How to start a weight loss journey — and stick with it

Trying to lose the "quarantine 15"? A nutritionist has five tips to make the process easier.
Couple  Eating Lunch with Fresh Salad and Appetizers
Don’t attempt to make changes that you know won’t match your lifestyle and preferences. Getty Images

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By Keri Glassman, R.D.

Ask your friends and family what their goals are for the summer and I’m sure you will hear a lot of this: “I am going to eat healthier,” “I’m going to eat more vegetables,” “I’m going to lose the quarantine 15.”

It's probably not the first time they've had those goals and, after many attempts at dieting, you’d think it would be easier to get started. In reality, though, the contrary is usually true. Beginning a weight-loss journey, especially when you’ve had multiple failures in the past, can be overwhelming — and even flat-out daunting, but it can be done!

How to start losing weight — even if you've tried before

Here are five tips to help get you eat better this summer and beyond:

1. Look into your past

Most of us have a diet history. We know what works and doesn’t work. Perhaps you jumped on the keto bandwagon in 2019 only to fall off hard. Because, well, you just l-o-v-e your sourdough. You know if you’re a carbs-in-the-morning or a skip-breakfast-altogether person. Don’t attempt to make changes that you know won’t match your lifestyle and preferences. Be realistic about who you are.

In other words, if breakfast is your favorite meal of the day and you know you overeat later in the day when you skip it, intermittent fasting probably isn’t the best way to go for you.

If an afternoon snack is what you need to get you through your evening workout, then trying to stop all snacking isn’t the best route to take. Instead, come up with three or four healthy on-the-go snacks you can put into rotation.

2. Don’t give yourself a deadline

It’s the journey that counts right? I’m all for goals, but when you give yourself a specific date to reach a goal, it often sets you up to fail for a couple of reasons.

One, if you don’t see progress being made fast enough, you may say, “Scrap this plan!” — even though you’ve actually made excellent progress.

Second, the stress of the date may work against you. Setting a deadline may only put extra pressure on you and cause your stress hormones to actually start working against you and your weight-loss goal. Instead, stay calm and healthy on.

Enjoy the life that you’re living and enjoy being in the best health and at the the best weight you can be, even if that means being off a certain weight goal by a couple of pounds. Remember patience and consistency are key, and enjoy the process of reaching better health each day.

3. Think about your sleep habits and stress levels

It’s not all about the food. Even if you're focused and eating “perfectly,” other lifestyle factors may be working against you. Sleep and stress are two pillars of a nutritious life that I discuss regularly.

The good part is that if you’re not managing these well, making a few necessary changes can show up on the scale. Create a new sleep routine and stick to it. It’s just as important as diet!

Look for a daily activity to reduce stress.

4. Work on one change at a time

Think about a not-so-great habit you have, that you do daily. Is it adding sugar to your coffee? Going for afternoon chocolate as a pick me up? Whatever it is, change it up with a new healthier alternative. You don’t necessarily need to start pounding healthy wellness shots that have become quite the rage, sometimes, the smallest changes make the biggest impact.

A change as simple as swapping out the syrup from a daily coffee saves you 80 calories, and 20 grams of sugar, each and every day!

Since it is only one change, it won’t be so overwhelming to adjust, and since it is something you do daily, that one improvement may have a great impact.

5. Reward yourself

Be good to you! Celebrate small goals with small rewards — and they don't have to involve food. Skipped soda all week? Feel good about that and reward yourself with a manicure.

Sometimes these rewards are enough to push us forward and up the motivation.

For more tips on how to live a nutritious life, follow Keri on Instagram @nutritiouslifeofficial