 steps to ensure you lose the weight and keep it off.
1. Give Yourself 21 Days
We know you’re committed to getting the results you want. For some it can take a long time though, and if the results aren’t visible right away, that can be discouraging. It will take a lifestyle makeover for really effective changes in your body and your health. So take it 21 days at a time. Why 21?
“It takes 21 days to form a habit. Now is the time to get in the habit of taking care of yourself, of eating healthy and exercising,” says celebrity trainer and creator of 21 Day Fix Autumn Calabrase. Life will always have obstacles, but if you make small goals, like exercising three days a week or making your lunches for three days a week, you will succeed.
2. Keep A Food And Exercise Diary
You can buy a fancy diet and workout log or you can just use a lined booklet. It doesn’t matter. It just matters that you write down what you do and what you eat (and for emotional eaters and those with energy level issues, how you feel). Don’t forget to read it, analyze it and figure out solution to your mistakes either. This can be very motivating and empowering.
“Americans typically underestimate their daily intake by about 25 percent,” nutritionist Carrie Latt Wiatt, author of Portion Savvy tells Good Housekeeping. So understanding where those calories are coming from, noticing patterns (you’re too tired to exercise the day after you had wine), and finding holes in your schedule can get you back on track. Need more convincing? This study found that diaries can double the amount of weight loss.
3. Recognize When You Need Motivation
Work was exhausting. The children won’t stop fighting. You have the sniffles. It’s too cold or too hot outside. You’re late. You’re early. You can always find an excuse. The challenge is to find motivation. Create an emergency kit of emotional quotes and inspirational sayings that will get you through those days when, frankly, you just don’t want to do it. The Internet is an infinite source of encouraging messages, including Pinterest. Start clipping the ones that speak to you and recognize that an excuse is just that, an excuse.
4. Find Your Fitness Personality
Before you sign up for a one-year membership at a fitness studio or gym, figure out what types of exercises you will enjoy doing. If you are shy, a group class can be intimidating. If you are proud, bootcamp classes where an instructor yells can be frustrating. If you are competitive, dance class might not give you that edge you need to push yourself. It’s all about finding what suits you. Take our fitness personality quiz and see what you think of the results.
5. Hire A Personal Trainer
Even if you join a recreational soccer team, take weekly barre classes or dedicate certain evenings to working out at home, consider a personal trainer. They will be your advisor, motivator, teacher and will ensure what you’re doing is safe.
According to the American Council on Exercise, there are 10 things a certified fitness professional will provide you with: motivation to stick with your goals; consistency with regular appointments; safety on how to exercise injury-free; individualized instruction; effective workouts; supervision; sports-specific and functional training that will improve performance; injury rehabilitation; special-needs training expertise for those with health challenges such as diabetes, asthma, osteoporosis or heart disease; and that must-needed ego boost on your improvement. After all they are experts – a compliment from them is a big deal.
6. Clean Out Your Fridge And Pantry
Committing to a clean diet means a clean house. Dr. Tim Harlan, drgourmet.com, says, “What should you do? Clean out your kitchen. Get rid of the stupid food. Start with the cupboard.” Donate the foods that won’t work in your new lifestyle plan. “If you are a sweet snacker, get rid of the cookies, cakes and candy and fill your kitchen with fruit. Canned, fresh or frozen or dried; it doesn’t matter. There’s great evidence that you’ll be just as satisfied (and happier) eating fruit rather than candy.” If chips are more your thing, toss ’em. “If you are a savory/salty snacker, fill your pantry with nuts. The a single serving of homemade popcorn is a fantastic snack option, especially when you compare it with the same volume of potato chips at almost 400 calories.”
7. Get Excited About Cooking And Learning New Recipes
The key to nutrition success is planning; that means prepping and cooking yourself. So start to fall in love with cooking, grocery shopping and recipes. Open up a Pinterest account if you haven’t already. Pin recipes you would like to make. Just make sure that they’re healthy (low in saturated fats, sugars and calories, but are loaded with veggies and are high in fibre). You’ll also find some amazing bloggers and recipe developers on there as you familiarize yourself with the website. Be sure to follow Fitnessrepublic.com’s page, too!
8. Stock Up On Measuring Cups And Spoons
Measure your food. There is no better way to make sure that you’re eating the correct portion sizes and not overeating. If you need some guidance with portion sizes, you can check out the USDA’s Choosemyplate.com, and food conversions at TrueStarHealth.com.
9. Get Moving
Never underestimate the benefit of being active. “Any little increment of physical activity is going to be a great boost to weight loss and feeling better,” Rita Redberg, MSc, chairwoman of the American Heart Association’s Scientific Advisory Board for the Choose to Move program tells webmd.com. Every physical move you make counts toward weight loss.
The recommendation is for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week. If one week or one day you do less than that, don’t stress. Redberg adds: “You’re still going to see benefits. It’s not like if you can’t do 30 minutes, you shouldn’t do anything, because you’re definitely going to see benefits even at 5 or 10 minutes of moving around.”