That was the hardest part for me, GET STARTED LOSING WEIGHT! Sounds easy, but I am here to be the first to tell you it is not! Yes, there are the basics, calories in versus calories out. Working out is important, the types of food you eat are important, goal setting is important, but the one thing that most people miss is the mindset.
Your mindset, or the way that you think about things is going to be the first thing that is going to make or break your dieting success.
This guide contains 5 core concepts that you need to learn and an action plan to get you started on your weight loss journey.
CONCEPT 1: UNLOCK YOUR INTERNAL MOTIVATION
What is internal motivation? The thing that is deep down inside of you that makes you want to change your current health and body. It is not just wanting to look good or wanting to feel good…. There is something, probably more than one, that are driving this desire for change.
You need to dissect your thoughts and feelings to discover this. This is going to be your true reason and you are going to embrace it.
I put together a quick video that walks you through an exercise to do just this
CONCEPT 2: INTAKE FEWER CALORIES
Naturally this is the basic starting point for losing weight. You simply have to reduce the number of calories you intake everyday. For most people this is the hardest part, however it is also the most controllable aspect of weight loss. There are two ways to accomplish this:
1.) Reduce your portion size. If you want cut calories then cut the amount of food you eat. You need to shrink your stomach, so that you physically will eat less. Also you need to shrink your brain into realizing how much less food your body actually needs. Here are some tactics to help:
- Measure out your food on your plate. Use these guidelines: 35% vegetable 30% protein 25% starch 10% free. Portion control is forced on you and you know the exact caloric content.
- Put 20% less food on your plate or eat with a smaller plate.
- Un-dish up 20% of your food by scrapping it off the plate before youbegin eating.
- When eating at a restaurant, split a meal or put 20% on a side plate andhave it boxed up to go.
Eat better foods. Reducing calories doesn’t necessarily mean you have to starve yourself. You can eat more quantity of food if you eat better quality foods. You reduce certain foods and replace them more nutritionally efficient ones. We recommend a lower-carbohydrate & higher protein diet.
2.) Reduce: breads, pasta, noodles, rice and potatoes. Use whole wheat whenever possible.
Add: lean meats such as skinless chicken breast, fish, lean steak, ground sirloin or pork tenderloin and fish.
Add: vegetables like broccoli, carrots, spinach, asparagus, green beans, cucumbers, peppers, onions, mushrooms etc. Greener the better.
Corn is better than rice or pasta as a side dish, but it does contain significantly more calories than most other vegetables. Watch out for fruits as well. While they are healthy, they can be high in calories due to their natural sugars.
Also reduce or avoid cheeses. Even though they are higher in protein, they tend to contain a lot of calories. The same is true with nuts. They are better than eating potato chips or other salty snacks, but a small quantity of nuts can deliver numerous calories.
As a rule of thumb, stick to natural foods. Avoid foods that have been processed or contain refined ingredients such as sugars, flours or glutens. When having bread or pasta stick with whole wheat. This is good advice regardless of your weight. Most commercial food is designed for taste, not digestive health or good nutrition.
CONCEPT 3: CALORIC DEFICIET & THE SCOREBOARD
It’s simple math. You have to burn more calories than you consume, so think of a scoreboard with one score being your intake and the other score being your burn. The clock runs out at the end of the day. Who won? Hate keeping track? Well, tough. If you are serious about doing this than you have to track your calories. This achieves three goals:
- You understand the caloric and nutritional composition of the foods you eat
- You understand the caloric impact of exercise and physical activity
- Accountability. When you track something, results usually follow.
Here is a simple score card that you can use to keep track:
Whoops, it looks like you forgot to assign fields to this form.
Write down, journal or log everything you eat. If you don’t know the caloric value of a food, look it up. Most have nutritional info on the package, but nevertheless the info is usually only a few clicks away on the Internet. Overtime you will get very familiar with the caloric value of foods. Here are a few helpful tactics to succeed:
- Pre-plan your meals. Don’t wait until you are hungry or you are in the drive thru to figure out what you are going to eat. Pack your lunch and make dinner plans in advance. Going with whatever you are in the mood for is a recipe for disaster.
- When dinning out, most restaurants have nutritional info on their website (see our blog Hungry and in a Hurry). Before getting to the restaurant, view the menu and nutritional info online so you can make a wise decision ahead of time.
- Keep track of your calories as you go. Put a notecard in your pocket and jot down everything you eat. Even if you don’t know the caloric value, write down the food. You can always go back and look up the nutritional info at the end of the day.
- Use an app on your smart device. A favorite is My Fitness Pal
- Plan an afternoon snack. I call this a 3:00 Feeding. Noon to 6 o’clock is too long of a stretch during the day to go without eating. So allocate a couple of hundred calories from lunch and dinner to an afternoon, high protein snack.
- Try to eat at the same time of day as often as possible. Keeps you disciplined and your body in rhythm.
CONCEPT 4: BURN MORE CALORIES
While how much you eat, drives 80% of your weight loss, physical activity gets your body to burn more calories. You don’t have to train for a triathlon, become a gym rat or be in shape to exercise. The key is to start doing some sort of activity that will increase your physical activity and therefore increase your metabolism. Since most people don’t know where to start, they simply never start. Here are some tactics to get you burning more calories:
- Set aside dedicated time. If it’s not schedule, it will be easy to skip. See our blog about exercising in the morning
- Do a basic activity first like going for a walk. Then walk faster or farther.
- Try jogging for a short distance about 100 yards or a few blocks. Walk andrepeat. Or jog for a short time like 2 minutes and then walk.
- High knee walk in place if you can’t get outside or on a treadmill.
- Do push ups. Do sit ups. Then do a circuit of a few push ups and a few sit upsand mixed it in with high knee walking. Be creative.
- Walk up and down a flight of stairs.
- Lift a moderately heavy object like a box, milk jug filled with water or alaundry detergent container up from the floor to the ceiling.Start where you are and gradually get better. Do not overdo it when you first start as you don’t want to strain yourself to where you are so sore and stiff that you can’t workout tomorrow. Figuratively speaking, this is a marathon, not a sprint. You cannot get in shape with one day of exercise. Push yourself for gradual improvement. Check out The Get Started Losing Weight Program (it will help you with all of this)If you are the un-athletic type or the type that absolutely hates to exercise and sweat, then burn additional calories by doing other stuff. Cleaning and vacuuming is a great activity. Paint a room from ceiling to trim. Go for a walk. Just get off your ass and start moving!
CONCEPT 5: WIN ONE DAY AT A TIME
Addicts use this mental technique to stay clean and sober. Well you are addicted to bad habits that have lead you to being overweight, so you need to adjust your thinking in order to change your physical body. Being overweight is a mental choice you are making. The good news is that you are in control and therefore you can change it. Here are two thoughts to help you:
- Win one meal at a time. You can’t un-eat what you ate last night, but you do control your next meal. You decide if the next meal is going to further your weight loss goal or not. Just win with your next meal.
- Win the next physical activity. It’s your decision to sleep an hour later in the morning. It’s your decision to sit on the couch and watch TV after dinner, but it’s also your decision to get up early and do an exercise routine. Everyone only has 24 hours in a day, so prioritize what is important to you.
You will not win every meal or activity. While you need to hate losing, you also have to accept it and learn from it. Don’t feel guilty or that its hopeless, just win at the next opportunity. Great championship teams or super athletes do not win every game or match. You have to win significantly more than you lose, but don’t let yesterday’s failure derail today.
Winning habits that replace losing habits will take a period of forced adjustment, so it will not feel easy or normal at first. Winning is hard, that’s why there are losers. You have to have the mental determination to stick with it even when it feels really hard. Try this tactic to stay focused on winning:
Put a quarter ($.25 coin) in your purse, wallet or pocket. Any time you are tempted to lose a meal or skip physical activity, pull out that quarter a remember what George Washington was famous for saying as a boy when his father ask him if he chopped down the cherry tree. “I cannot tell a lie”.
Stop lying to yourself. Losing weight, when it feels difficult is about overcoming the lies by which you justify your poor decisions such as:
“This is too tough”
“I need to eat more because…(fill in today’s excuse)” “I don’t have time to exercise or cook healthy”
“I deserve a treat”
“I’ll start next week “
GETTING STARTED: TIME TO TAKE ACTION
Now that you know what to do and how to do it, it’s time to actually do it. It’s time to stop reading about how to make the change to a healthier lifestyle and start living it. Any plan is only as good as its execution. Commit to at least one month. We promise you the first week will be the hardest. The Get Started Losing Weight Program will teach you habits, healthy habits that are going to stick. The best part is, it is all done for you. All you have to do is log in!
To help you stay focused and on track we recommend that you purchase a journal that will allow you to keep track of your food and how you are feeling. We also highly recommend that you write down your energy level, workout that you did and any concerns that you have. This will allow you to see the progress that you have made over time. Research has proven time and time again that tracking your results will get you better results, so don’t skip this. At the end of each day’s tracking you can either write a “W” for winning or an “L” for losing that day.
Author: Avril Baxter
Avril Baxter is a professional online personal trainer & weight loss coach. Avril is helping hundreds of people lose weight fast by being personally involved with each client for support in healthy eating, fitness workout videos, and continuous encouragement to help them reach their weight loss goals.