If you have ever tried to lose weight, you have probably been only partially successful.
You may have ditched your diet before reaching your target weight or, perhaps, regained some of the weight you lost.
Don’t worry – you are not alone.
A whopping 95% of dieters fail to reach or maintain their weight loss goal.
The diets themselves!
Diets are, as a rule, very restrictive and designed for short term use only – a few days to a month or two at the most.
Then, once the diet is done, most people return to their previously unhealthy eating habits.
It’s this on again/off again approach to losing weight that is the problem.
Losing weight and then keeping it off requires a wholesale change in behaviors and habits and that doesn’t happen overnight.
It takes time to change attitudes to eating and food and those changes often take a while to stick.
However, you can speed up the process of change by focusing on doing just one thing per day for a week.
Follow these tips for seven days and, by the end of the week, you’ll be well on your way to changing your attitudes to both food and exercise as well as jumpstarting your weight loss journey.
Sunday – Clean Out Your Cupboards
If you own it, you’ll eat it. This “rule” is pretty much set in stone.
You might think that your willpower will allow you to resist the call of those cookies lurking in your kitchen cabinets but willpower cannot be relied upon!
At some point, in a moment of weakness, you WILL eat those cookies and undo much of your progress.
Eliminate the need for willpower by cleaning out your cupboards, refrigerator and freezer and tossing out any and all fattening, unhealthy junk foods.
Give them to a neighbor or goodwill if you don’t want to throw them in the trash.
Now, when you start craving junk food, you will not be able to simply stroll into the kitchen and help yourself.
This is a big step towards easier weight loss.
Monday – Breakfast Like a King!
Breakfast is arguably the most important meal of the day.
A good breakfast gives you energy to face the morning and can help prevent mid-morning hunger pangs and cravings.
However, most breakfast food is nothing but sugary junk!
Cereals, granola bars, pre-made shakes and smoothies, toaster pastries, waffles, donuts – junk, junk, JUNK!
Eating a lot of sugar immediately on rising starts what can be best thought of as an energy roller coaster; one minute you’re up, the next minute you’re down and need more sugar to get you up again.
All that sugar is quickly and easily converted to fat.
Exactly the opposite of what you want.
So, skip the sugary cereal (you should have thrown it out yesterday anyway) and enjoy a healthier breakfast such as:
- Real oatmeal
- Greek yogurt plus chopped walnuts and raw honey
- Scrambled eggs and smoked salmon or bacon
- Vegetable and cheese omelette
- Homemade banana and whey protein smoothie
Tuesday – Pack a Lunch
If your lunch normally consists of a whatever you can buy at the local convenience store or a takeout from a nearby restaurant, you are probably eating more than you should.
Convenience food might be, well, convenient, but it’s not usually very healthy and is definitely going to be high in calories.
Take control over what you eat for lunch by making it yourself.
Take a few minutes before or after breakfast to rustle up a large salad with grilled chicken, turkey, or tuna with a light olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.
Make sure you include a variety of vegetables like lettuce, shredded carrot, red or yellow peppers, cucumbers, spring onions, tomatoes, and whatever else you can chop up and eat raw.
Store in an airtight food container in a cool bag and then enjoy your homemade, healthy lunch knowing you have just saved yourself hundreds of calories plus a few dollars too.
Not a fan of salads?
How about a big, filling bowl of homemade vegetable soup?
Store in a thermos and then enjoy with low-salt crackers or wholemeal bread.
Wednesday – Plan Your Snacks and Make ‘em Healthy
Snacks are an important part of any weight loss diet; they help hold you over between meals, prevent cravings, and also give you something to look forward to.
Unfortunately, most store-bought snacks are unhealthy and fattening.
There is no need to quit snacks just because you are trying to lose weight but you will need to snack wisely!
Instead of cookies and candy bars, plan your snacks in advance so you have something healthy to eat during your mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks.
Good examples include:
- Carrot sticks and hummus
- Celery sticks and peanut butter
- Sliced apple with cheddar cheese
- Beef jerky
- Small pot of no sugar added fruit yogurt
- Small protein bar
- 1-2 ounces raw nuts
- 1-2 pieces of fresh fruit
Thursday – Take a 30-Minute Walk
Walking is probably the most underrated form of exercise.
It’s easy on your joints, good for your heart and lungs, and can be done almost anywhere and anytime.
You don’t require any specialist equipment and not do you have to have any particular athletic skills.
Today, make it your mission to go out and walk for 30-minutes.
Don’t dawdle – walk with purpose – but you don’t have to try and turn it into a race either.
You should feel slightly out of breath but still comfortable enough to chat with a friend.
It doesn’t matter when you do your walk – before breakfast, after lunch, before going to bed; just get up, get out, and do it!
Friday – Chew It!
Today you are going to practice eating mindfully.
This simply means that instead of eating on the go, in front of the TV or while otherwise distracted, you are going to eat your meals slowly and while being aware of what you are eating and how it makes you feel.
Eating mindfully will help you re-establish the link between your brain and your stomach.
Many of us eat out of habit, eat more than we need, eat without appreciating our food, or otherwise disengage our brains from our stomachs.
Do these things to eat more mindfully…
- Eat at a dining table and not in front of the TV or in your car.
- Eat slowly and monitor how full you feel. Stop eating when you are no longer hungry and not just when your plate is empty.
- Chew each mouthful of food thoroughly. No need to count chews but 15-20 is about right.
- Put your cutlery down between mouthfuls.
- Do not have a second portion or dessert immediately after finishing your meal; wait 30 minutes to see if you are still hungry.
Saturday – Plan Your Menu for the Coming Week
Planning your menu in advance makes it much easier to make smart decisions about the food you eat.
If you get home from work and you are hungry, it’s all too easy to dial up a pizza or grab some junk food.
But, if you have already planned and even prepared a healthy meal in advance, you are less likely to go off the rails.
With this in mind, spend today planning your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for the coming week.
Then, from this menu, create a shopping list.
Go and buy those groceries – and only those groceries – so you have exactly what you need for the coming seven days.
Tomorrow, try and make a few of your main meals in advance and freeze them to make sticking to your menu even easier.
THE BOTTOM LINE
A journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step and weight loss is no different.
Making small but regular steps will take you much closer to your weight loss goals than an unsustainable sprint.
Keep on looking for small things you can do to lose weight and forget the “do or die” diets; they simply don’t work.
Instead, make small changes that add up over time to become habitual.
Long-term habits are much more valuable than even the most popular short-term diet.