When it comes to weight loss goals, one thing I’ll say is that you should personalise your weight-loss plan to suit your goals, this is because no two individuals are the same. Find a plan that’s right for you, you alone have to live with the eating plan, so it’s important that you play a role in creating it.
Another thing I’ll say is that there’s no magic diet, no quick fix, and no particular food should be either demonised or made more important. Following a restrictive diet can limit your nutritional intake and make you even more hungry. The best diet to follow is the one that’s best for you. Think of it as a lifestyle change, if you approach it with the “going on a diet” mindset, then you’ll most likely go off it sooner. Look at it as a life long eating plan, and your meals should consist of foods that you like, just make sure they’re good quality whole foods, foods that are affordable and available to you.
One last thing, prioritise your nutritional adequacy. What does this mean? It means putting yourself first. What it actually means is that you start to include nutrient-dense foods to your diet.
Here are 9 tips to get you started on your weight loss journey
- Love Your Body
A friend of mine put a quote by Will Cole on her Facebook a few days ago, it says “You cannot heal a body you hate.” This is true. For you to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, you must learn to first love and accept your body as it is right now, because it has brought you thus far – to the point where you love it enough to want to make some changes. This love and acceptance is what inspires and energises you when embarking on a weight loss journey.
“I love myself, and I will take good care of myself.”
- Practice Mindful Eating
Instead of unconsciously gulping your food down without savouring the taste, flavour, and then going for second helpings, try paying attention to why you’re eating: are you eating because you’re bored, lonely, angry, stressed? Be mindful of what you’re eating: is it healthy or nutrient-dense? Pay attention to the taste, the flavour of the food you’re eating. Notice how you feel before, during and after eating.
For more on mindful eating, I recommend reading “Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life” by Thich Nhat Hanh & Dr Lilian Cheung.
- Reduce Your Alcohol Intake
I know this is a tricky one as some of us like to enjoy a few glasses when out socializing with friends. Don’t get me wrong, alcohol (e.g. red wine) has been found to have some health benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease. But, and this is a big but, alcohol slows down your metabolism because it affects how your body digests and absorbs nutrients from the food you eat, making it really difficult to lose weight and can quickly lead to weight/fat gain, especially around your abdominal area. I’m not saying to completely cut out alcohol from your diet, rather cut back on how much and how often.
- Prep Your Meal In Advance
Ok, you’ve made the decision to go on a weight loss journey, and you’re committed to doing what it takes to achieve your goal, but life gets in the way. You’re busy with work and looking after your family and other life commitments. Cooking a healthy meal becomes the last thing on your mind because you’re too tired to even think. Preparing your meals a week in advance can help you overcome this hurdle. Set aside one day in the week to plan, cook and package your meals into individual portions to do you for the week. You can choose to either refrigerate or freeze them for freshness. This means you’ll have access to healthy meal options throughout the week, saving you time and hassle.
- Eat Protein At Every Meal
The body digests protein at a slower rate than it does carbohydrates, making you feel full for longer. Protein boosts your metabolism, leading to weight loss. Protein should make up between 20% to 35% of your daily calories. Get your protein from sources such as poultry, fish, eggs, dairy foods, or many soybean products, Warning: eating too much protein strains your kidneys, and too much of it can also be stored as body fat.
- Catch Up On Some Sleep
You’re eating healthy, you’re active, you’re doing all the right things to lose weight, but are you getting enough sleep? According to the National Institute of Health, lack of sleep can lead to weight gain and obesity. You should aim to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night.
- Drink More Water
I know, I know, drinking water will not automatically cause you to lose weight BUT, drinking water instead of consuming high-calorie sugary beverages will help in reducing your overall calorie intake which can lead to weight loss. So, drink water. And lots of it!
- Be More Active
This one is a no brainer, really, as the body is designed to move. Taking up some exercise 3 to 5 days a week can help you lose weight. Doing 30 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) increases your metabolism. Lifting weights is a great way to burn calories. According to exercise psychologist R. Cotton, M.A, weight training increases your resting metabolic rate – this is the number of calories you burn when your body is resting, in other words, when you’re doing absolutely nada. Weight training has been shown to boost your metabolism, boost weight loss, improve cholesterol and increase bone density, and a host of other benefits. Get moving!
- Manage Your Stress
Stress has been found to release cortisol hormone which stimulates appetite and slows down your metabolism. It can also increase the storage of abdominal fat. Take time to rest and recover, find an activity that helps you to relax.
“You’re a fighter. Look at everything you’ve overcome. Don’t give up now.” – Olivia Benson
These are just a few tips. Remember that losing all the weight that took years to gain requires a long term lifestyle change, patience, preparation, discipline and consistency. And also, making sure you establish good healthy habits from the very start will play a part in helping you achieve your goals. This may be hard at first, but once those habits are well established, it gets easier and becomes second nature.
What are your limiting factors when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off?
Thanks a bunch for reading!