I Want to Lose Weight: What Is the Best Way to Start?
“Where do I start if I want to lose weight?” I think I have heard this question hundreds of times over my last 10 years in the fitness industry. While everyone’s blueprint for weight loss will (and should) be different, there are definitely certain starting blocks that work for absolutely everyone. You’re not alone if you don’t know where to start. There are tons of people just like you and you should not feel ashamed or embarrassed to ask this question. But hopefully this posting will answer this question and you won’t need to ask it anymore – that’s my goal!
Where to start for weight loss:
This is the #1 most important thing ever. YOU have to decide that you’re sick of the way you’ve been living and it’s time for a change. YOU have to hit that point – no one will be able to force you to do it. YOU have to put in the work every day, so this commitment and decision have to come from YOU! I’ve worked with people before who hadn’t fully decided but hired me as a trainer anyway. It was very obvious because the drive, determination and any spark were gone quickly. In fact, many even lied to me about what they were eating or would hide it from me when I would enter the room! Hmmm….this is for YOU (not me!). It absolutely has to be for YOU!
2. Go for a walk
Walking has incredible benefits and you can do it anytime, anywhere. Walking is a low-stress, low-impact form of exercise (unlike running and jumping) and is an excellent fat burner. Just lace up your walking shoes, running shoes, training shoes (whatever!) and go! This is the perfect time to listen to motivational podcasts, your favorite playlist or an audio book. Don’t think, just walk!
3. Create a vision board
Go through a bunch of magazines and cut out pictures of your dream life, body, mindset, house, etc. Put it all on a cork or poster board and hang it up in a place that you’ll see every day. Look at it, envision what it feels like to reach those goals (yes, you can close your eyes) and DECIDE that you will get there no matter what. I have a lot of pictures of Oprah Winfrey and Jillian Michaels on my vision board. And I often touch their heart and then touch mine – as if to transfer the heart of these people who inspire me to myself. I don’t care if that sounds weird, I do that and it’s amazing!
4. Don’t drink your calories – water only!
No juices, no soda, no sports drinks…just water! Aim for 35-40 ml per kg of body weight. And add 500-1000 ml per hour of exercise. Oh and no diet soda. The artificial sweeteners still activate the “reward pathways” that are activated when we eat sweet foods. However, there are no calories in them so there is nothing to turn that switch off – thus resulting in more and more cravings.
5. Define your “why”
Why do you want to lose weight? You need to write this down and put it everywhere: on your vision board, on the bathroom mirror, in your car, on your phone, in your wallet, at your desk…you get the picture! It has to be something emotionally compelling like, “I want to be fit and energized to chase my kids around without feeling out of breath”, “I want to feel good in this dress/suit I bought for my best friend’s wedding,” or “I want to live longer than my parents.” And please don’t fall victim to the meme, “Do it for those who said you couldn’t.” Who cares about those people! Unsubscribe to them just like an email – goodbye!
6. Balance and stability
Start by doing exercises while balancing on one foot or on an unstable surface (sand, BOSU ball, etc.) This will help your neuromuscular system to work more efficiently, as well as strengthen your core and stabilizer muscles to reduce pain and injury. You can try out this awesome and effective balance and stability training video below.
7. Start tracking your food
How much are you eating? Do you even know? Many people have no clue how many calories they are eating. According to one study in the New England Journal of Medicine, two groups of individuals (one with a history of diet resistance and one without) that were similar in weight, BMI, body fat percentage, level of education and history of employment were asked to report how many calories they thought they had consumed in a day. Both groups underreported their calorie intake by roughly 1,000 calories or MORE!
On the other side of the coin, too few calories can prevent your body from losing weight and getting rid of that extra stubborn fat because it’s in starvation mode, literally. You have to eat enough before your body starts burning stored fat. Now, do you see why tracking your food is so important? Start today!
8. Be present when you eat
Are you watching TV, on the computer or on your phone when you eat? Are you even looking at your food when you’re eating it? It’s time to disconnect while you eat. Did you know that digestion begins with your eyes? Your eyes see the food and then your mouth produces enzymes in your saliva to kick off the digestion process before you swallow. Oh, and what about chewing? Do you even chew your food before swallowing or are you in such a rush that you just stuff your face? Seriously – be honest with these questions. Aim to chew your food 25 times before swallowing, that’s what teeth are for. You ever feel airy and bloated after you eat? Chewing and actually allowing your food to mix with your saliva instead of scarfing it down in record time can help with that tremendously.
So, I’ve given you 8 places to start. Choose one and master it and then move on to the next. You can do it! This is your “AHA moment” (as Oprah says), so go for it!