I definitely don’t have all the answers for weight loss, but I do know what keeps me on the right track and greatly increases my success.
I’m simplifying it down to five easy tips that will help you get started, drop the unhealthy weight, and give you the tools and success you need to create healthy habits and turn this into a lifestyle change.
Set Yourself Up for Success at Home
Fail to plan and plan to fail. This is true on so many levels with your nutrition. Planning is key and can help in so many ways.
- Prep quick and easy breakfasts (like ham & asparagus egg white cups or peanut butter banana overnight oats)
- Spend a day prepping meals for the week, or a few meals to freeze for moments when you need something healthy and quick
- Have healthy snacks prepped and ready to go so you are more likely to make the better choice. Cut and clean veggies, prep salads, keep fruit ready to go, pre-portion nuts, etc…
- Plan healthy meals and prepare early so there is no last-minute scramble that ends in a frozen pizza or mac and cheese.
If it will tempt you, don’t keep it around. My biggest obstacle is having things in the house that I shouldn’t eat because, after a fantastic day, I will sabotage myself at night if I see something bad in the house. I was most successful when I lived alone and never brought anything into the house that didn’t fit into my plan.
Plan times to exercise, schedule it in, and hold yourself to it. Give yourself no excuses.
If it rains when you plan to go for a run, have a backup. If the kids aren’t cooperating, make it something all of you can do together. It also helps to pre-commit and make plans with a friend, take a class with a set time, put it out there on social media and have others hold you accountable.
When I am more strict on myself, I track, I plan, and I see progress. When I start to let myself slide in areas, it is almost always a long slide before I get back on track and I find myself giving more and more and achieving less and less. Being honest with yourself is extremely important!
No one can do it alone. It’s possible, but you will have a lot more success of you find someone you can share your journey with. It is fantastic to find someone who is as happy for your successes as you are, and it can be extremely motivating to know there is someone out there rooting for you and keeping a close eye on your progress or struggle.
Reward Yourself Often
The ultimate reward is good health, confidence, and inspiring others.
However, those rewards are not immediate and there are definitely times when those will not keep you going. Smaller rewards and allowing yourself to keep feeling successful is so important!
Short-term goals will keep the fire lit underneath you and help you reach your ultimate goal.
There are a number of ways you can reward yourself.
- Financial Incentives. I’ve seen people pay themselves for workouts or weight loss. Money is a huge motivator, so this can be a huge motivator. We all know I’m a fan of Dietbets – my motivation is high when I know that I have control over whether I will lose my money and it feels great at the end to accomplish my goal and be rewarded double.
- Visual Rewards. I love visualizing your progress and giving yourself something to look at to feel proud or motivated further. A common method is putting marbles in a jar and transferring them over to another jar to show progress. When I was very successful with my weight loss in grad school, I made very small beaded bracelets for every two pounds lost and watched as they gathered on my arm. It was a constant visual each day of my goal and how far I had come.
- Rewards for Short-term goals. Rewards can be set for any accomplishment – pounds lost, non-scale victories, athletic achievements. The important thing is to find something that may motivate you further – new workout clothes, spendy exercise program, etc – and not rewarding with things that may set you back, such as food.
Often times it takes keeping a record of our behaviors for us to be able to step back and evaluate how we are doing and what changes need to be made. I notice a huge difference when I am honest and accurate with tracking my food and exercise. It makes me conscious of my choices and helps me to notice patterns that may need changing if I stall in my progress.
Speaking of progress, it is equally important to track where we’ve come from so we can celebrate our small victories and keep ourselves motivated. I am terrible about this! We always think we don’t want the embarrassing pictures, or we don’t want to know the numbers, but they are so fantastic to have!
When the scale doesn’t budge, it can be motivating to look at the numbers on a tape measure. When we’re unsure of whether our clothes are fitting any better, it can help keep us going to see a photo and notice small changes. We don’t notice it day to day, but every move forward is making a difference! We need to notice that and congratulate ourselves to keep going.
Make it Fun!
This is a big one!
What better way to keep motivated and successful than to have fun along the way. Keep trying different things until you find what makes you happy, and your chances of sticking with it and accomplishing your goals is so much greater!
Some ideas for making healthy living fun
- Keep switching it up. Try something new to keep it exciting and fun. Join a class, try a new video, spend the money on a great program. Anything to light a new fire and keep yourself moving in the right direction.
- Make it social. Get friends or family to join in on the fun. Plan outings that allow you to spend time with the people you love as well as staying active – hikes, bowling, swimming, skating, etc are all fun ways to spend time with people and barely notice the exercise.
- Challenge yourself. I’ve talked about how DietBets work for me, but there are many ways to find support and give yourself a goal – Instagram challenges, Facebook groups, exercise challenges such as planks or wall sits, clean eating groups, etc.
- Dress the part. I certainly enjoy a workout more in a new outfit. I’ve definitely headed out for a run just because I picked up new workout clothes at Kohls. New workout gear is a great way to make yourself look for a reason to put them on.
- Bulk up your home gym. Just as new clothes make you want to get I to them, new equipment encourages you to workout more often because it is right there in your house and ready whenever you are. I have some weights, kettlebells, a hula hoop (so fun), and I just picked up some furniture slides that I’m excited to use.