Losing weight is one of the most popular resolutions, but only a few accomplish it. In the ocean of diets, weight-loss programs, and scams that promise quick and easy weight losses, it is even hard to find the right way to begin your journey. The hardest part comes after you eventually decide on your plan-how to stick to it. Successful, long-term weight loss requires permanent changes in your lifestyle and health habits. From the moment you decide to make a change until achieving your goal, there are going to be many ups and downs. To help you get over the mental and physical obstacles you will find on the way to success, here’s a list of essential tips to focus on during your weight loss journey.
Make sure you are ready for it
Long-term weight loss is not a sprint, it is more of a marathon. It takes time and effort and a long-term commitment. Before you start with any of it, make sure you are ready to make permanent changes to eating and activity habits. Think about whether you will have the time and support needed for this. You might want to talk to your doctor too if you need help with coping with stress and emotions that might act as obstacles to your readiness.
Find your motivation
Whether it’s for an upcoming vacation or better overall health, address the main reasons behind deciding to go on a weight-loss journey and make a list of these factors. Try to read through them regularly and use them as a reminder, especially when tempted to stray from your weight loss plan. You can also post it on your computer or stick it on a refrigerator or the working desk. You can even set it as a daily reminder on your smartphone. It is only important to always remember why you started.
Set realistic goals
Everybody thinks they know what is realistic when it comes to weight loss until they start seriously thinking and reading about it. Generally speaking, to lose 0 to 0.5kg a week, you need to burn between 500 and 1,000 calories more than you consume each day through a lower calorie diet and regular physical activity. The most important thing here is thinking about both process and outcome-what do you have to do to cut this much weight and deciding if that is something you are willing to do or not.
Stay physically active
In addition to the calorie deficit, physical activity contributes greatly to your long term weight loss. Exercising doesn’t only cut calories, it also makes you feel better. It is important to find an exercise you enjoy, so it can easily become part of your routine. Whether it is swimming, running, getting a gym membership, or even dog walking, any extra movement counts. Regardless of what physical activity you include in your new routine, you will need all the fitness info you can get on where to start, the equipment you might need, and eventual supplements to add to your diet. Researching these subjects puts you in the mood for working out even before you start.
Start enjoying healthy food
Adopting a different eating style that promotes long term weight loss includes lowering your total calorie intake. But it doesn’t mean giving up the taste of the food you will be eating or even easing the meal preparation. Using healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocados, nuts, nut butter, lean meat, fish, and plenty of vegetables for your meal preparation gives you endless possibilities for always making something different and adapting to your taste. In the end, It usually ends up being fun in addition to being healthy and tasty.
Include ‘cheat meals’ and gym breaks
Whatever you do in your life, it’s not normal to constantly be on it and feel motivated all the time. It is crucial to give yourself a break sometimes, so you can sustain that motivation. Having one cheat meal in one or two weeks allows us to celebrate our success and remind ourselves that nobody is perfect, nor they should be. Having at least two days of rest in a week, without hard physical activity gives you a renewed energy to move on towards your goal. Not only that our body needs it, but our mind also needs it, maybe even more. So think of it as a well-deserved mini motivational-booster.
As anyone who ever tried it knows, setting a weight-loss goal is easy to do, but following through on it is a whole different story. It is not even a matter of whether your motivation will be down, but when. Sticking to these tips will hopefully help you always keep your head in the game.
Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.
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