So, you’ve decided to take charge of your weight and become a fitter version of yourself. That’s commendable! But let’s keep it real – the road to weight loss can be a bit rocky. It requires dedication, persistence, and a basic understanding of nutrition.
Initially, you might be a bit overwhelmed since the weight loss space is a bit different from what you’re used to, but if you’re on a sustainable diet, you’ll get used to it with time and start to enjoy it.
Let’s take a quick look at 5 things you need to do to lose weight sustainably:
1. Set Realistic Goals
You may be tempted to achieve your dream body in a flash, but you must slow down if you’ll lose weight in a sustainable way. Findings from research show that losing 1-2 pounds per week is a healthy and attainable target. Anything beyond this may disrupt your body’s metabolic processes. You have to apply the same SMART rule that you use to achieve other goals to your body goals. By setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound body goals, you can avoid feelings of frustration and disappointments accompanying unrealistic goals. Quickly grab a pen and write out your SMART body goals!
- Specific: Instead of saying, ‘I want to shed some weight,’ switch to ‘I want to lose 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of my body weight’. That is specific; you can write that down and put it anywhere where it’s easy to see. Aim for a gradual and steady weight loss of 0.5 to 1 kg (1 to 2 pounds) per week, which is generally considered sustainable and healthier.
- Measurable: How will you track your progress? Will you weigh yourself weekly? Keep a food diary? Stick to small portion sizes of foods? Avoid processed foods? Avoid alcohol or reduce it to 1 glass per week. Write down the changes you want to measure to ensure success.
- Achievable: It’s crucial to set goals and strategies that will challenge you slightly but within reach. For instance, Based on a safe and sustainable rate of weight loss, I will lose 5 to 1 kilogram per week, which is achievable. Also, check your strategies. Can you exercise 1 hour daily to achieve weight loss, or 45mins is more possible? Find a realistic balance that will challenge you but also be achievable.
- Relevant: Are your weight loss goals relevant to your health or just the dress size? While dress size is valid, it could put you under unnecessary pressure, especially if the dress you’re trying to fit into is way small. But when you set body weight goals relevant to your health, it takes the pressure off you. For example, ‘I want to lose weight to increase my energy level, be more flexible, and reduce my risk of chronic conditions.
- Time-bound: It’s essential to set a timeframe for your goals. Break down your main goal of losing 10 kg into smaller milestones with specific completion dates. For example, You already set 0.5-1kg per week. How long will it take to lose 10kg? That’s like 10 weeks if you stick to your measurable strategies.
Let’s put it all together: “I will lose 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of body weight within 10 weeks by reducing my portion of meals, avoiding sodas, and engaging in regular physical activity. I will track my progress by weighing myself weekly, keeping a food diary, and adjusting my approach as needed.”
2. Navigate Emotional Eating
Emotional eating is that sneaky villain that tries to hijack your progress. We’ve all been there; Stress, boredom, or sadness can make you crave food like never before. Research suggests that emotional eating is associated with greater body mass index (BMI) and poorer weight loss outcomes.
It’s like a lightbulb moment when people realize,’ I eat even when I am not really hungry!’
How do you intend to overcome the emotional triggers that cause you to overeat? You can take a walk, remove junk from your refrigerator and stick with fruits and veggies, jot down your thoughts, or chat with a friend. Once you release the emotions tied to overeating, you’ll experience the freedom to make healthier food choices.
3. Build a Healthy Plate
Now, let’s talk about constructing a plate that screams balance. Imagine your plate as a canvas, and you’re the artist. You can control calorie intake by prioritizing nutrient-dense foods while ensuring optimal nutrition. Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables like ugwu, kale, broccoli, spinach, or peppers, as they are low in calories and high in fiber, aiding in satiety. Let a quarter of your plate be for lean protein sources, such as chicken, fish, or tofu, which can help preserve muscle mass during weight loss. The remaining quarter should be for whole grains like quinoa or brown rice, providing sustained energy and essential nutrients.
4. Mindful Eating
Practicing mindful eating can transform your relationship with food and support weight loss efforts. Research indicates that mindfulness-based interventions can reduce emotional eating. How do you practice mindful eating? Chew slowly and savor each bite, paying attention to flavors and textures. Tune in to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Eat when you’re truly hungry, and stop eating when you feel comfortably satisfied. Avoid distractions like television or smartphones during meals, which can lead to mindless overeating. By being present and aware, you’ll be more in tune with your body’s signals of fullness and satisfaction.
5. Stay Active
Regular physical activity is essential for weight loss and overall well-being. Engaging in both cardiovascular (aerobic) exercises and strength training can help you burn calories, build lean muscle mass, and increase metabolism. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Find activities you enjoy, such as walking, cycling, dancing, or swimming, and incorporate strength training exercises to further enhance your weight loss efforts.
There you have it – your guide to overcoming weight loss challenges and embracing a healthier lifestyle. By setting realistic goals, managing emotional eating, building balanced plates, and savoring each bite mindfully, you’ll be on your way to sustainable weight loss. Remember, this journey is unique to you, so take it one step at a time. Don’t hesitate to seek support from registered dietitians when necessary for personalized counseling. Now, go ahead and slay your body weight goals. You’ve got this!