You Want To Lose Weight. Where Do you Start?
Losing weight takes more than desire. It takes commitment and a well-thought-out plan. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started.
Step 1: Make a commitment.
Making the decision to lose weight, change your lifestyle, and become healthier is a big step to take. Start simply by making a commitment to yourself. Diarise things like the amount of weight you want to lose, the date you’d like to lose the weight by, the dietary changes you’ll make to establish healthy eating habits,and any other plans you may have for yourself for the year.
Writing down the reasons why you want to lose weight can also help. It might be because you have a family history of heart disease, or because you want to see your kids get married, or simply because you want to feel better in your clothes.
Step 2: Take stock of where you are.
Consider talking to a health care provider. He or she can evaluate your weight, and explore which programme and product will suit you.
Keep a “food diary” for a few days, in which you write down everything you eat. By doing this, you become more aware of what you are eating and when you are eating. This awareness can help you avoid mindless eating.
Next, examine your current lifestyle. Identify things that might pose challenges to your weight loss efforts. For example, does your work or travel schedule make it difficult to get enough physical activity? Do you find yourself eating sugary foods because that’s what you buy for your kids? Do your coworkers frequently bring high-calorie items, such as doughnuts, to the workplace to share with everyone? Think through things you can do to help overcome these challenges.
Step 3: Set realistic goals.
Set some short-term goals and reward your efforts along the way. If your long-term goal is to lose 20 kg’s eating a healthy breakfast might be a good start or having a salad or vegetable with supper.
Focus on two or three goals at a time. Great, effective goals are:
Specific
Realistic
Forgiving (less than perfect)
For example, “Exercise More” is not a specific goal. Remember, small changes every day can lead to big results in the long run. Also remember that realistic goals are achievable goals. By achieving your short-term goals day-by-day, you’ll feel good about your progress and be motivated to continue. Setting unrealistic goals, such as losing 10 kgs in 2 weeks, can leave you feeling defeated and frustrated.
Being realistic also means expecting occasional setbacks. Setbacks happen when you get away from your plan for whatever reason – maybe the holidays, longer work hours, or another life change. When setbacks happen, get back on track as quickly as possible. Also take some time to think about what you would do differently if a similar situation happens, to prevent setbacks.
Keep in mind everyone is different – what works for someone else might not be right for you. Just because your neighbor lost weight by taking up running, doesn’t mean running is the best option for you.
Step 4: Identify resources for information and support.
Find a programme that will support your weight loss efforts. Making lifestyle changes can feel easier when you have others you can talk to and rely on for support.
Step 5: Continually “check in” with yourself to monitor your progress.
Revisit the goals you set for yourself and evaluate your progress regularly. Evaluate which parts of your plan are working well and which ones need tweaking. Then rewrite your goals and plan accordingly.
If you are consistently achieving a particular goal, add a new goal to help you continue on your pathway to success.
Reward yourself for your successes! Recognize when you’re meeting your goals and be proud of your progress. Use non-food rewards, such as a bouquet of freshly picked flowers, an outing with friends, or a relaxing bath. Rewards help keep you motivated on the path to better health.
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