With the introduction of a new year comes good intentions of weight loss and physique improvement. You might have done the same last year, maybe even the year before, but this year will be different. This new year you will do it.
In this article we’ll break down exactly what you need to do to not only lose weight but keep it off too. It’s a look at the background structure of successful weight loss programming and how to properly integrate diet, exercise and lifestyle into your daily routine to achieve maximum results.
If you’re determined to make this year count and meet your weight loss goals head on then follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to the best physique you’ve ever had.
#1. Record Your Goals
Writing down what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it by is a good way of structuring your progress and tracking how far you’ve come. It also allows you to think objectively and without distraction about what, why and when you want to achieve your goal.
Committing to writing your targets down makes it feel more like a contract. It also means it’s harder for you to talk yourself out of it. Make sure you show it to friends and keep it where you are reminded of it – on your fridge, at the side of your bed or maybe on your work desk. This way you own up to the responsibilities and make your agreement more formal.
A big decisive factor in weight loss success is accountability. Once you’ve got that, you’re well on your way.
#2. Set a Plan
Having structure helps to keep to your schedule watertight. Start by analysing your week – when is the best time to go to the gym? Which evening of the week might be best to prepare meals for the upcoming few days? Being organised if half of the battle.
Again, by committing your plan to paper you are agreeing with yourself a structured regime. You’re much more likely to exercise if you know in advance that it’s one of your gym days. Deciding on the day often leads to missed sessions.
Keeping your gym gear in the car and a few healthy snacks in your work desk will help to keep you on track and limit the excuses that you might make for yourself. Planning for all eventualities ultimately makes or breaks a weight loss plan.
Additionally, don’t set too many goals all in one go. Prioritizing what you want to achieve will let you focus on the more important target first. Channeling your energy into one goal at a time will soon have you making light work of it – and once you’ve achieved what you wanted to, you can move on to the next one with ease and confidence.
#3. Avoid Catastrophic Thinking
So you’ve got a plan and you’re bursting with motivation. You know that this time will be different and nothing will stop you. But after a few weeks, temptation get the better of you, you miss a gym session or two and have that bar of chocolate that’s been on your mind for the last few days.
Whilst it’s not perfect, it’s not the end of the world. The important thing here is that you get back on track straight away. Catastrophic thinking would be for you to say ‘well I’ve ruined my diet with this small bar of chocolate now so I might as well have another bar of chocolate, these cookies and that bottle of wine too’.
Having the odd treat here and there or letting temptation get the better of you won’t make that much of a difference in the long run – as long as you learn how to get back onto your plan as soon as possible. Catastrophic thinking will just lead to a downward spiral and ultimately be your cause of ruin.
#4. Have a Clear Out
Removing temptations will be a big step forward on your route towards successful weight loss. Set a date, and on that date go into your kitchen and take out all of the foods that are unhealthy – this includes, cakes, sweets, cookies, sodas, and anything else that doesn’t support a healthy and nutritious diet. Give them to family, give them to charity or give to the needy – but take them out of your house.
Removing these foods will decrease the chance of you having a ‘weak’ moment and allow you to focus your attention on foods that will fuel your new exercise and lifestyle. This refreshing tip will help you prepare for the upcoming weeks of clean eating and change of thought process.
#4. Don’t Change Too Much, Too Soon
One big error that new year’s dieters make is to have a full on lifestyle overhaul overnight. Good intentions means you’ll probably want to go from being inactive to a regular exerciser, and a poor diet to a nutritious and low-calorie food plan straight away. But don’t.
Whilst that’s where you want to be eventually, changing too much too soon is a shock to your body. To be successful you need to build habits – and that takes time. Changing everything in one go drastically reduces the chances of success.
Start your new year off by swapping your junk foods for healthier options. Don’t go all out with exercise at this point just yet though – instead add gradual and moderate activities into your week such as walking or body weight training. At this stage you just want physical activity to compliment your dietary changes.
After a couple of weeks, make your diet even tighter – start to track your overall calories and be harsher with food choices. Join a gym and start to train 2-3 times per week. Don’t worry too much about what you do there, just get out of breath and challenge your body with weight training. If you’re unsure about what you’re doing then book a gym induction for a professional to give you guidance.
#5. Reward Yourself
Constant energy deficit is tough. It can be challenging both mentally and physically and no matter whether you gradually adjust your diet or not, there’ll be times when you just need a break from it.
No matter what the pro’s say about ‘cheat days’ you don’t want to reward yourself too much at this stage. Having full days where you eat whatever you want can very quickly ruin the work you put in for the previous few days.
Instead, have a reward meal once a week, or instead plan in a short time period every two weeks where you can eat whatever you want – 30 minutes or around that figure is a good time frame to work with. Set a timer and once it’s up, go back to eating healthy again until the next time. You’ll plan this in advance, and as such feel less guilty about it.
#6. Get a Starter Selfie
As much as you might not want to look at it, start your journey by taking a full-length photo of yourself with minimal clothing – one from the front and another from the side.
You don’t need an expensive camera to do it, but what you do need to do is make sure that you’ve got good lighting and that you stand naturally. Don’t breath in, don’t tense your muscles just allow the camera to record exactly how you are right now.
Now, don’t look at the photo for at least the first month and when that date comes around, take another photo in the same conditions – same room, same lighting. Compare the pictures and evaluate how successful you’ve been by analyzing the differences between the two. Remember, weighing scales don’t tell you the whole picture.
#7. Respect Your Starting Point
Being truthful to your current fitness levels and starting point will allow you to effectively plan your training. Giving yourself a training plan that’s too easy will lead to minimal progress – planning a program that’s too difficult will only lead to burnout and injury – just because you could do it five years ago doesn’t mean you can do it now.
You need to undertake exercise that overloads your body – it needs to be tough but manageable. This will improve not only your motivation, but how your body reacts to exercise as well. Going from zero to one hundred in the space of a week is a sure fire recipe for failure.
Get it right though, and your body will thank you by dropping fat much quicker.
#8. Don’t be Sedentary
This one might seem obvious but it’s one of the easiest, simplest ways to start your weight loss journey is to boost the amount of unstructured physical activity you undertake on a daily basis. Analyse how much time you spend sitting – TV, gaming, surfing the net and so on.
Aim to reduce sedentary time by a hour for the first week by going for a walk or doing a bit of tidying up in the house. Whilst this might not burn a lot of calories minute by minute, added up over the course of a week will make a big difference.
After a couple of weeks take a bit longer from your sedentary activities and add more activity. Within a few weeks you’ll have completely shifted your lifestyle without even making an effort.
Summary – Losing Weight and Keeping it off This New Year
If you’re looking to lose weight and keep it off this new year then this guide will jump start your journey.
With the start of the new year comes good intentions and bags full of motivation. You know that this is the year and you want to lose weight and feel better about yourself. But positive thinking will only take you so far. Having a clear plan about not only how to achieve your goals, but what and when you want to achieve them by make all the difference.
Follow these useful hints and tips and you’ll be a much stronger position to reap the rewards.
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