Are you on the road to starting a weight loss journey? If so, you may be feeling overwhelmed or nervous. You may be wondering if it’s really possible for you.
Certainly, weight loss is a big undertaking. It requires planning, commitment, determination, persistence, and undoubtedly, many ups and downs. The good news is that starting a weight loss journey is 100% doable, even for a complete beginner!
This guide will walk you through how to start a weight loss journey as a newbie, and stick with it for the long haul!
Get Into the Right Mindset
When it comes to weight loss, many people automatically think of diet and exercise as the key drivers of success. While these two factors play an important role in your weight loss journey, there is a missing ingredient that may be even more important: your mindset.
Research shows that self-efficacy plays a massive role in your ability to successfully lose weight. In other words, the more you believe in yourself and your ability to stick to your weight loss plan, the more kilos you’re likely to drop.
Let’s discuss a couple of ways to build your self-efficacy surrounding weight loss.
Determine Your Why
To get into the right mindset and believe in your weight loss journey, you’re going to have to dig a bit deeper than the generic “I want to lose weight” resolution. Sure, wanting to lose weight is a noble goal. However, attaching a deeper meaning to your weight loss journey will help put your mind in the right perspective.
Examples of meaningful reasons to lose weight include:
- To gain more energy and mental clarity
- To set a good example for your children
- To be around longer
- To feel confident in your own skin
- To reverse or manage diabetes
Whatever your reasons, making weight loss purposeful will help you develop determination and confidence in yourself to achieve your goals.
Be Prepared to Make Mistakes
The number one setback for beginners on their weight loss journey is having an “all-or-nothing” mindset. Developing self-efficacy does not mean you believe you will be perfect. Not at all! In fact, self-efficacy means believing you can achieve your goals in spite of inevitable failures.
If you don’t make room for mistakes, you’re already setting yourself up for failure. There will be times you eat something your not “supposed to,” skip your workout, or maybe even fall off track for days at a time. Accepting this ahead of time and believing you can bounce back will set you up for long-term weight loss success.
Figure Out What Motivates You
Let’s not sugarcoat it, weight loss is not an easy journey to travel. There will be days, probably many, when you just don’t feel like getting in your workout or prepping your healthy food. Thus, you need to figure out what helps you push through on those days.
For you, motivation might mean remembering all of your “whys” of weight loss. Or, your motivation may be in the form of an inspirational lecture, an old pair of jeans you’d love to fit in again, or your favorite fitness quote. Whatever your motivation is, take advantage of it on the days you’re just not feeling it.
Develop a Plan
Failing to plan is planning to fail. – Alan Lakein
This quote rings profoundly true. It’s extremely easy to cook up excuses as to why you “just can’t” today. There’s no healthy food in the house, there’s no time to cook, you’re too busy to fit in a workout. Of course, there are times when life truly does get in the way, and that’s OK. But most of the time, excuses abound because of a failure to have a plan in place.
Nutrition is crucial to your weight loss regimen. You need to be fuelling your body with proper nutrients to burn fat, build muscle, and maintain energy levels. Without a plan, you’re more likely to fall off track with your eating habits.
You don’t have to spend hours meal planning every week. Here are a few tips for simple, quick meal planning:
- Find a space to store recipes, so you have easy access to them (my choice of storage is Pinterest boards, but binders or apps work as well)
- Cook weekly meals that have many or some of the same ingredients to save yourself time and money
- Make large dishes to have leftovers
- Jot down some meals you want to make for the upcoming week
- Always keep a well-stocked kitchen full of healthy options
- Download the GlycoLeap App to get personalised diet and meal planning tips from registered dietitians
Exercise is a crucial part of your weight loss journey. Physical activity helps to burn fat, maintain muscle mass, and boost your body’s calorie-burning power. However, without a plan, exercise can be easily left out of your routine. Treat your workouts like appointments. Schedule them into your daily routine, so you’re sure to set aside the time.
Yes, you read that right! Self-care is just as vital, maybe even more so than diet and exercise. Avoid burnout by scheduling in some YOU time. Whether that be reading your favourite book, taking a hot bath, or relaxing with a hot cup of tea (and maybe a little sweet treat on the side), be sure to take the edge off at least once a week.
Jot Down Your Starting Points
Tracking your progress throughout your weight loss journey is going to be your best source of motivation. Once you see and feel your changes, you’re going to want to keep going.
However, to track your progress, you’ll need to know your starting point. Jot down your beginning measurements, that way you can see later how much you’ve changed.
Here are some important things to jot down:
- Your weight
- Your measurements (usually chest, waist, and hips will suffice)
- A list of how you feel (include things like energy levels; hunger & cravings; mood)
- I also recommend taking “before pictures” as pictures often represent change better than the scale
Make It Enjoyable
My number one piece of advice for weight loss rookies is to enjoy the ride. Don’t stress over every single calorie, don’t beat yourself up when you eat a bar of chocolate and don’t think the world has ended if you skipped a workout. Being too rigid is a sure way to burn out and lose your spark. In fact, studies suggest that the majority of people who lose weight, gain all or more of it back. The most prominent reason for weight regain is extreme dieting and exercising.
So, take it easy and simply enjoy the ride. Accept and learn from your mistakes. Be gentle with yourself when things don’t go right. Reward yourself when you’ve accomplished small goals. Eat foods you love and engage in exercise that you find enjoyable. This way, your weight loss journey becomes a lifestyle that you will learn to love.
Your Weight Loss Journey: In Conclusion
Beginning a weight loss journey may seem intimidating, but in truth, it’s simple. If you prepare ahead of time by getting into the right mindset, planning meals and workouts ahead of time, and setting aside some you time, you’re on the right track to lasting health and weight loss.