Fad diets and quick fixes to losing weight may give you immediate results, but do they last? Not usually. The key to losing weight is consistency. Creating a plan for the long-term will keep you on the right track, for good.
1. Get To Know the Foods You Eat
First things first. In order to know where you may be going wrong in terms of calorie intake, you need to take note of what you eat. Not just breakfast, lunch and dinners, but all the little bites in between.
Keep a food diary for a week and be sure to include all liquids. The cheeky few wines after work, 3 cappuccinos before noon and cans of Coke on the weekend all add up. Be honest with yourself, this isn’t about deprivation and you can still have your favourite things when all’s said and done, but moderation is important. For a sensible whole-foods approach to eating and to maintaining weight loss and health for the long-term, take a look at the Cruise Control program.
2. Plan Your Meals Each Week
Now that you know what you consume each week, it’s time to create a meal plan to incorporate some of your treats into an overall healthy diet. What do you like to eat for breakfast? If it’s eggs benedict, try eggs and avocado on toast instead. If it’s sugary cereals, switch to porridge with a trickle of organic honey.
Cook healthy meals on the weekends and freeze them for the week so you’re not tempted to grab takeaway. Putting some effort into planning ensures you can still eat what you like by making a conscious effort to give all your meals a healthy twist.
3. Get Your Close Ones On Board and Committed
Losing weight for good is a group effort if you live in a shared household. If your family is used to a diet of junk food, everyone will benefit from creating a new group culture of healthy living. If you live with flat mates, ask them if they want to jump on the good food bandwagon with you. If not, split the fridge and cupboard into a healthy section for yourself.
4. Tell yourself daily “I Can Lose It”
If you’ve been trying to lose weight for a long time without success, you’re thoughts may be the culprit. Quit the habit of talking yourself out of exercising. Stop standing in front of the mirror telling yourself you look fat.
Instead, reverse each negative statement into a positive, like, “I can’t wait to get outside and go for a walk,” or “this shade of blue looks nice on me,” or “I’m going to feel great after I eat my delicious salad at lunch.” This way, you rewire your brain towards success on a daily basis.
5. Watch Less TV
While it can be great for relaxation, if you’re in the habit of watching TV every single night and on the weekends, you’re missing valuable opportunities to get out in the world and be active. When you think about it, even 4 hours is a ridiculously long time to remain completely still, especially if you’re eating at the same time.
6. Drink Plenty of Water and Nothing Else
On a hot day, a glass of water with ice and a squeeze of lemon juice not only tastes delicious, but it helps to cleanse, re-hydrate and refresh your body. Alternatively, if you have soda or coffee, you’ll find yourself thirsty again in a few seconds and your energy levels will rise and fall too quickly. Water is your best friend when it comes to long-term weight loss.
7. Walk Everywhere
The easiest exercise is walking. It’s free, it’s low-impact and it’s enjoyable. Every time you’re about to get in your car, ask yourself if you can walk to your destination. We get so used to driving everywhere we forget that a short, 30 minute walk would save us having to find a park, using petrol and, best of all, it would equate to half our daily exercise needs.
8. Join At Least One Sports League
Just one activity a week, that makes you work up a sweat, will ensure you maintain and increase weight loss. Even if you think you’re not the ‘sporty’ type, there’s something out there for you. It doesn’t have to be football or tennis, you could try hot yoga, fencing, adult dance classes for fun or join a group and train for a charity walkathon.
9. Enlist the Occasional Help of a Personal Trainer
If you love the gym, fantastic. You can kick your exercise goals with the help of trained professionals on a weekly basis. If not, it helps to hire a personal trainer for a couple of months to get you going. They can let you know exercises to benefit your individual body type, as well as provide the initial motivation you need each year to remain consistent with your goals.
10. Make Social Outings Active Ones
Going out to dinner and the movies is not the only social activity you can do with partners and friends. If you do that on a Friday night, why not try hiking, swimming at the beach or going for a rainforest walk for the next catch up? If you aim to do one active social activity each weekend, you’ll be surprised at how much of a difference it makes to your body.
11. Do Your Own Household Chores
Although you may not realise it, housework is one of the best forms of incidental exercise. Rather than lazily vacuuming the carpet, put some music on and dance around the house with energy and enthusiasm. Really get stuck into mopping the floor and work up a sweat or wash all the windows once a week for a full body workout.
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12. Burn Your Fat Clothes
It’s nice to have old, comfy clothes to hangout in, but if your wardrobe is chock full of clothes you wear when you feel unattractive and bloated, throw them out or give them away immediately (or burn them as they made me feel awesome!). Buy yourself beautiful clothes that fit you well and feel confident in the fact that you’ll always be able to wear them because you consistently maintain your weight.
13. Meditate To Battle Stress
One of the leading causes of unconscious eating is stress. It’s just so easy to reach for a chocolate bar or a beer to help us feel better. The fact is, that food and alcohol are short term fixes and long term enemies. Learning how to be still for a few minutes a day and using breathing techniques to calm your mind will combat stress without the need for food.
14. Keep a food and weight loss journal or blog
Writing down all your achievements helps to remind you how fantastic you are on the odd bad day, especially if it is made public for everyone to read. If you walk each morning for 5 days in a row, write it down. If you join a new exercise class and love it, write it down. If you create a new, healthy version of your favourite meal, congratulate yourself! Your followers will be your biggest supporters.