Weight loss can be so confusing. There are so many people telling you to do different things. Especially in recent times there seems to be a push towards fast weight loss – drop a dress size in days, take this diet pill, drink this supplement etc. I get that everyone now a days is in a rush and wants everything yesterday, but there is one thing I don’t think you should rush – losing weight and becoming healthy. Below are my lifestyle tips to help you achieve long-term weight loss success and then once you reach you goal, maintain it.
- Take things slowly.
I know you may want to lose a few dress sizes before that special event, but losing weight fast is not great for your health and often leads to quick weight gain. It is also hard when beginning a diet or exercise plan to go from nothing to super healthy in one day. Making small changes and losing small amounts of weight over a longer period of time is the way to go. The small changes you make will become habits that over a long period of time, you are more likely to stick to.
- Set goals.
Set at least one big goal (and make it SMART Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timeframe), and then smaller goals. The smaller goals give you something to work towards on a daily basis that will help keep you motivated and that will lead you to the big goal.
- Plan your meals and workouts.
Planning for the week and then tracking how you are going is very important to help you work towards getting results. Having your workouts and meals organized makes it easier to follow as you don’t have to think about what you need to eat or do, you just need to do it.
- Learn at least a little about calories and the carbohydrate/protein/fat in foods.
Knowing about food will help you make better food choices. If you know what carbohydrates, protein and fats are, what they do, how much is in certain foods and how much is recommended per day, it can help you make better choices. Learning about calories will also help with meal planning as when you understand how many calories are in certain foods you can make choices about whether you should eat that or if you should have a smaller amount.
- Control your portions.
There is some great information and guidelines about portion sizes (I shared a video on Facebook a little while ago on portion sizes). Knowing how big portions of certain food is can help when it comes to mealtime as you can use these guidelines when you are serving food. I know personally, in the past my portion sizes were way off! Eventually I learnt about portions and now it is much easier to just know how much food to serve and eat.
- Find enjoyable exercise.
If you don’t enjoy going to a gym/running/crossfit/cycle etc, don’t go. There are plenty of ways to exercise and it helps to find something you enjoy, as you are more likely to stick to it. If you are really not an exercise person, maybe try a sport instead? Don’t like working out alone? Find a friend to workout with or join a group exercise class. The main thing is to try things and eventually you will find something you like.
- Do resistance exercise.
I highly recommend that you lift weights. There are so many benefits to resistance exercise and it will help so much with losing weight that you really should try it. Whether it’s lifting weights in a gym, crossfit, bodypump, whatever includes lifting a weight, is good for you!
- Incidental exercise.
We all know that we should take the stairs or get off a stop early to walk to work and adding in this exercise will make us move that little bit more per day. Even if you have already exercised today, do try to keep yourself a bit more active and get in incidental exercise when you can.
- Get enough sleep.
Getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night can help with weight loss and also just feeling good. You body repairs and rests at night, so it’s important to make sure it gets enough. I know especially with kids this is difficult, but even sneaking a nap in while your kids nap or going to bed as early as possible will help.
- Don’t be hard on yourself.
At the end of the day, it is just weight. There is more to life then being a certain size and weighing a certain amount. We all have hard times and we all make mistakes. If you fall off the wagon, pick yourself up and try again, but don’t beat yourself up about it. If you keep working towards it, you will get there in the end.