I get constant questions about how to get started losing weight so I put together some practical tips to help you get going and to be successful with it.
Reminder – this is strictly an example of what you can do to start your weight-loss journey. Of course always check with your physician before starting any exercise or nutrition program.
Follow this at your own risk.
One of the first questions a new member asks when they join my FREE fitness accountability group is how to get started losing weight.
Check out these tried and true tips as they are effective for anyone looking to lose a few pounds or inches.
Let me warn you, I am not going to be talking about magic pills, waist trainers, special teas or fad diets. We are going back to the basics.
Don’t overthink it or make this hard.
Make Your Mind Up
I can’t stress this enough, if you don’t have your mind made up to make a change, you will eventually fall back into the habits that got you wanting to get fit in the first place.
While it is nice to look at others for motivation, you really have to look within. Know your why and write it down.
Write Down Your Goals
It’s imperative to write down your goals so you can give thought to them and they are visible to you. Make sure they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic (very important) but challenging and time-boxed (short and long term).
Many people will say their goal is to lose 20 lbs in a month. I say consider breaking down your goals into something more specific such as:
- Week 1 goal is to workout at least 30 minutes 2 days that week
- Week 2 goal is to workout at least 45 minutes 2 days that week
- Reduce drinking Starbucks Tall Latte one day this week
- Eat servings of fruits and vegetables from 1 to 2 per day
- Increase the number of 1-hour walks from two to five times per week
- Increase swim time from 30 to 50 minutes two times per week
Hopefully this makes sense.
Post your goals on a vision board or around your home so that it is constantly visible like on the corner of your bathroom mirror, refrigerator or on the wall where you exercise.
Your goals should guide your actions.
Abolish the myths
I realize there is so much information out on the Internet that is can get confusing separating fact from fiction.
- Sweating equals fat loss – Sweating does not equal fat burn or fat loss. Sweating is your body’s response to overheating from activity or high temperatures and it is its cooling mechanism
- There is no QUICK fix – this will take months of hard work, commitment, focus and consistency. If you tried something and lost weight quickly, more than likely it was water weight, not fat and not permanent.
- Wraps work – Wrapping yourself up in plastic wrap to lose weight permanently is not a permanent answer. It helps shed water weight and is a technique many athletes use to make weight for weigh-ins but it isn’t a technique for long-term weight loss
- Detox teas may help with sleep and bloating but they are not a magic drink. Many are diuretics and can compromise the digestive system if taken too often.
- You’ll lose weight by not eating – Starving yourself will make your body hold on to the fat rather than shed it because it will be in starvation mode. Aim for a slight daily caloric deficit by 100 or 200 calories vs. a drastic one like dropping 500 calories or more a day
- Carbs are bad so don’t eat any of them – People don’t gain weight because of eating carbs. They gain weight from eating too many carbs. All carbs are not made the same. Simple carbs are typically found in processed food which spikes your insulin and blood sugar levels quickly and then you come crashing down hungrier than when you started. Eat complex carbs such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrots, which tend to be high in fiber and helps regulate blood sugar levels.
Weight Loss Tools
There are a bunch of applications that can assist you with weight loss whether they be apps to help track your meals and calorie consumption or exercise apps. Here’s a few I recommend:
MyFitnessPal – you can track your meals and workouts with this app for free. It shows you how many calories you ate (as long as you add the food), how many calories you burned (if you connect it to your fitness tracker) and how many calories you have left to consume. It can be an eye opener.
Trainerize – this is the fitness app I use to help my clients get in the best shape of their lives. It’s free to use once you pay for one of my fitness programs but it helps you manage your measurements, allows you to easily track your workouts and upload progress photos.
Apple Watch – this state of the art watch does everything from track the total number of calories burned to who is calling you on your phone. Several of my clients use it to show me their activity for the day or week.
Month To Month Starter Plan
This 3-month starter plan is an example of what you can do get started losing weight. I also have a sample beginner weight loss workout program too so check that out.
Goals and Measurement
This is the month you are getting things started. Think about and write down your goals and prepare.
Take measurements so you know your starting point. Some effective ways to measure include:
- Body weight scale
- Measuring tape
- Take photos of your front, side and back
- Get a favorite pair of jeans or dress that don’t quite fit
Measure your neck, chest, biceps, waist, stomach, hips, thighs and calves.
Commit yourself to drinking NOTHING but 74 oz of water all day every day. If that’s too drastic work your way up to it by reducing the amount of juice, alcohol and soft drinks your drink daily.
Aim to eat fresh fruit in the mornings with your breakfast and a vegetable at each meal throughout the day. Steamed and roasted vegetables are an excellent choice
Eat a healthy breakfast every morning. If time is limited, a meal replacement protein shake is fine.
Get in the habit of not eating after 7 pm daily and eliminate all fast food from your diet even the “healthy” menu options.
Consume 6 small meals throughout the day
Get 6 to 8 hours of sleep every night. That’s how your body repairs, heals and replenishes itself. Studies show when you don’t get adequate amounts of sleep, it can raise the levels of cortisol in your system which creates belly fat.
Find a workout program that is fun for you because then you are inclined to stick with it whether it be something you do solo or in a group.
If it’s fun you will want to do it and look forward to it. It won’t even feel like exercise.
Check them out, sign up and get started with me.
You should be getting into a routine right about now since you are 4 weeks down. Use this time to measure your progress.
A body weight scale, measuring tape and trying on clothes are a great way to measure progress. Write down the results and compare to your starting point.
If you aren’t where you want to be, assess the changes to be made to help you meet your goals.
Continue to eat your regular meals and continue to cut back on food with added salt, sugar and fat.
Treat yourself to a meal you enjoy but then get right back on track.
This is the time you might consider changing up your workout program a bit because the body is highly adaptable and any change you saw the first few weeks will be harder to achieve if you don’t change things up.
It’s called progressive overload and you can make small changes such as lift a slightly heavier weight, increase the starting speed on the treadmill or incline or increase the number of days a week you’re exercising.
Take those pics of your front, side and back, measure yourself, try on that favorite pair of jeans and step on the scale and document the results and compare with last month and the month before.
Figure out your macros with a program like IIFYM and then eat the appropriate amount of protein, carbs and fat based on your goals.
Eliminate fried foods from your diet because they will have you hustling backwards. Increase consumption of baked, roasted, or steamed food.
Switch your salad dressing from creamy dressings from your diet even the “lite” versions such as thousand island, ranch) to more oil and vinegar based dressings and have it on the side and dip your salad in it for some extra flavor
Graduate to eating one BIG salad a day full of dark leafy green lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, craisins and cucumber. NO CROUTONS
Cut back on yellow cheeses like cheddar and instead reach for white cheeses less in calories like feta, parmesan and mozzarella.
Your body progresses when you are resting so make sure to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Your body will thank you for it.
Increase your cardio by 15 minutes and increase the days you perform cardio. Your endurance should be improved if you have been consistent the previous two months.
Go up on the weights and try new exercises and programs. Your body should be shaping up nicely now.
To Wrap Things Up
Starting a new fitness journey to lose weight won’t be easy but if you have your mind right, know your starting point, and have a plan you will be successful in the long run.
Let me know if this was helpful in giving you ideas on what you can do to begin your effort to lose weight.