Losing weight and figuring out the various lifestyle choices and weight management systems that work for you is a complicated process. It can feel overwhelming and frustrating. However, there are many health benefits associated with weight loss, especially if you are obese or elderly.
In this article, 5 fat-burning strategies will be broken down into easily digestible steps, so keep reading to gain clarity on this often unnecessarily complicated subject.
Consciously decide to lose weight. Even if your doctor recommends that you lose weight for health reasons, understand that you must first commit to it to really change. Understand that weight loss can involve significant lifestyle changes and that you will undergo an ever-shifting journey.
For some people, writing down why they want to lose weight and even writing out a contract for themselves can be helpful. In the more challenging moments of this long journey, reminding yourself why you are doing it can be very helpful.
Take stock of your current habits
The first step in meaningful change is an acknowledgment of the present. The only way to lose weight is if you are burning fewer calories than you are consuming. Therefore, you should reduce how much food you eat and increase your physical activity when trying to lose weight. Doing both of these things allows your body to more easily undergo a calorie deficit, which is the only proven method of weight loss.
However, to entirely change your habits affecting your choices of food and exercise, you need to understand the ramifications of the choices you are making at present. So, start by visiting your doctor. Together, you can measure all of your health statistics and talk about any risk factors you may have regarding your weight. Then, schedule a follow-up appointment so that you can meet and discuss any changes that you may have made.
Start to keep a record of everything you eat. This will help you become more mindful of what you eat and how much of it you eat. Think through your life and identify when you eat the most, what you eat the most, and different factors that may be contributing to you not being able to exercise or get access to a healthy, balanced diet.
Set pragmatic goals
Set goals that will help you. Be specific and varied in your goals. Simply trying to lose weight is far too broad. Focus on particular aspects of your weight loss goals to break them down and make much shorter-term goals. Your goals should be:
For example, instead of just saying, “I am going to exercise,” you can set a goal for yourself that you will walk for thirty minutes a day three times a week. Instead of just saying “I will eat more vegetables,” set a more specific goal like “Every day, at dinner, I will have a salad or a serving of vegetables”.
If you set goals that are too high or are unrealistic, you can feel upset and discouraged. However, knowing that you may occasionally not reach your goal is part of having a goal. Try to be compassionate with yourself both when setting and keeping goals. Also, know that what works for others may not work for you. It may take you some time to find what does work for you, so be patient with yourself.
Find ways to get support
Identify which friends or family members can help support you in your weight loss and lifestyle changes. It can be hard to change your daily habits when you feel alone. Knowing you can talk to other people can make everything feel so much easier. If people around you have similar goals, it might even be nice to exercise with them.
There are also weight loss support groups and dietitians who can all give you helpful advice. Your healthcare provider might even suggest certain surgeries or medications to help you lose weight.
Learn how to self-monitor
Perhaps calorie counting or weighing yourself may be unhelpful things to do on a weekly or even daily basis. However, you will need to learn how to monitor your habits and how new habits change your body. Instead of seeing measurements or monitoring as a source of shame, make them an empowering tool that lets you know that your hard work is paying off.
A great way to do this is to weigh yourself either daily or weekly and use that weight to create a graph or table. Plugging it into a visual system like this is helpful so that you can see the bigger picture and keep going.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Healthy Weight, Nutrition, and Physical Activity.”
Mayo Clinic: “Weight-loss basics.”
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Guide to Behavior Change.”
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