You should always consult your doctor before starting any weight loss program. With your doctor’s okay, there are a few things you should do before you diet. Figuring these things out will put you ahead in the game because you’ll already have considered them when they come up (and some of them will be sneaky like emotional eating). You’ll need a writing utensil, paper, and a quiet place to think and write.
You wouldn’t want to run a marathon without training for it, right? The same logic can be applied to taking on a weight loss routine.
Weight loss can be much more successful if you mentally prepare for the changes to come.
Your job before starting a diet is to think about why you’re motivated, understanding your emotional pitfalls, and to decide on the strategies you’ll use that’ll help keep you mentally strong and committed to your goals.
You may also want to consider other options if you have been trying to lose weight for a while. You can consult a surgeon such as BMCC for bariatric surgery costs.
Write Down Why You Want to Lose Weight
What is your soul-deep reason for getting in shape? Write it down in big letters on a piece of paper and hang it where you can see it to keep it in the forefront of your mind throughout your weight loss journey.
Write Down Your Emotional Pitfalls?
- Do you eat when you are bored?
- Do you turn to food when you are stressed?
Distinguish true hunger signals versus stress or boredom eating by figuring out your triggers. Take a day to take notes on yourself. Without judgment, jot down in a log, all of your feelings, and what you ate to see your emotional eating pattern.
Low self-esteem, poor body image, and negative thinking can be strong tripping hazards on the road to losing weight. There is some great therapy out there to help you. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to get the help you need; it can be a pivotal move that will help you the rest of your life.
Some things you will need to step away from to succeed:
- Avoid sabotaging situations
- Avoid people who shame you
- Lose the guilt over throwing food away
When you set clear, defined, realistic goals, you’ll stay more motivated if you do this. Using short-term goals measures your progress more frequently making you feel a sense of accomplishment. The long-term goal is the prize.
Write Down Your Short-Term Goals
Make losing 1-2 pounds a week your short-term goal. Don’t focus on the total you want to lose; it’s too big and too far out, making discouragement set in. A pound of fat is made up of 3,500 calories. So, trying to lose more than a couple pounds each week isn’t doable without extremely cutting back on calories.
Steer clear of consuming too little calories. It not only is too difficult to maintain and leads to binging, but it can reset your metabolism at a lower level, making it progressively difficult to lose weight.
Goals take time. Your goals need a plan of action.
Start a Daily Accountability Log
Keep a food and activity journal to track your daily intake and exercise.
There are lots of online tools for monitoring your diet and fitness that makes it easy to record your progress.
*Whether you like to track every little thing or keep a simple record, it’s essential to make an effort so that you can look at and analyze how you’re doing and then make changes if you don’t see the progress you want.
Use the following healthy guidelines for meal prep:
- Eat at least four to six servings of vegetables and fruit.
- Focus on eating nutrient-dense, low-calorie dense foods.
- Cut way back high-sugar foods and saturated fats.
- Reduce your sodium intake.
- Cut or reduce alcohol consumption to two drinks a week.
- Weight loss is more effective if you stop eating 3 hours before bedtime.
- Eat lean protein (protein makes you feel full longer)
Schedule Your Exercise Time
Write your exercise time in on a physical calendar you can hang nearby to remind yourself and to stay committed.
If you’ve battled your weight most of your life, exercise may not be the first on your list of favorite things to do, but the benefits are awesome.
If you can find an activity you enjoy, a negative mindset toward exercise will become a positive one. You’ll see exercise as a reward instead of a punishment.
Exercises boost the feel-good chemical in the brain called endorphins.
You’ll reach your goal weight faster and have more success in maintaining your weight if you exercise (because by then it will be a habit).
Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day can increase your caloric deficit by 200-300 calories, depending on the type of workout you do. In a week, that adds up to about half a pound of fat! Daily exercising allows you to eat more calories than someone who doesn’t exercise, too.
Exercise boosts mood and improves self-esteem, both integral for helping you stay on track. You’ll also be less vulnerable to emotional eating because exercise reduces stress.
Commit to Some Easy Changes
Maybe you are willing to commit to adding 30 minutes of exercise 4 times a week and swapping out sugary soda for water as ways of staying within your daily caloric limit. Strategize some maneuvers you can make that feel doable and write them down.
There are effective workouts that are free if you have cable or access to YouTube that are as short as 10 minutes so that you can fit in exercises anytime, anywhere.
Make a Buddy System
Line up friends or a family member, you can talk to when emotional eating is difficult to ignore, or you need an exercise partner or any other obstacle that is hindering your progress. Talking about your weight loss efforts reinforces your commitment, too.
Make a List of Activities that Help You Reduce Stress
Write down what works for you, such as exercising, reading, or meditating. When you feel stress eating coming on, try an activity instead. If you are stressing about your weight and health, there is someone you can talk to about your options to get your health back.