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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 November 20, 2018

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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2. You put the cart before the horse.

“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

3. You don’t believe in yourself.

A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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6. You don’t enjoy the process.

Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

7. You’re trying too hard.

Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

8. You don’t track your progress.

Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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9. You have no social support.

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

10. You know your what but not your why.

The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

  • The more specific you can make your goal,
  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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