Research and Decide on a Weight Loss Plan
It’s time to make some critical decisions. It’s very important to make sure your plan is one you can stick with for the long term. Once you decide on one, it’s best to take small, consistent steps instead of trying to turn your current lifestyle upside down all of a sudden.
If you don’t choose something you can always do, you will always struggle with your weight. Many people hinder their success before they start because they try to do something radical that isn’t realistically possible to do for life.
How Much and How Fast?
Plan on losing no more than about one or two pounds per week. That’s a safe amount that you will be able to sustain over the long haul. If you’re planning on losing a lot more or a lot faster than that, it’s probably not going to be fat but muscle and water. That will be terrible if you’re planning to keep the weight off.
Muscle burns a lot of calories and is a very active tissue. Having more muscle keeps your metabolism high so you need to hold on to it and do strength training to add more. For more on speeding up your calorie burn, read How to Boost Your Metabolism.
You may lose a little more or less than that each week depending on how much total weight you have to lose. The more you have to lose, the more you’ll likely drop each week.
The plan you choose should not eliminate one food or food group from your diet. There is room for any food in a healthy diet. The trick is learning to control your portion sizes and how often you eat it. If your diet or eating plan (or whatever you want to call it) is balanced for portions and types of food, you’re off to the right start.
Write Down Your Goals
The next step is to put pen to paper and actually write down your goals. Develop a short and a long term goal. Consider making a goal for the next six weeks and another one for the next year. However, simply writing, “lose ten pounds” is not going to cut it.
Here are the components that make a sound fitness goal or any other goal for that matter. Studies show that you are more likely to be successful if you write down your goals as opposed to keeping them in your head. Psychologically, it makes them real and come to life.
Saying you want to “lose weight” will not suffice. How much weight do you want to lose? What specific methods will you use to get there? “I want to be healthier” is a good place to start but you need to narrow things down a lot more than that.
Start with "I want to be healthier" but add to it, "I will be healthier by eating more servings of fruits and vegetables and cutting back on soda and fast food from my diet".
Make Your Goals Measurable
It’s not enough to say you’re going to work out more. Consider this: after six weeks, if you only worked out once whereas you used to work out never, is that the “more” you were going for? It’s probably not. Make sure you can measure your success. Write how many pounds you want to lose.
Think of how many times per week you will exercise and for how long. How many times per day will you have fruits and vegetables? Those are things that can be measured. “I want to weigh less and workout more” isn’t good enough.
If you can’t measure it, then you won’t know if you’re meeting benchmarks along the way and you won’t be able to correct or reward yourself as you go or at the end.
Decide on a Time Frame
What if you want to lose 10 pounds by eliminating soda from your diet? That’s great and you’ll probably have success with it. The question is, how long are you giving yourself to do that? You need to build a time frame into that goal so you know when to evaluate how you’re doing and when to move on to the next short-term goal.
Lastly, your goal should be safe and realistic. You may want to lose ten pounds but if you only give yourself a week to do it, you’re either going to fail or hurt yourself trying. Learn how to get help with what you just learned by reading the next article in this series, How to Start Losing the Weight.
This post is part of the series: How to Get the Weight Off For Good
- How to Get Motivated to Lose the Weight For Good
- What You Need to Do Before You Start Losing the Weight
- How to Start Losing the Weight: Draft Your Team
- How to Start Losing the Weight: Draft the Rest of Your Team and Set a Date