Eight Weight Loss Tips
Need to lose weight? Here are some proven tips to get you there!
In today’s world of increased obesity, many people are concerned about losing weight and staying healthy. There are tons of options available to help people lose weight but not all of them are healthy. As someone who has two children, I have been through the tough experience of having to lose weight. I also study nutrition and exercise so I have learned and utilized some great tips on how to lose weight. Losing weight takes time, patience and most importantly, diligence but you can do it!
1. Find out Where You Are
There is a saying that you cannot figure out where you are going until you know where you are. This may be the most painful part of losing weight but hang in there. Just remember that you are about to take some very important steps to lose those extra pounds and inches. Let this time be a motivation to you instead of discouragement.
There are two types of measurements you will want to take in order to see where you currently stand. The first is your weight. You will want to use a reliable scale that will tell you your weight in pounds and ounces. You will also need to take note of how much clothing you are wearing and what time of day it is. The second type of measurement is in inches. You will need to take down your current measurements. It is best to have someone help you with this so that the measurements will be accurate. You will need to measure and take note of the following areas:
- Upper chest (1” below your armpit)
- Bust (fullest measurement)
- Midriff (1” below breast)
- Upper arm (2” below armpit)
- Waist (smallest measurement)
- Upper hip (3” below waist)
- Lower hip (fullest measurement)
- Upper thigh (1” below groin)
- Middle thigh (fullest measurement)
- Calf (fullest measurement)
After you have taken down your weight and measurements look at them and evaluate where you really stand as far as you weight loss needs. You may not be as far from your ideal weight as you think. In fact, you may not need to lose any weight at all. To find out, you will want to figure out what your BMI is. BMI stands for body mass index. It is a measurement of body fat based on your weight and height. It is not a perfect measurement but it does tell you how far you are from the healthy weight for your height. There are several web sites that will calculate your BMI for you and explain more about what this number means. One of the best is http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/. You can also find out your BMI from your doctor or from a personal trainer at your local gym.
At this point it may also be a good idea to go to your doctor for a check- up, especially if you have any health concerns. Losing weight requires a change in diet as well as physical activity. Before making these changes you need to make sure that there are not any restrictions or health issues you need to be conscious of; if there are, your doctor can help you treat them so that you do not injure yourself.
Now that you’ve figured out your weight, measurements, and BMI, you are probably feeling ready to jump right in. Before you do my I suggest you take some time to set some goals for yourself. Goals are great to have, especially when it comes to losing weight, because it gives you something specific to work towards. It is easier to stay motivated when you think about losing 15 pounds instead of just losing weight.
You will want to make specific goals for both your weight and your measurements. It is also a good idea to have a timeline in mind for when you would like to complete your goals. A specific timeline will keep you from procrastinating and from being tempted to stray from your exercise or diet plan. Remember to keep your goals as specific as possible. You also want to make sure that the goal is challenging but realistic. If your goals are unrealistic, you will become very frustrated, very easily but if they are not challenging, you are more likely to slack off or give into temptation.
Once you set your goals, you need to write them down and put them somewhere you can see them every day. This will help keep you motivated and it will give you something to look at when you feel discouragement creep in. Another little trick, that worked great for me was to purchase an item of clothing that you love, something you have had your eye on for a long time. Purchase it in your goal size, throw away the receipt and hang this item of clothing somewhere in your bedroom, so that you will see it every day. Seeing the beautiful dress I had bought myself, hanging in my room every day, and knowing that I would not be able to return it, was a big motivator and helped me stay on track and reach my weight loss goals.
3. Account for your success!
Once you have set goals for yourself, you will need to hold yourself accountable. This will help you reach your goals and it will serve as a motivational tool as you work hard to lose the weight.
One way to do this is to keep a journal. Journals are great because they are so personal that you can keep them however you want. I think the best method is to either write it or type it because then you can see the numbers and it is easier to do the math. However you can also keep a video, blog, or picture journal; whatever fits your personality and makes you comfortable.
Studies have shown that when we have a goal, we are more likely to reach it if we share that goal with someone we trust; that makes this next step essential for weight loss. Find someone you trust and love who cares about you and who will not be judgmental. This needs to be someone who is going to support and uplift you the whole way, no matter what your goals are. This person will be your mentor. You are going to be sharing your successes with them, as well as your discouragements; so you want someone who is going to celebrate with you in times of happiness and not say “I told you so” when things go badly. Tell your mentor about your goals, your feelings, your diet and your workouts; anything you feel comfortable sharing with them so that they can help you in this process.
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4. You Are What You Eat
Ok, so you have seen where you are and you have established and written down your goals. Where do you go from here? I feel the most important place to start is with your diet. Weight loss is about 60% diet which makes it very influential. Another words, if you want or need to lose weight, you have to change your diet. Here are a few healthy and easy ways to change your diet.
Increase you fruit and vegetable intake. Most of us, especially in the United States, do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. This is unfortunate because they are packed full of nutrients and fiber. A lot of fresh fruits and vegetables are delicious and filling too. The more fruits and vegetables you eat, the less junk food you will be tempted to eat. This does not mean you need to change your entire diet overnight. Small steps are important to take and they are less discouraging than trying to make a big change all at once, so there is nothing wrong with baby steps.
Increasing your whole grain intake is also important when working toward a weight loss goal. You want to avoid the trendy but unbalanced carbohydrate free diets that are so popular right now. These diets are bad because our brain requires carbohydrates in order to function properly and so do many other parts of our bodies. Instead, switch your carbohydrates to whole grains. Again, they have a lot of fiber and nutrients that our bodies need, especially for exercise. When shopping for whole grain foods, you want to look at the food label for the fiber content. If it contains three grams of fiber or more, you know that it is truly a whole grain food.
Water, water, water! As you work to lose weight, you will need to drink more water. If you do not drink enough water, the cells in your body hold onto as much water as possible in order to prevent dehydration. This includes your fat cells so, in order to help shrink your fat cells you will need to drink a lot of water.
Another quick tip about food is to shrink your portion size. You need to eat less in order to weigh less. When I say eat less, I do not mean starve yourself or skip meals. You need to cut back a little. Your doctor or personal trainer can help you figure out what your daily calorie intake should be. Once you find that out, stick to it and you will reach your goal a lot faster.
Scientists have recently discovered that those who eat less sugar, or reduce their sugar intake, lose weight and become healthier faster than those who just reduced their fat intake. When I heard this I decided to give it a try. I cut out refined sugar for two weeks. I did not change anything else about my diet, just got rid of the sugar. I lost eight pounds and went down one dress size! I could not believe it! I also felt better. It was great! I have worked to keep refined sugar out of my diet ever since and I am healthier than I've been in 3 years!! It works people!
5. Time to Work It!
So here is one of my favorite parts of weight loss; exercise! For some this may be the most difficult part, especially if it has been a while since you have had a regular exercise routine. Don’t worry, there are a lot of options out there for people at all levels of experience and activity level.
First of all, keep in mind that there is no such thing as a wrong exercise. Any physical activity is good for you and will help you lose weight. So if you want to start out by walking then go for it! The best exercise for you to do is something that you enjoy. Then it is less like work and more like fun which makes it easier to stay motivated.
What if you have never worked out or you do not know what you like? This is a great time to ask for help. Do you have a gym near you? Where there are gyms, there is exercise equipment and personal trainers. Many gyms offer a free session with a personal trainer when you join. There are also some insurance companies that reimburse part of your gym fees if you attend a certain number of times every month, which makes it a great financial decision. A personal trainer is a great person to go to for help. They can help you get started on a workout routine that you will enjoy, they can tailor your routine to any health issues or injuries you may have and they are great at keeping you motivated. Do not be shy to ask them for help or questions, that’s what they are there for.
Want to work out at home? Great! I would still recommend some time with a personal trainer but there are a lot of work out programs that you can do in the privacy of your home. My favorite is “The Firm Express” by Gaiam. Go to www.firmexpress.com for more information about their incredible work out videos.
Whatever you choose to do for exercise, remember to work hard and push yourself. One of the best feelings in the world is to go home from the gym feeling tired because you worked your tail off!
Vitamin supplements are always important but they become essential when you increase your activity level and/ or change your diet. Vitamins fill in some of the gaps that are missed in our diet. When your body is stressed because of illness, fatigue or even weight loss, it uses a lot of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to keep it in optimal performance. These nutrients need to be replaced and a healthy diet, paired with daily vitamin supplements is the way to do it.
There are a million different types of vitamin supplements available but do not feel overwhelmed. Here are some things you need to keep in mind. You will need a supplement that will digest well and absorb well. You also want one that offers a good dose of the following vitamins and minerals: vitamin D, C, A, B calcium and magnesium. These are all vitamins and minerals that are essential for certain functions of the body such as muscle function and digestion, as well as general well-being.
7. Keep it up!
Whenever any of us start something new, it is really easy to stay motivated at first. Then we get into week two, when we are tired and sore and we sometimes find ourselves wondering if all this hard work is worth it. This is when we need some motivation, a little boost to keep us going.
The need for motivation is one of the reasons I recommend finding a mentor. Having another person on this journey with you is motivational because you know they are rooting for you and you do not want to let them down. They are also there to help you when you are feeling discouraged. Share your feelings with them so that they can help you feel inspired and pumped again. Share the results of your weekly and monthly follow-ups with this person so that they can celebrate your success with you. Personal trainers are great for motivation too and that is part of their job description, so do not be afraid to let them know when you need help.
There are some other things that help keep you motivated as you work on losing weight. One great way is the change up your workout routine often. This gives you a new challenge and changing things up will also help you lose weight faster. A journal of your ongoing progress is a great motivator also because it will remind you of where you came from and where you are going. This is where the goals you have written down come in handy. Remember that with some diligence you will reach you goals.
When working toward a goal we are always anxious to find out how close we are getting; especially when it comes to losing weight. You will need to have regular follow-up sessions but you want to do them correctly. Following-up on your weight loss too often can cause discouragement and frustration so I’m going to tell you how to avoid that.
First, the weigh-in. Da da da!! Do not be afraid and make sure that you stay positive. Weight can fluctuate dramatically from day to day depending on hormones, water intake, time of day, etc. So, do not weigh yourself every day. You should weigh in no more than once a week. Make sure you wear about the same amount of clothing and that your weigh in occurs on the same day of the week, during the same time of day every week. Also keep in mind that muscle weighs more than fat but takes up less space in our body, so even if you do not see a huge drop in weight every week, you will see a big change in the way your clothes fit.
Measurements should happen about once a month because that is when you will see the most dramatic change. Measure the same places every time (as listed above, in tip #1) and do not forget to record all these changes so that you can watch the numbers go down.
Once you have reached your goal it is time to take a look at your new BMI as you will be in a healthier percentage and it may also be time to make a follow-up visit with your doctor. I think you will be surprised at how much healthier you are, even if you’ve only lost a few pounds!
Finally, it is time to celebrate! Revel in your success. Invite family and friends over, get your hair and makeup done and put on that new dress that has been waiting for you in the closet. The compliments and praise you will receive will boost your new found confidence even more! Remember to give plenty of recognition and thanks to the person or people who helped you along the way. Most importantly, enjoy your new self!
Nothing that is worth value is ever easy to obtain but it is definitely worth it. Apart from looking better than I ever had, the knowledge that I had set out to do something difficult and had accomplished it was a huge boost to my confidence and it really changed my life. I know that this weight loss journey will do the same for you. The hard work, diligence and patience that go into this endeavor are of endless worth. Keep moving forward, do not give up and you will get there!
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