Are you desperate to lose weight quickly but you do not know where to start? Every time you climb on the scales or look in the mirror you think I need to lose weight. Time goes on and you still need to go on a diet but to be quite honest you don’t know where to start. It’s not laziness, it’s not that you are avoiding the matter is simply you just don’t know how.
People assume losing weight or going on a diet is a simple straight forward affair. We very well know that this is not the case. Whether being breaking the habits, or choosing the best diet for yourself, or what is a good diet or not, it is not as easy as it sounds.
In this article, I have summarised some steps and tips to help you start on the weight loss mission.
Step 1 – Consult a medical professional
Before you even think about any diet, if you suffer from any medical/health condition or have any health concerns consult the appropriate medical professional. Even if you know that losing weight is necessary due to a specific medical condition, do not just follow any diet, ask if the diet you are thinking of is appropriate or just ask for general guidance.
Not all weight loss regimes are appropriate for everybody and for some people changes in the diet may have detrimental effects to their health. Do not let the fact that you are desperate to lose weight take on your logic and force you into desperate measures. Your health is very important.
Step 2 – Find how much weight you want to lose.
It may sound not important but knowing how much weight you want to lose can help you decide on the type of diet regime you can follow. So do you want to just lose a couple of extra pounds, a few more or half of your current body?
Obviously the more weight you want to lose the longer it is going to take. Therefore, you should be looking at diet regimes that are designed for long term rather than shorter versions and vice versa. This does not mean that you cannot follow a long-term diet for a couple of months; the aim is to be realistic about your goals and stay away from desperate weight loss measures.
Step 3 – Be realistic about what your weight loss goals.
When choosing a weight loss regime be realistic in what you can expect from it. Yes there are hundreds of diets or methods which do promise the world and amazing weight loss results in less than 2 weeks etc. There may be exceptions and there may be some people whose body may work in extraordinary ways but in general do not expect to lose 10 lbs. in a week. If you have a lot of weight to lose, be prepared that it will take some time and there may be weeks which are slow, weeks which are fast or weeks where nothing is happening.
Each individual is different and each and every one will progress in a different way.
Step 4 – Keep a foods and drinks diary for a week
Record what you drink and eat for a week and you will learn a lot from it. You may already know that you eat too much or the wrong things but sometimes if you see it in writing and in detail you can find things which you never thought mattered. Keep it as detailed as possible as it is the small little things, such as the 2 sugars with coffee, or the sneaky biscuit in the office, which add up.
I remember a work colleague once who used to say to me that her big problem is picking. She would make the kids school lunch and have a packet of crisps or steal a couple of chips from the dinner plate and a piece of this and a piece of that….when she added them all up it was a big calorie surprise.
Step 5 – Find out your own diet style.
Let’s be clear here. No matter how good or healthy or successful a diet regime or method is, if it does not suit your needs it will not work. You may discipline yourself and follow it for a while but you will soon get fed up and hate the whole thing and eventually give up.
Losing weight can be hard to do for some people, so imagine if you are doing it in a way which is wrong for you. By all means even if you are desperate to lose weight, I would never recommend following a regime which may be harmful to your health just because it suits your style, so don’t go swallowing any tape warms in a hurry.
Ask yourself the questions: ‘What foods do I like to eat?’ ‘Do I have a busy schedule and eat out a lot?’ ‘Do I hate cooking and depend on ready meals?’ ‘Do I like a strict specific diet or do I prefer something more flexible?’
Ask as many questions you can think which will help you determine which way is the best way to go about losing weight. If you feel you can’t do it without support then maybe you should consider a diet club such as ‘weight watchers’ or ‘slimming world’ and so on.
Step 6 – Research about diet regimes
There are hundreds of weight loss programsout there and there are some ‘Diet reviews’ as well. Read what each diet has to offer, how does it work and what scientific evidence is there for it. Once you know all the above, like how much weight you need to lose and what style of diet suits you then look what diets are out there.
It may sound long winded but there are some important points here:
1. You are actually following something you like,
2. To the best of your ability you have found something which is safe and does not have massive health risks.
3. You are not wasting your money or energy in the process.
Step 7 – Plan
Ok, you worked out most of the above and you have found a nice little regime for you self or maybe you want something simple healthy and flexible. Before you start getting confused or lost in the process, plan.
When are you starting the diet? Usually at the beginning of the week is best but if for other reasons it doesn’t suit you set a day. Be realistic however, don’t start a diet the week you have that dinner party, or wedding or holiday trip etc but don’t use it as an excuse either. If you have more reasons not to start the diet constantly well maybe you should go back to square 0 and find if you really want to lose weight.
Make a list of the foods / menus / your diet plan and pin it in the kitchen & keep a copy in your bag. Whether it is a set diet plan or a flexible one or a DIY one have it pinned in the kitchen. You can refer to it any time you need. Keep it in your bag so if you are out you can have an idea about what your diet plan suggests etc.
Write your shopping list and do your shopping. What ingredients do you need for your meals for the week? Make sure you have them all as not having what you want on the day can make you get frustrated or deviate from your diet.
Step 8 – Exercise
Exercise can help you lose weight and also benefit your health and if that doesn’t really matter to you eventually you do look good. Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean join the gym. As with a diet regime choose the type which suits you best. Find what you like, and if you are unsure about it try different things. A lot of gyms do free day passes for trial or you may be able to buy one or two passes individually.
Other ideas include trying a sport such as football, basketball, tennis etc. Alternatively you can try exercise classes, dancing classes, cycling clubs. There are all sorts of options and activities on offer to choose from.
If money is an issue you can sill exercise for free. Try going running or even just walking, use the stairs instead of the elevator, go cycling in the park.
Points to remember:
- Consult a medical professional. Similarly with dieting, if you suffer from any health conditions/complaints or have any concerns consult a medical professional.
- Do you need to diet? For some people exercise alone may be enough to help them lose weight and/or sustain their current weight. If your issue is a couple of pounds and in general you follow a balanced healthy diet exercise may just balance that extra biscuit now and then.
- Exercise alone is not the answer for everybody and for all your problems. Well just because you started exercising or do exercise doesn’t mean that you can get away with a nutritional murder. At the end of the day if you do consume more calories than you use, you will put on weight (unless there are underlying health issues or the gifted few who never put on weight).
In addition, if you are desperate to lose weight and have more than a couple of pounds to lose exercise alone may be a slow process or may not be enough.
Step 9 – Which is the best way to go?
You worked everything out but still you are not sure which one is the best way to go? The healthy way is a balanced healthy diet however, for many people it doesn’t really explain anything and is general and confusing.
In general a healthy balanced diet is one which includes all nutrients and from a variety of sources. In simple words it has a little bit of everything. Opt for fresh ingredients and avoid takeaways, fast food, deep fried foods, processed foods etc.
Step 10 – Lifestyle approach
A weight loss regime, no matter how good it is, will only achieve what is meant to achieve, weight loss. But this is what you wanted, yes? Well whatever the reason was making you put on weight in the first place will still the same unless you remove that reason. Is it too much food to blame, or the wrong kind of food, or sedentary lifestyle or all of the above?
Looking at weight loss as a way to change your lifestyle towards a healthier way rather than a magic temporary pill will probably have a lot more long term benefits. When making decisions and choices is always best to look at the long term goals.