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Six Ways to Kickstart Your Weight Loss

Six Ways to Kickstart Your Weight Loss

Whether you’re at the beginning of your weight loss journey or are getting back on the wagon after a break, knowing how to get going can be tricky. Starting or re-establishing a healthy lifestyle can seem like an overwhelming venture, but try not to let yourself feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. Here are some easy, effective strategies to get your eating, exercise and mindset back on track without stress, hassle or wasted time…

1. Form a new habit each week

One of the reasons we find healthy life transformations daunting is because we imagine ourselves suddenly switching from how we’re living right now to something totally different: leaping out of bed at 5 am, downing a protein shake and hitting the gym for two hours before work. But seriously – personal trainers live like this, not regular people. You don’t have to aspire to such things! Commit to making a healthy change each week, like having a healthy breakfast or going for a daily walk, and you’ll start changing your lifestyle at a steady, sustainable pace.

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2. Use the 80/20 rule

When it comes eating, I always recommend the 80/20 rule – eat well 80% of the time, give yourself a break the remaining 20%. You can use a similar approach more broadly, too – think of it in these terms: what’s the 20% effort you can put in in order to get back 80% results? This isn’t being lazy or cutting corners, it’s being smart and efficient. For example, choose exercises that give you more bang for your buck and choose meals that are fast, healthy and filling – the time and energy required for these aren’t huge, but they’ll still net huge gains for your mind and body.

3. Be accountable

This is a big one – any weight loss attempt requires you to be accountable in order to succeed. And the most important person you need to be accountable to is yourself. Keep a food and/or exercise diary to help yourself stay on track and to maintain your motivation. Whatever you want to gain from your weight loss journey, remember – you’re the one who has the power to make that reality. So stop thinking and start doing.

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4. Get enough sleep

One of the reasons sleep is so important is because it affects your appetite and energy levels. Not getting enough sleep – anything less than about seven hours a night – can create a vicious cycle of unhealthy habits. If you’re tired, you don’t feel like exercising or cooking a nutritious dinner; you also tend to reach for caffeine and sugary snacks to give yourself a boost. Physiologically, your metabolism slows down. Lack of sleep affects the two hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin. Leptin is the hormone that tells your brain that you feel full, and if you don’t catch enough shut-eye, your leptin levels drop.

Make a conscious effort to go to bed earlier than normal. During the afternoon, avoid anything that might make you feel ‘buzzed’, like coffee or sugar. Avoid exercising in the evenings, too, as this can end up making you feel more alert when you should be winding down for rest. And for about an hour prior to hitting the sack, don’t use your computer or phone, even if it’s just to browse Facebook – looking at a screen before you try going to sleep can also make you feel more awake.

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5. Ask for help if you need it

Not sure if you’re doing things right? Don’t know if you’re getting the results you should be? Want to push yourself harder but can’t work out where to begin? Make it your business to find out. That might mean hiring a personal trainer or getting an exercise buddy – whatever you think is going to suit your personality. Health and fitness is an information minefield – full of dead ends – and having someone well informed help you through it can make all the difference.

6. Find your reason why

Why do you want to lose weight? The reasons have to mean something to you – not anyone else (remember that before you fall prey to other people’s judgements – it’s not their body and it’s not their business!). Figuring out why you’re doing this – for your health? For the sake of your kids? To look like a knockout in that dress you used to fit into? Use it to get motivated and develop your healthy living mindset.

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The results of all these changes you’re making should be like side effects of what you’re doing – in other words, your journey shouldn’t feel tough or impossible or thankless. It should feel right – of course it’ll be hard sometimes, but the pay-off is worth it, right? And the trick to lasting weight loss is making lasting changes – not finding a few things to do differently for eight weeks before returning to your former habits once you’ve dropped some kilos.

Create your healthy living plan. Implement it in small, manageable steps. And get results that’ll last for life.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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