Discovering the most effective approach to losing weight and getting in shape depends on your unique body and lifestyle.
A weight loss strategy that works well for one person may not be as effective for another.
Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to your body’s responses and choose a plan that feels appropriate for you.
If you’re feeling energized and observing positive changes, then you’re on the right path.
Here are six suggestions to help you get started.
1. Be consistent
You can spend all the time in the world finding the “perfect” meal plan and fitness routine, but if you can’t maintain it, you won’t see the results you want.
Finding a weight-loss plan is only part of the puzzle; the rest is al about consistency!
Once you decide on a plan, stay consistent to reach your goals.
Don’t diet for three days out of the week and binge on the weekends.
Similarly, it doesn’t do any good to go to the gym every day for a month and then quit.
Think slow but steady, and make changes only when you can stick with them long-term.
2. Keep track of what you eat
To stay on top of your progress and to maintain a healthy weight, it’s important to eat right. You not only have to look at what you’re eating, but also how much you’re eating.
Once you begin tracking what you eat, it’s easier to see where your calories come from.
It’s hard to lie to yourself about what you’re eating when you have the facts in front of you.
Once you start tracking your meals, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to overeat. A couple of unplanned snacks added to your meal plan here and there, or a sweet treat because your co-worker was in a baking mood, can actually make a big dent in your progress.
It’s also important to pay attention to serving sizes. Snacks, salad add-ons, sauces, and even coffee creamers are loaded with calories!
Their serving sizes are usually smaller than you would guess. If you eyeball a serving, you may end up unknowingly consuming hundreds of extra calories. Not good!
3. Stay active
Aside from being beneficial to weight loss, exercise also helps conserve your cardiac health, improve your mobility, increase strength, and even reduces stress.
Whether you’re active in the gym, chasing your kids, or cleaning the house, make sure you take some time to move around.
If your main goal is to lose weight, it’s important to choose a program that incorporates both strength training and cardio.
Strength training builds lean muscle mass, which raises your metabolism. Meanwhile, cardio is the best fat-burner and energy-booster around!
4. Have a strategy
When it comes to maintaining your weight, you must have a strategy. Without one, you can easily lose focus and it will take longer to reach your goals.
Much like diet and exercise, you have to find the strategy that works best for you.
For some people, having cheat meals once a week is a vital part of their healthy lifestyle. Without this cheat meal, they might not be able to stick to a clean-eating diet. For others, cheat meals can lead to binges. So you’ll need to find the strategy that works for you.
You may want to experiment with different workouts, too, to find the approach that you enjoy most. Try yoga, Zumba, weight lifting, running, or kickboxing!
Try working out at different times of the day as well. Many people find they enjoy morning workouts once they give them a chance. I know I do!
As we said above, consistency is a major factor. Find the strategy that works for you and stick to it. Above all, keep the end result in mind to stay motivated!
5. Get the sleep you need
Numerous studies have shown that getting less than 5–6 hours of sleep per night is associated with increased incidence of obesity. There are several reasons behind this.
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.
So, sleep more and sleep well.
6. Never stop improving
What worked for you at one point may not work for you today. As your body changes, you may need to adjust your methods.
We already know that consistency is a key factor to long term success, but what is consistency without education?
You can be 100% consistent with your weight loss plan, but if what you’re doing isn’t working for you anymore, you must switch it up!