In order to lose weight and keep it off, you will need to change your lifestyle. Not only will you need to change how you eat, what you eat, how much you eat, and increase your physical activity, but you also need to change how you think about all of these things too. This can be quite the daunting task – after all, you are changing your entire eating and physical lifestyle, and one cannot be expected to make major changes like this overnight.
If you try to make all these changes at once, you may find yourself frustrated and giving up your weight loss or diet plans before you even begin or soon thereafter. In order to avoid this problem, consider a more common sense approach to changing your weight loss and maintenance lifestyle by setting smaller goals and breaking this lifestyle change into easier to swallow bites, pun intended.
Basically, instead of setting large and intimidating goals for yourself, start with smaller goals, add them into your daily routine until they become habit for you, and then slowly increase the scope of the goal.
For example, if you have a goal to walk two miles per day, this might be difficult when you first start. So instead of walking two miles, try walking around the block every night after dinner. Once you have that down and it’s part of your routine, add another block to it, or find a nice outdoor track at the high school or college in your town and slowly increase how far you walk each day until you finally hit that two mile mark easily and consistently.
Let’s look at some other smaller steps you can take to begin changing your lifestyle to a healthier and thinner one.
Weight Loss Baby Step #1
Start small by making one positive change to your diet each day. On Monday, begin using only calorie free sweetener in your coffee. Once you are used to that, add low fat or non fat creamer instead of the full fat or flavored versions. If you are used to drinking sodas during the day, start by replacing just one soda with a glass or water instead. Then when you have cut back on the sodas, replace one more, and then another, until you have worked yourself off calorie dense sodas completely.
Each day, choose one new ‘good’ habit to replace a ‘bad’ habit, and slowly work into a weight loss routine that is permanent and a true lifestyle change.
Weight Loss Baby Step #2
Make a journal for your new lifestyle so you can keep track of what is working, what is changing, and what is not working. Write down everything you eat, drink, and consume and document the positive changes you are making. This will help you track progress and make you more aware of what your lifestyle actually is so you can change it.
Weight Loss Baby Step #3
Set a monthly goal to reach for yourself, such as eliminating sodas from your diet completely, and then break it down into weekly action you can take to make that happen. After that, you can even break it down into daily action you can take to reach this weight loss goal. At the end of the month, use your journal to track your progress and help you set your next month’s goal for weight loss and lifestyle change.
Weight Loss Baby Step #4
Increase physical activity slowly. Sure, maybe you made plans to go the gymnasium five times a week, but sometimes life gets in the way, miss a few days, and the next thing you know, the gym is all but forgotten.
Instead of pushing yourself so hard so quickly, try other ways to increase your physical activity without actually setting aside time in your schedule to exercise. Exercise IS important, but when you are not used to exercising regularly, and your body is not yet physically fit, this can be quite intimidating.
Instead of jumping right into a fitness routine, take some baby steps:
* Park farther from the door and walk the extra steps
* Stand, stretch, and move regularly when working at a desk
* Learn isometrics, tensing and flexing muscles, even while sitting or working
* Take the stairs instead of the elevator when you can
* Carry your groceries in your hands instead of pushing in the cart when you can
* Walk or ride a bike instead of driving when time and distance allows
* Take your children to the park and play with them instead of staying home and watching television
I’m sure you can come up with other ways to be more physically active without actually going to the gym. Use your weight loss journal to log your activity level so you can see that it is working to change your lifestyle and also to note how you can add more activity to you lifestyle as well.
Weight Loss Baby Step #5
Buy only healthy foods to keep at home so that you are not tempted to cheat. If there is no junk food or easily accessible foods you can just grab and eat, you will find you will eat less. If you have to prepare something before you eat it, you will think before you eat and tend to only eat when you are truly hungry. Plus, getting up and preparing food increases your physical activity as well.
Again, log everything in your journal and watch trends in your eating and adjust what you buy based on those trends.
The research shows that rapid weight loss without a true lifestyle change is rarely permanent. We live in an ‘on demand’ society where we tend to expect results immediately, but where lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and maintenance, are concerned the only permanent solution is a slow and steady progress to changing how you view yourself, your diet, and your physical activity level.
These tips won’t guarantee you will lose weight, but if you adjust your lifestyle slowly, letting each new baby step become a habit before adding another one, these changes are more likely to become a permanent part of your routine and result in a true healthy lifestyle change.