How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind

With the New Year now upon us, many of you are going to be starting to consider what you can be doing to take your fitness to the next level. You may have packed on some weight over the holidays and are going to use this as a jump-start to getting the New Year off to a fresh start.

You want to make this the year that you finally take action and build the body of your dreams – or as close to it as possible.

Setting the goal to ‘lose weight’ is one of the top New Year’s resolutions that people set for themselves after the Christmas holiday is over. But yet, it is also one of the top 10 most broken resolutions as well.

If you face the facts, the cards are not stacked in your favour, so if you hope to make this the year that you do actually stick to those resolutions, you need to think about your approach.

One website noted that “60% of gym memberships go unused and in most gyms, attendance rates return to normal levels by mid-February.”

There are many reasons at play for why this occurs. Sometimes it’s because they’ve tried to go at it alone without the support of others, while in other cases, it’s because the goals that they set for themselves are just too extreme and they were destined to fail right from the start. In other cases, it’s because they simply feel like they don’t have the time or money to keep at their workout program and this sends them spiralling off it by the time February rolls around.

Whatever the case happens to be for you and why you haven’t stuck with it as the year progressed along, if you have a proper game plan for this coming year, you can change your history.

The Key To Success

When it comes to sticking with your resolution this year, it’s all about finding what works for you. It’s not about doing a complete overhaul of your diet and workout program, which will just leave you feeling overwhelmed and ready to give up your fight.

“It’s not about being the best, it’s about being better than you were yesterday.”

-Unknown

Instead, you should assess where you currently stand – the lifestyle that you’re leading, the type of diet you’re consuming, and the activity that you’re already doing on a day to day basis.

Do a big inventory of where you are and then think about where you want to be. Then, break those up with mini-goals that you can strive for on a month to month basis. This helps you keep things in a shorter term perspective and makes your long term goal seem less daunting.

Then, you can focus on making smaller diet and exercise changes over a period of time that will eventually add up to get you to that long term goal that you had set.

Small Diet Changes That Add Up

The first thing you must do is come to terms with how many calories you are really eating. Most people really don’t understand the impact the foods they are eating and as such, don’t see a reason to change.

But, considering that piece of pizza you devour on a Friday night has around 250-300 calories (and we both know you eat more than one slice), the brownie you shared with a friend over coffee contains well over 600 calories or more, and the doughnut and coffee you grabbed in the morning as you rushed off to work tally’s in at over 450 calories ,it all adds up.

Remember, the average individual exercising intensely for one hour will only burn 400-600 calories, so you really need to start keeping this in mind when making food choices.

For some people, this can be a real wake-up call.

From there, you then need to start making small changes to your diet that will have a significant payoff.

Some ideas to get you started include:

  • Swapping your sandwich for lunch with a salad
  • Trading your morning coffee for green tea instead
  • Opting for a stir-fry rather than a steak dinner
  • Choosing baked potato rather than Chips
  • Replacing a fizzy drink with water
  • Snacking on fresh fruit rather than chocolate
  • Serving up oatmeal for breakfast rather than a high sugar cold cereal
  • Munching on popcorn rather than crisps
  • Switch to 5-6 smaller meals per day rather than 3 large ones

 

Healthy fruits

Little changes like this can easily slash calories from your day, making it easier to eat at a more reasonable intake level.

This over time can help you effortlessly see the weight loss results that you’re going for. Focusing on little changes is often much more manageable for those who have fallen off a diet before compared to doing the complete diet overhaul and trying to stick to a diet that you absolutely hate.

Remember, there’s no reason to hate what you’re eating each day. With so many different health options that are available, you can easily find a way to satisfy your nutrition requirements and taste buds at the same time.

Getting On The Fitness Bandwagon – At Your Own Pace

Moving along, starting to put more effort into increasing your physical activity is going to be a must as well. Here again, don’t try and go from ground zero (no exercise) to running half a marathon (or exercising 7 hours a week), you won’t succeed because it’s just too much for your body to handle.

It’s better to start off slowly and let your body get used to the exercise that you’re doing. Then you can focus on building up from there.

Especially when it comes to exercise, if you do too much too soon or at a higher intensity level than you can handle, you will end up sore, frustrated, and overly fatigued. This is not the association with exercise that you want to be giving yourself.

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

                -Woody Allen

Some simple ideas to start adding more activity into your day include:

  • Going for a brisk walk for 10 minutes each morning
  • Constructing a 15 minute body-weight circuit training routine to do when you get home from work each day before making dinner
  • Meeting a friend for a walk  rather than for coffee
  • Taking the dog for a walk or a run – great exercise for both
  • Having sex every night – not only will you burn calories, but you’ll prevent mindless eating in front of the TV and strengthen your relationship as well!
  • End each day with 10-15 minutes of stretching, this can be done at home.
  • Using the stairs instead of Lift/Escalator at work or whilst out.

 

fit womens body

So many people think that fitness has to take place in the gym and you must go for at least 30 minutes to benefit, but that just isn’t the case.

Even if you just did 6, 5 minute bursts of movement throughout the day, you will be well on your way to getting your exercise allotment in.

Focus on simply adding more movement first and later on, you can then think about increasing the intensity of that exercise.

As you go about making these positive changes to your diet and workout program, you must also evaluate the lifestyle that you are leading as well.

Are you getting enough sleep at night? Failing to clock enough hours is not only going to leave you feeling too tired to exercise, but it can actually make it harder to choose healthier food choices as well. Those who are low on sleep suffer from reduced insulin sensitivity and experience higher levels of hunger on a day to day basis as well – not to mention don’t have the mental energy to fend off food cravings.

Likewise, are you very stressed out the vast majority of the time? Stress will seriously wreak havoc on your overall health state so if it’s very high, you need to take steps to lower it. Too much stress will not only make you more likely to stress-eat, but it can also encourage you to store fat in the stomach region due to the high level of cortisol that will be secreted throughout the body.

So assess your lifestyle and make sure that you are doing things that will make it easier for you to move towards your goal, not harder.

“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.”

                                                                -Henry Ford

If you do that, you can start the New Year off right and form a new lifestyle that you want to maintain for a long time to come. Get out of the thinking process that these changes are just a means to an end. That once you’ve reached your goal weight, you will just go back to how you were before.

It’s that thinking that sets you up for failure with reaching your goals. Instead, make this an adjustment that you will enjoy and continue to enjoy for years to come.

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