Pick up any magazine or browse a bookstore shelf and you’ll find all sorts of articles and books about diet, exercise and weight loss.

The fact of the matter is, weight is important – obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight is important to every person’s overall health.

That being the case, why is it so difficult for us to get to where we want to be?  We’re not going to get into the reasons we struggle here; we’re going to focus on those things that will help you move forward.  Weight loss is all about forward motion, and these tips will help you maintain the right direction!

Motivation

First and foremost, motivation is absolutely necessary for a person to see changes in their weight.

Without a strong motivation coming into your weight loss journey, the ability to stay focused is greatly impacted.  If you are just setting out with your weight loss, become very clear on WHY you are losing weight.  The more personal and crystal clear your reason, the better your chances of staying motivated.

Losing weight is not a quick fix transformation; there is hard work involved.  To aid with motivation, keep a picture of yourself at your current weight where you can see it. 

Put a picture of your ideal weight next to the picture of your current self.  Place this side by side in a place where you can see it every day.  There are several things one can do to keep themselves motivated.  Before and after photos can be looked at each day, positive affirmations can be used.  The list goes on and on; the point is to use whatever works – but always use something!

Rest Up!

Diet and exercise are important to any weight loss.  However, sleep is also a part of the overall plan.  Without adequate sleep – approximately 7 ½ hours a night – the hormones affecting hunger and eating are impacted.

To ensure that you have enough energy to maintain workouts and enough rest to allow hormones to regulate, you set yourself up for success.  Find ways to make sure you get at least 7 ½ hours of sleep each and every night.

Working it at Work

Most people don’t have the type of job where they are required to move on a daily basis.  In fact, most of us sit at a desk several hours a day.  The affect this has on weight loss can be huge if you’re not careful.  No, you can’t quit your job as a banker to become a personal trainer or some other active profession; but you can add more activity into your workday.

If your job requires typing, take solace:  typing actually burns calories!  However, since this has been a part of your daily routine, it does not suffice to ramp up your weight loss.

Consider taking short breaks every hour or two while at work.  Just a five to ten minute walk up and down the stairs in your building can get your heart pumping and your muscles moving.  If possible, trade your office chair for an exercise ball.

Sitting on a ball causes your core to have to work and your muscles to tighten.  On your lunch hour, eat a healthy meal and spend the rest of your time on a walk outdoors.  The fresh air and movement will give you energy to get through the rest of your day; a nice alternative to those afternoon doldrums!

Keeping it real

Diet is an obvious factor in weight loss.  But not everyone has the same response to foods.  Some people need to steer towards a gluten free diet, while others find a need to stack on the protein.  Some are vegetarian and need to search out whey protein as an alternative to eating meat.

It is important to try what you must and find what your body responds to.  Keep it real.  Don’t assume that what makes one person feel great makes everyone feel great.

If you want to put on muscle while dropping inches, you may need a bit more protein; and can get that through shakes and bars just as much as you can from a juicy steak.   If your aim is to slim down and tone, but you don’t care much to add bulk muscle, you could keep your meals light, with a bit less protein.

It’s important to remember, though, that protein is necessary in every diet; just sometimes more than others.

Starting a food diary is a great way to find what makes you tick.  If you’re changing your diet, keep notes of how you feel after eating certain types of food.

 Do salads leave you feeling unsatisfied? 

Do steaks leave you feeling groggy?

Write these things down and discover what foods your body responds to the best.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Stress is a part of life we have come to accept as being ever-present and unavoidable.  However, stress can wreak havoc on the body in more ways than one.  Here, we will focus on how stress impacts weight.

When stressed, the body has two hormones that go to work, giving the necessary strength to fight or flee from stressors.

The hormones that come into play here are adrenaline and cortisol.  Adrenaline gives a rush of energy.  Cortisol replenishes the body after the stress has ended.  The issue with stress is that we typically endure elevated levels of cortisol for extended periods of time.  The end result is that we are driven to eat more.

In order to stay on track with weight loss, stress needs to be dealt with quickly and effectively.  See situations for what they are in the grand scheme of your life.  Get moving every day, as exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress.  Spend a few minutes of quiet time each day, perhaps before jumping out of bed.  Find positive affirmations for strength and peace.

Balance is the key

Most people embark on a weight loss journey as though they are heading into a major conflict, it is well and good to psych yourself up and put a lot of effort into your goal but you need to remember that you will need to keep this up long term so you are far more likely to succeed if you set realistic goals that you can achieve.

If your goal is to lose 10kgs don’t expect to reach that in 17 days, it is just not realistic or healthy in any way. How hard do you think it would be to cut out all carbs, coffee, sugar etc, etc, all at once? How long do you think that sort of change can be maintained? As soon as the time frame is reached you’d be running to the nearest ice-cream shop. Why not? You’ve lost weight, now you can go back to your old habits again. Wrong!

By depriving your body of calories your metabolism has slowed down. Now it will be even easier for you to put on weight and in no time at all you will be heavier than you were before you started. Work out a plan to lose ½ kg to 1kg per week. So what if it takes you 10-20 weeks to get there?

By the time you’ve reached your goal you’ll be so used to your routine you won’t be thinking about going back to your old bad habits.

Speed up your metabolism

The best way to keep weight gain at bay is to get your body to burn more fat by increasing your metabolic rate.

  • Increase your muscle mass- Muscle requires more energy than fat to run efficiently therefore will spend more calories.
  • Drink plenty of water – Yes, you’ve heard this before.
  • Have 6 – 7 small meals per day – Stop your body from going into what we like to call famine mode and hold on to fat because it does not know when the next meal is coming.
  • Exercise – If you’ve never done any physical activity start by going for a walk around the block, then graduate to a jog or run, the goal here is to increase your heart rate.

Losing weight is not a race.  There is no prize at the end except for a happier healthier you; which is really the best prize of all!