Successful weight loss is the result of a combination of preparation, organization, support and accountability. Most of you thinking about getting started on a weight loss journey have likely been mulling it over for a while — but how do you get started? What’s the best way to begin in order to ensure success?
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When it comes to a realistic weight loss plan, the simple equation of “calories in vs. calories out” doesn’t always cut it. In my experience coaching hundreds of people (including myself) to weight loss goals, I have learned a thing or two about what it really takes to ready yourself for losing weight. As you get ready to move from planning to action, there are several things you can do to make getting started feel less stressful and more seamless.
Nobody said weight loss was easy. We can’t change ingrained behaviours overnight without preparing ourselves to do things differently in the upcoming days, weeks, and months.
Here are my top five tips for getting started from the get-go.
1. Start On A Monday
I often counsel my clients to start their weight loss plans on a Monday. Research has shown that those who start on a Monday often have more success. This could be due to several reasons; first, using the weekend prior to shop for healthy food and prepare meals makes it easy to get started when Monday rolls around. Mondays usually have more structure than the weekends or other days of the week, and they come with a feeling of a fresh start — perfect for kicking off a weight loss plan.
2. Avoid Exercise During The First Week
This may seem counterintuitive, but hear me out. About 80 per cent of weight loss can be attributed to the food choices you make. I recommend that you spend your first week or two solely focused on food, spending extra time prepping, organizing, researching and trying out new recipes. The biggest mistake
I see people make is trying to do too much at once. They try to overhaul their diets and their fitness routines in one go, and they can’t sustain the pace. Instead, start slowly and layer in new behaviours each week. I promise you will lose weight you first week, even without adding exercise in the mix. Exercise is a challenging behaviour change that requires blocking time in your schedule, getting gear, arranging childcare, etc. etc.. Layer it in when you are ready, and when you’re feeling motivated after seeing the results from adopting healthier eating habits.
3. Go Shopping
Spend the weekend before your Monday “start date” by shopping and preparing for everything you need. Depending on the type of food plan you are following, you will likely need to prepare some meals and snacks in advance, as well as rid your home of tempting foods. I also recommend that you take the time purchase any tools you may need, such as measuring cups, Tupperware, a spiralizer, a scale, etc.. Spend time researching a couple of recipes that look good and get the ingredients needed. These are essential steps that no one tells you about that must happen for success.
4. Plan Your 3 x 3 Meals
This is a tip I give most of my clients to make healthy meal prep simple. Write down three ideas for each of the three major meals of the day — so three breakfasts, three lunches and three dinners — that fit your food plan. For example, oatmeal with berries, avocado egg bowls and yogurt parfaits could be three easy breakfast ideas that you can prep for the weekend before. Ensure you have all the ingredients you need for all nine meals in the house so you can simply select from the list when inspiration is running low. I urge you to create you own meal plans rather than trying to live off a pre-made meal plan created by someone else. Doing it yourself will feel more organic, and will likely be more realistic in terms of the foods you like and also what works for your lifestyle.
5. Ask For Help
Accountability and support are two essential pillars for weight loss success. My greatest success stories have made a very clear declaration to supportive friends or family that they are beginning their weight loss journey. Think carefully about who you want to tell, and ask those friends or family for help and support along the way. You can find added support through weight loss groups or online groups. This more anonymous type of support can prove effective in asking or sharing things you may not want to share with a friend. Here you will also get unbiased feedback from people who do not have preconceived ideas about you or your history.
Get motivated, be prepared and follow these easy weight loss tips to make the transition to a healthier lifestyle that much easier. Remember, successful weight loss is a journey. There will be setbacks and it will take time to fully change your habits, but you’re more likely to succeed if you get started on the right foot.