Achieving your weight loss objectives can feel like an uphill battle, with obstacles at every turn.
However, if your previous efforts to lose weight have been unsuccessful, the following 14 steps can help you get back on track and achieve lasting weight loss.
1. It’s not just a ‘diet’, it’s a lifestyle change
Over-restricting yourself for a short time will give you results fast, but those results will prove to be only temporary. Instead, make small changes to your lifestyle that you can keep for good and see your weight go down and stay down.
2. Set realistic goals for yourself
Start with a small goal, like, “I want to drop 1 pant size by summer.” When you get there, pat yourself on the back, reevaluate, and take on a new goal.
3. Track your progress
We don’t all lose weight in the same way, so you might not see progress in the mirror right away. Measure your body in specific locations regularly and record the results. This will let you track the quantitative progress you may not see on the scale.
4. Make changes to your environment
It’ll be tough to maintain your new, healthier lifestyle if nothing in your environment has changed. Stock your cupboards with healthy food items only, so that you have to make a special trip out for a treat. Pay attention to your “trouble times” and make adjustments to your routine, like go for an after-dinner walk when you’d normally head for dessert.
5. Find a weight loss buddy
Enlist the help of a friend or family member in your weight loss journey. Having a cheerleader to keep you focused and motivated can have a huge impact on your success.
6. Focus on your food
Avoid mindless eating by sitting down to meals at the table. Food is meant to be enjoyed, so enjoy it! Take small bites, chew slowly, and think about the food you’re eating. This will help to prevent you from the mindless eating that can put on extra pounds.
7. Find a fitness activity you love
Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. Make exercise enjoyable by finding fun ways to stay active. Go for a hike, join a sports team, or take up surfing. You’ll be amazed at how many calories you can burn when you’re having fun!
8. Surround yourself with fitness oriented people
It will be much easier to stay on track when you surround yourself with others who share your healthy outlook. You’ll be able to share struggles, motivate each other, and help keep each other accountable.
9. Immerse yourself in the health and fitness world
Learn more about healthy living by reading fitness magazines, online health articles, and healthy lifestyle blogs. By saturating yourself with healthy material, you’ll find it much easier to keep your mind focused on your goals.
10. Eat more fruits and vegetables
One of the biggest complaints of those starting to adopt a healthy lifestyle is that they always feel hungry because they feel like they have to cut back on how much they eat. This just isn’t true. Fill up on foods that will keep you full all day long AND won’t pack on the pounds, like foods high in fiber—fruit, and vegetables.
11. Plan for everything
We’ve all been there. You set out to run some errands and before you know it you’re famished. This is when the quick and easy drive-thru line is the most tempting. Avoid unhealthy binging by planning for bouts of hunger and keeping a high-protein snack on hand to get you by.
12. Don’t let mistakes derail your efforts
We all fall off the wagon every now and then. When your “cheat night” turns into a “cheat weekend”, don’t despair. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get right back on the track toward your weight loss goals.
13. Reward yourself
Each time you reach a new goal, reward yourself with something you’ve wanted, like a new outfit to show off your trimmer physique. You deserve it!
14. Get your 8 hours of sleep
Your body needs sleep in order to function properly and blast fat away.
Research suggests that insufficient and poor-quality sleep slows down the process in which the body converts calories to energy, called metabolism. When metabolism is less effective, the body may store unused energy as fat. In addition, poor sleep can increase the production of insulin and cortisol, which also prompt fat storage.
How long and how deep someone sleeps also affects the regulation of the appetite-controlling hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin sends signals of fullness to the brain while ghrelin tells your brain you’re hungry.
Without a properly functioning leptin and ghrelin, you’re constantly hungry and nothing you eat will ever make you full – double whammy.
Be sure to get plenty of sleep each night to allow your body to perform to its maximum potential.