Starting a weight loss journey can be daunting and we could go about it the wrong way if we do not know what to do or where to start and end up either starving ourselves, over exercising or (god forbid), injure ourselves and binge eat; resulting in weight gain – which is the complete opposite of our goals. Many people know that it involves exercise and dieting but do not know what foods to eat or not to eat, how many calories to eat or not to eat, and what exercises to do or not to do, nor do they know how long and how often to exercise for.
Where to start at permanent weight loss
I suggest to be successful at permanent weight loss and achieving our ideal weight, we need to do the following – in that order:
We need to know ourselves and analyze what is working well and what isn’t working well. For example, have you ever exercised or gone to the gym for a whole week and ended up putting on weight? Yes, various factors such as inflammation, water retention and so on, could have contributed to that but could it also be because you were still consuming more calories than you should? How would you know if that was the case unless you analyzed your food intake by calorie counting? Or another example of this could be: how would you know how much sleep you were getting a night unless you counted it?
Have a goal
A goal gives direction. And most people who want to lose weight have a goal but having SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) increases the likelihood of success.
Being aware of what’s going on with you mentally, physically, emotionally is going to help you figure out what you want to achieve. (i.e.: weight loss, weight gain or muscle gain, toning, increase fitness levels, flexibility, eat more vegetables, try a new diet, etc.…)
Have a plan
Once you know what your goal is, you’ll then be able to put a plan together based on what you want to achieve.
Regarding weight loss for example, we will convert our Weight Loss Awareness Plan to our Weight Loss Plan.
I am emphasizing structure here in addition to having a plan because people tend to be all over the place with dieting and exercising. And in my experience, people who set specific timings and plan ahead tend to be most successful at maintaining healthy routines and lifestyles. So what is meant by structure here is in terms of daily routines and setting healthier habits.
Find your intrinsic motivations
Your WHY is key! Your WHY is what will keep you going when you don’t want to anymore. Any time, you feel like giving up or feel like cheating on your diet, your WHY should and will motivate you to do better. You just have to make your WHY more important than the temporary pleasure of falling off the band wagon. But your WHY is also what’s going to get you back up! So this is very important, and not to be underestimated.
Set habit triggers
To make you want to act or follow up on your plan. A trigger is an event that will kick off that automatic urge to do a habit. So, for example, to form a better habit of working out in the mornings, the trigger could be to set off an alarm to wake you up in the morning to go work out.
5 practical steps at permanent weight loss
Step 1: journaling
Journaling your weight loss does not have to be complicated. It just means taking notes of the way you eat, exercise, sleep, drink, etc. As mentioned above, you want to be aware of what’s going with yourself to know where you should improve. I have a bigger article on journaling for weight loss.
Step 2: create your own plan
Once you’ve journaled for 3-5 days, turn the points you have identified for improvements into your action plan or weight loss plan.
- It may be that you need to focus on one point per week at a time.
- Find the best resources to help your goal such as apps, equipment and clothing.
- Do research on the points you want to work on (example how to sleep more or on the keto diet, if that’s what you’ve decided you want to do).
- Prepare in advance.
- Ask or hire a professional for help if need be.
- Your plan should always include your ‘WHY you want to achieve the goal’.
- Add visual motivations to your plan. For example, a photo of you or someone else at your ideal weight.
Step 3: carry out the plan
Do what you said you would do and let your WHY motivate you. Set up contingency days and do it.
Step 4: daily, weekly and monthly reviews (accountability)
You can weigh daily but the results are less accurate. It is better to weigh every week. However, if you choose to weigh daily, it might be more accurate to take an average of the daily weigh-ins over a week to devise how much weight you’re losing a week.
Tip: Don’t become obsessed with the process and be patient with yourself.
Know that if you put in the effort, there is no way you won’t see results.
And if you are not seeing any results, know that there is a reason for it. Find that reason by starting the journaling process again if necessary.
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF. There is no benefit in lying to yourself because it won’t help you lose weight or achieve your goal.
Step 5: adjust and start again until you reach your goal
Life is just the way it is. We all fall and stop doing what we should do occasionally. We just have to start again.
There is no progress in stagnation, only in action.
Try not to beat yourself up, just be happy that you started again. Focus on the positives – because what you focus on you attract.
How to stay motivated for permanent weight loss
Some of these tips have been mentioned already, but they are worth reiterating.
Your reason why you want to lose weight will keep you going and will help you get back up if you stop.
Visualize yourself in your ideal weight or at your goal.
Remembering that being your ideal weight is more important to you than the ‘bad’ food choices you could be making. Nothing will feel better than how it would feel being the size you want to be or wearing the clothes you want to wear.
Knowing and believing that trying (and failing) is better than quitting.
Always focus on the positives, be grateful every day and proud of every step you take.
The last thing you need to know about being successful at permanent weight loss
It’s a journey.
Some people dislike that word, but there is no better way to describe it. Everything is about the journey or the process. It’s not really the destination we are here for but for the process and the things we learn, experience, and feel along the way.
For example, it’s not just having eaten the chocolate cake that brings us satisfaction, but the tasting, the texture, the gooiness that gets us. Basically, we’re not just interested in the orgasm but the pleasure and the build up of the experience too.
So, be patient with yourselves, enjoy the journey, learn what there is to learn and before you know it, what was once a problem or an issue for you will no longer be that, and it will be normal life.
What are your weight loss struggles?
I’d love to hear from you and about your weight loss stories. Please fill in the form on mindfulfatloss.com.