5 Easy Tips for Weight Loss

Losing Weight Without Losing Yourself

For those who have come to a point of truly wanting to change their lives for the better, losing weight is about much, much more than counting calories and jogging around the block a few times. There has to be a dedication to making real, permanent changes in not just one's diet and activity level, but one's entire outlook on life and day to day behaviours. This is difficult in and of itself, but is made just that much harder by the fear that one will lose themselves entirely in the process. That all the things that make you you will be stripped away. That you'll never be able to really have fun again. These tips were designed to not only be easy to apply, but to ease those fears.

1. Create a List of Healthy Foods You Enjoy

A major part of the reason so many people fail in their attempts to diet or make healthier choices is that the foods they're told to eat are foods they just don't like. Few are going to be satisfied eating cabbage soup, or forgoing all carbs. Those who love steak aren't going to maintain an all tofu diet, and those who love pasta aren't going to be happy with a raw tomato and baby carrot replacement. If one really wants to succeed, meal plans absolutely must be made up of foods one truly enjoys.

We all like healthy foods - even the fast food obsessed, chocolate fueled among us can undoubtedly name a dozen fruits, vegetables, and grains they like. Create a list of those items. Go buy those items. Seeing a fridge and pantry full of foods you truly love will make it far easier to stick to a healthy diet. You should not have to sacrifice taste to make healthier choices.

2. Create a List of Activities You Enjoy

It's likely becoming obvious that I'm a fan of lists. There's a reason for that: they work. Getting healthier is a positive thing, and it should feel like a positive thing. It's tough to maintain a change in lifestyle if you hate every minute of it, so it's incredibly important to your goal of being more active to do things you enjoy.

I, for example, am not very active by nature. I'm more the type who lays in the grass and reads a book all day. I do, however, like to walk, go for bike rides, and play games in the yard. So, rather than force myself to do activities I wouldn't enjoy, I instead challenge myself to do what I do enjoy a bit more each day. Walk a block farther. Cycle a bit faster. Bet my husband dinner that I can beat him at a game of bocce.

Creating a list of activities you'll actually enjoy not only makes it easier to get fit, it has the added benefits of breaking up the monotony of the day to day, and ensuring you and your family or friends share some laughs every day.

What Is Your Favourite Activity?

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Quinoa, coconut, and curry salad cups, ready to freeze.
Quinoa, coconut, and curry salad cups, ready to freeze. | Source

3. Pre-Make Meals and Snacks

It's much easier to stick to a healthy diet when you have easy access to nutritious, tasty choices. Pre-made meals ensure you always have a quick, delicious, healthy option at your fingertips.

Going back to #1, creating a list of healthy foods you enjoy is vital. Turning those items into meals is just as important. Spending half a day pre-making meals for the week, or even month, can make all the difference to your success. If you're unsure where to start, worry not. There are countless recipes and guides to help you along, and once you've got the feel for them, your own ideas are sure to begin flowing.

Pro-tip: non-stick muffin tins are an absolute necessity.

4. Join Forums and Groups

No matter how dedicated you are, how hard you work, or how strong your will, there will be days you feel like giving up. Joining forums, discussion groups, support groups, or even just looking up motivational images and words can provide the constant encouragement many of us need.

No matter one's personality type, we're all more likely to succeed if we don't feel alone in our struggles. Talking to people who are in your same boat, hearing how they chose to get through the day, seeing their accomplishments, knowing it's not easy for them either, can make all the difference in the world on a difficult day. Some days, we need others to encourage us, and others, we need to be the encouragement. Lifestyle changes are never easy, even if some people make them look that way. Get to know those going in your direction, and you'll find a never-ending supply of support and motivation.

Holiday cheat extravaganza!
Holiday cheat extravaganza! | Source

5. Cheat Healthy

The idea of "cheat day" has become more and more popular among fitness experts in recent years. Aware of the fact that depriving oneself of everything one enjoys is not likely to lead to success, experts have taken to recommending setting aside one day a week where one can do whatever one wants. Sleep all day. Eat a Big Mac. Skip your workout. The logic behind this is sound: it's nearly impossible to maintain a lifestyle in which you never get to indulge in something you really enjoy. The problem is, for those of us with willpower problems, a single day of indulgence can make the following days much harder to get through.

Through much personal experience, and some wonderful advice from honest experts, I've found that the best solution is learning how to "cheat healthy". Rather than stocking up on cheesecake and Bailey's for cheat day, I now opt for some brie and crackers, a dollop of ranch dressing on my salad, or some flavoured cream in my morning coffee. Just a little taste of richness is now more than enough to satisfy my cravings, and it doesn't throw me so far off track that I need to spend days crawling back.

Allow yourself a cheat day. Allow yourself some indulgence. But try to remember that you are making these changes because you genuinely want to be healthier and improve your life.

You CAN Be a Healthier You

It is absolutely possible to remain who you are, whilst becoming a healthier version of that person. Any diet or exercise regime that requires you give up everything you enjoy and engage in only that which you hate is not going to work. End of. The key to success is recognizing that you are making these changes because you love yourself, and want to be the best you you can be. Take it slow, take it easy, and don't forget to enjoy yourself along the way.

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