I say “rules” loosely here because everybody is different, and what works for one may or may not work for someone else. One thing that may be a relief is that these weight loss rules are not about spending hours at the gym or a very specific diet. These rules are about aspects of weight loss that some people seem to forget about.
It doesn’t matter what time your breakfast is at, or how hungry you feel first thing in the morning, but it’s so important to re-hydrate and get a boost of nutrients in the morning. Starting your day with breakfast can jump start the digestive system and help fuel your day. Skipping meals can mess with the metabolism, which will impact everything you eat, and can put you in danger of overeating later. Not only that, but if you are exercising your energy levels are lower and can potentially start to feel dizzy or sick if you are not eating.
Set Weekly Goals
Losing weight can be overwhelming, daunting, stressful, and hard. Be honest– changing habits you have had for a while is not always easy. Something that can be helpful is to set smaller goals. Weekly goals are very helpful because you’re focusing on a challenge for a few days as opposed to weeks or months, making it easier to remain accountable. Break those long term goals into small weekly goals!
These goals can be very simple or a challenging goal. Reducing junk food or fitting 3 workouts in a week can be different for everyone. Make sure that your goals are always achievable. It does no good to set a goal that you know you will not be able to achieve. Why set yourself up for failure?
Don’t be too Hard on Yourself
Like I mentioned above losing weight can be very difficult. It can be very easy to give in to negative thoughts and give up. One of the best ways to be successful in your weight loss efforts is by having a positive mindset. Yes, the hard workouts, the sweat, the healthy meals, etc. will pay off, but your mental health is even more important. What we tell ourselves and what we believe about ourselves shapes every single aspect of our lives.
If it’s a bad week, don’t take it to heart. If you miss a workout or eat a rich dessert it’s OK. Pick yourself up and move on. Having positive thoughts will take you further than negative ones.
Stick with it
One of our biggest downfalls when it comes to losing weight is being impatient. How many times have you eaten well and killed your workouts for several days and then complained that it does not matter or it does not work? We all know that true weight loss does not happen overnight. There are times when weight will fall off faster than others, and there are times when you will plateau and not lose anything. Have faith that things will work. Try taking measurements or progress pictures. Sometimes the scale does not show everything.
Mix up your Workouts
A routine is good, but sticking to the exact same workout every day will not give you the results you want. Mentally you will be bored, and physically your body will know what to expect. To get good results, mix it up. Incorporating a group class, a steady walk, yoga, Pilates, barre workout, etc. can keep thing interesting. Get creative.
Stop Thinking “Diet”
Mindset is everything. If you start your weight loss journey thinking about nothing but “diet” it can automatically put you on the wrong foot before you really get started. The word “diet” can bring up negative thoughts such as “starving, depriving, being miserable, or pushing through it for a few days.
Going on “diet” can work short term, but once you regain your normal eating habits the weight will return. Go back to setting those small goals and changing your diet a little bit at a time.
Look out for Emotional Eating
Many of us don’t even realize when we are eating emotionally. This can contribute to a lot of unwanted weight gain, especially if you eat when you are stressed or bored. People also tend to reach for snacks when they are mildly hungry, which may not always be the best idea especially if they are snacking on sugar laden foods. Watch your behavior when you feel stressed or bored. Notice how you act out and what you tend to eat. Replace emotional eating with something else– call a friend, go out somewhere, or just drink some water.