The saying, ‘Slow and steady wins the race’ holds true for many things, including weight loss. In order to approach any weight loss plan, it’s best to do so in a slow and steady fashion. This approach will not only affect your short-term goals, but will teach you how to gradually establish healthy habits that will serve you throughout your entire life.
Here are seven simple tips to successfully approach any weight loss program:
- Create goals that have specific objectives. Setting the goal: to lose weight, is not specific enough. Create daily targets, such as:
- Becoming more physically active every day. Find opportunities to move your body.
- Cutting down on high-caloric foods such as fats, rich desserts and alcohol.
- Drinking water instead of soda.
- Decide how to measure your progress. Be as specific and concrete as possible. For example:
- Aim to do 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days a week. Break it up into 10- or 15-minute segments, and you’ll get the same benefits as in one continuous session.
- Keep an 8 oz. water bottle at hand and count how many times you refill it in the course of a day.
- Keep track of your daily successes on a calendar, log or app. You’ll be proud to see how they add up, creating an incentive to do more.
- List the benefits in the present tense. Rather than focusing on the future of your weight loss; focus on the now. Jot down positive aspects of yourself now to inspire you to continue on your path, such as writing or saying to yourself:
- I feel more in control.
- I feel good about myself for taking care of my body.
- I feel more energetic and look better.
- My clothes fit better.
- Do a combination of strength training and cardio exercise to burn the most calories. Do two full-body strength-training sessions a week on non-consecutive days. Lifting weights builds lean body mass and revs up your metabolism. As you become leaner; you burn more calories even if your body is at rest. Do cardio on your other exercise days to burn calories and lose fat systemically from all over the body. As you burn calories, all the fat cells in the body become smaller, so YOU literally shrink! Learn how to take your own heart rate and know your heart rate training range to accurately monitor different intensities of work in your body.
- Mix up your workouts. When you do the same exercise routine over time, your body plateaus, or stops improving, because it doesn’t have to. So rather than doing the same walking routine on the same course all the time, challenge yourself by adding faster intervals with rest periods or climb inclines and stairs to add resistance. You’ll burn more calories in a shorter period of time and tune up your cardio system by training your heart in higher ranges.
- Become more mindful of what and how you are eating. Give up mindless snacking and foods that do not serve your body, such as: alcohol, processed foods, candy and rich desserts. Instead, focus on eating healthy foods with awareness of how you are feeding yourself. Enjoy the fact that you are providing quality fuel for your body. Breathe before you start the meal and chew your food thoroughly. Stop eating before you are completely full.
- Give up prolonged sitting. Studies show that prolonged sitting has a negative effect on your health even if you work out for an hour every day. To counteract the “lazy biology” of being sedentary, which leads to fat gain and is a risk factor for many diseases including cancer, get up and move for five minutes every hour to keep your muscles contracting and blood circulating.