Are you ready to start working towards your weight and health goals but just not quite sure where to start? Deciding how to start a weight loss journey seems to get more and more confusing each year. There are a staggering number of diets available and each one claims to be better than the one before.
The truth is that any of them can work for someone, and on any of them many will fail. The best way to start a weight loss journey is to customize a plan that works for you. For your life. Your family. Your goals. The best diet and exercise program is the one you will actually do. It’s not just for this week or this month, it’s the one you can do forever because it’s a lifestyle change. Welcome to how to start your own personal weight loss journey.
No matter what direction you choose, or even if you haven’t picked one, there are easy things you can do to get started and set yourself up for success. Here are a few you can start right now, because let’s face it, tomorrow just may never come.
Getting Your Head in the Game
The best advice I can give anyone is to live like you have already achieved your goals. Start by defining what that goal looks like. Do you want to be thin? Dream of being an athlete? Want to be fit?
Let’s take my favorite: the athlete.
What does an athlete do in the morning? Eat for breakfast or lunch? Read about on their breaks? How does an athlete train? How often? What are their sleeping habits? If you live it, you will be it.
My greatest progress in fitness and health came when I went from reading the “dieting” articles/books to reading the sports section. I became a runner and weight lifter. They are two colliding worlds, but they brought me to a different section of the book store and to different internet sites.
It was in this area of study I learned to respect the strength and limits of my body and to identify and train what I did best. By changing my mindset, I got away from the self-punishing behaviors of dieting, limiting what I wanted, and restricting my internal appetites and instead, learned to feed my appetite appropriately. I learned to respect what I was capable of. I became stronger and faster than I ever dreamed possible.
On day one I didn’t look like an athlete to anyone around me. I felt awkward and out of place. But I went to the gym anyway (noticing every nuance in the flooring just to avoid the possibility of eye contact), trained with free weights, ran at the track, and studied the eating and lifestyle habits of those who mastered the craft. I vowed to never look at those around me, and I didn’t. Somewhere along the way I became an athlete. I became lean and muscular. People I worked with wanted to train with me. Those I admired invited me to train with them.
Or Being an Active Person
One of my good friends lost over 100 pounds walking and changing some of how she ate. She still remembers taking those first steps and barely getting around the block. She tells people “I started with one step. One walk. I never thought I’d get here either, but I just kept at it and didn’t give up.”
So for today, you are an athlete. You are already lean, fit, and strong. The world and your body hasn’t fully caught up yet but the athlete will emerge. Feed and train your body. Soon you will go farther, be faster, and lift more than you ever thought possible. And that part of your brain that laughs at the concept or screams all the reasons that you will never do it needs to go away. Not just for right now, but permanently.
The Easy Way
You want to start a diet now? Like right now? Yay! This is the easiest diet ever! Eat only half of the next meal (half of what you would normally eat). Still hungry? Ok then, have 3/4 of it. Not too bad huh? Now keep doing it. Every meal from here forward.
After doing that a bit, you may decide you are feeling a little too hungry. Maybe you want to eat more, and to do that while still losing weight you will need to make some leaner choices; increase your vegetable portions and make sure you have protein at each meal. There are a lot of other tweaks that can be done, but for the easy, simple, starting now approach, just eat half.
Or A Little More Effort
I often hear people say they don’t know what they eat (or it changes every day), so they have no idea what half would be. Or they already eat one salad a day yet are still 100 pounds overweight. If you fall into these camps, it is best to start a food journal. Weigh yourself the morning of Day 1 and again the morning of Day 8. For every minute that passes in between, write down everything you put in your mouth. Every. Single. Thing. Gum, water, doesn’t matter, it’s creating a habit. You put something in, you write it down.
Along with what you eat, write down the time and about how much of it you ate. It only needs to make sense to you, so you don’t need to be technical. For example, let’s say you had a burrito for lunch. How big was your burrito? 1, 2 fists long? What was in it? Or maybe you are good at estimating how many cups something is. It only matters that you are consistent.
I don’t like the apps for tracking food intake in the beginning. Often they pre-fill portion sizes or don’t have an option close to what you are having. Because of this it becomes far too easy to enter in the wrong information and get unreliable results. Honestly, I also want it to be hard for you. I want you to have to stop and think every time you eat. That said, if you have an app you like, feel free to use it too.
Interestingly enough, people often lose weight just by writing down what they eat. Suddenly if finishing the fries on your kids’ plate means you have to 1: count them, and 2: write it down, they aren’t so tempting anymore. Passing up candy dishes gets easier too because it makes those little snacks that much less satisfying.
Yes, just more. Don’t worry about having a perfect workout routine. Right now we are going for “more than you did last week”. Aim to be more active every day even if it’s only in small ways. You can take the long way to the mailbox, walk the dog, do a few pushups and sit-ups in the morning. Maybe try some different yoga videos, sign up for a dance class, or dust off your old workout routine. It’s completely up to you. Just move more. That also includes today, because like I said before, this is the weight loss journey that started today. You have everything you need to get started and no more excuses.
Try it for 3 weeks. How much of a change did you see? Was it easy or hard? Let us know in the comments below or sign up for The Sexy Dietitian email list to get tips and motivation delivered to your inbox. I look forward to being on this journey with you!