One of the questions I get most frequently is “how do I lose weight?” The short answer is eat less, exercise more, be consistent, repeat. It sounds simple, but for something so simple why is it such a struggle?
A woman DM’d me on Instagram the other day explaining her situation: she tries a low carb diet for a few days, she sticks to it, she falls off the wagon, she overeats, gains back the weight she lost, and then starts over again.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Can you relate?
I used to do this all the time! I can’t tell you how many times I went on the JJ Virgin eliminate 7 foods diet. I would white-knuckle my way through 6 days of it, and on the 7th day, I rested (really I ate my face off– we’ll just call it a diet rest).
So why do we do this? Why do we put ourselves on super restrictive plans that are hard to stick to only to NOT stick to them?
It’s because of what we are thinking about them (did you really think I’d have any other answer?). It’s in our brains! It’s all what’s in our heads! BUT, there is a reason. AND, it’s because we see images that are compelling- before and after shots that make us think that everyone can drop 3 sizes in 3 weeks, too.
Here’s the thing– you can, but do you want to lose weight at a break-neck pace that is unsustainable, only to gain weight back. Or, do you want to lose weight in a way that gets you to a goal you maintain– it’s your choice.
So lets just say you’re interested in losing weight in a sustainable way that gets you to your goal- congrats! It’s a lot more fun this way! Welcome to my club! I’m going to tell you my top tips you need to do to lose weight.
- Write Down Your Food.The first thing you need to do is to be aware of what you are putting in your mouth. You need to write it down. Write down your food in a journal, log it in an app, but write it down somewhere you can track it and reference it in the future. I use My Fitness Pal to track my food because it has a great database of food selections at restaurants and a scanning function, which makes adding new food easy.
- Establish a baseline. Whether you’ve decided to use an app or not, you have to know where you are starting. If you’ve been inconsistent for a period of time, the best gift you can give yourself is to establish a baseline by tracking. If you’ve been using an app and counting calories but haven’t been tracking on your “off days” then look at your data for an entire week. Give yourself an entire week of just tracking it all. If your weight has gone up, you know that your weekly consumption is high, if your weight has gone down, you know your weekly consumption is in a deficit.
- Measure Yourself. Weigh yourself, take measurements and photos when you start and after two weeks. If scale weight is triggering for you then use measurements and photographs. I have my clients weigh every day because I teach them how to manage their thoughts around the scale, and then they can see very quickly if they are on a protocol that’s working for them or not.
- Do not let fluctuations determine your behavior. This is huge! Have you ever been doing all the right things, but one day your weight goes up? Then you THINK “I’ll never get this right!” or “I’m a failure!” Or something worse!!!!???? Daily weight fluctuations happen because you are human! Look at progress over a couple weeks before you make any changes (and no freaking out)!
- Evaluate After two weeks evaluate your progress. If you haven’t made progress, then go back and look at your food journal. Have you been eating larger portions? If you’re unsure of portion sizes then it can be helpful to weigh or measure food so you have an idea of what a serving of peanut butter really is versus what we think a serving of peanut butter should be. If you are overeating you will need to eat less or exercise more or both.
- Be Consistent. We all get lured into the shiny-object-syndrome of juice cleanses, slashing carbs to zero, or other things that we think will get results. What if we thought about the sustainable approach in the same way. What if you thought “losing weight in a sustainable way will get me sustainable results.” Guess what? It will. But you have to be consistent, and be willing to commit, which is why making sustainable changes is the best plan.
If you would like to know more about How to Lose Weight, and take this work to the next level, click here to schedule a solution session with me.
If you are interested in following along with me on my own weight loss journey, you can follow me on Instagram @wendylost80