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Ask a crowd to raise a hand if they’ve ever tried to lose weight and you're going to see a whole lot of arms waving. After all of these attempts at dieting, you’d think that would make it easier to get started. In reality, 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. Here are five tips to help get you on your way.
1. Look into your past.
Most of us have a diet history. We know what works and doesn’t work. We know if we’re a carbs-in-the-morning or a skip-breakfast-all-together person. Don’t attempt to make changes that you know won’t match your lifestyle and preferences.
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 way to go for you.
If an afternoon snack is what you need to get you through your evening workout, then trying to take out snacking isn’t the best route. Be realistic. 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. Having a deadline may only put extra pressure on yourself 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 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.
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.
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!
5. Reward yourself.
Be good to you! Celebrate small goals with small rewards. 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.