The new year has arrived and with it are lots of questions about how to lose weight effectively! So far this year I’ve been asked about most of the current diet trends (keto being the big one), how to count and track macros, how many calories to eat, and what kind of supplements can help weight loss most.
All of these were interesting questions, but the best thing to do when wanting to lose weight for the new year is to follow my top strategies below.
The single most important strategy to making anything into a reality is to make a realistic goal. There are a few steps to this but the key is to take a larger idea, like “losing weight” and turn into into smaller, more specific, more achievable goals.
For example: This year I want to lose weight-
This year I want to lose 20 lbs
This year I want to lose 1 lb a week until I’ve lost 20 lbs.
Having the goal of 1 lb per week is a realistic weight loss goal that is very achievable for most people with 20 pounds or more to lose. (If you are very short or have less than twenty pounds to lose, it may be a bit lofty, depending on your unique physiology. A certified nutritionist can help you determine the optimum goal for you. Contact me here if you’d like info on that.)
So now you’re going to lose 1 lb a week. You need a plan.
The best way to plan for a goal like this is to pick a diet approach that seems interesting and applicable to your unique health situation (here’s an article where I go into how you know a diet is right for you) and then to calculate your unique caloric needs.
Nutritionists are trained to determine how much a person should eat and it depends on a variety of factors but there are many online calculators and apps that can give you basic ideas of an ideal calorie amount for you.
It is important to calculate your caloric needs, even with diets that don’t require calorie counting, because to reach a goal in a specific time frame, you have to be specific about how much energy you consume.
For maintenance and for initial weight loss, many people can “wing it” with calories, especially if they are following a whole foods diet because these tend to be very filling. However, in my experience, a little more strictness will get you there faster and with less confusion.
Make sure to choose a diet that is high in vegetable content as the fiber from veggies will keep you full, improve your digestion, and make weight loss much easier.
Once you have your ideal calorie consumption, another key is to track yourself. It would be a good idea to use a food scale (like this one) and an app that you can input your calories into or write them down in a book.
Check yourself once a week and look at the content of your foods. Were you skimping on vegetables to fit in a protein bar? Were you lazy about eating healthier options because you found something that was technically low carb? Are you eating more dairy or nuts than normal? The more you analyze and stay specific, the better your results will be.
It is also a good idea to take your weight, full body measurements, and photos of yourself weekly.
Weighing and measuring yourself daily is unnecessary and counterproductive.
Remember that water fluctuations and hormonal changes are real and can affect your weight from day to day. It is much better and more satisfying to weigh yourself once a week and see your progress than to weight yourself daily without much luck.
Remember that plateaus are a real thing and they do happen despite your best intentions. The trick with any plateau is to not beat yourself up and just stick with it. Things will right themselves within a couple of weeks and if the scale isn’t moving you can be sure that you will get a nice, satisfying drop of a few pounds at some point in the future.
That exciting drop isn’t from something magical you did the day before, it’s just from the hard work you’ve put in day in and day out finally showing up, so don’t give up!
Plateaus are just a protective mechanism of the body and totally normal, everyone experiences them.
However, be honest with yourself. Make sure you haven’t been forgetting to track things or guesstimating on weights or measurements of food. If you have been slipping a bit, it’s a good idea to go back to weighing your food and see if it helps.
One of the keys to maintaining progress in weight loss is to have mini-celebrations often. But mini-celebrations should not be food rewards!
Instead, many people find it fun and motivating to take photos of themselves, or of their food, to track their continued progression with their goals. Those gym selfies help keep you motivated as you watch them pile up week after week!
You should also plan regular rewards. Things like spa days, massages, nail appointments, new clothes or hairstyles, and even, occasionally a food reward can all be parts of keeping you on track.
Remember, a healthy diet is meant to become a lifestyle and a lifestyle that doesn’t include things to look forward to doesn’t motivate anyone!
I hope you’ve enjoyed these strategies and incorporate them in your new year! If you need help making weight loss your new lifestyle, I’m happy to help. Call me at 210-391-6790 for a free first consultation.