One of the hardest things about losing weight is simply getting started. Recognising that you want to is a big step but turning that desire into action can be daunting. It seems insurmountable, we know, we’ve be there. These 5 steps, each of which are very achievable, will set you on the right path and will help you build a framework for success.
1- Make a commitment. This is more than just vague promises to ‘work out more regularly’ or ‘watch what you eat’. Making a commitment means opening your diary and blocking out time to workout with a trainer, time to go for a walk, time to shop and prepare healthy and nourishing meals. Treat yourself with the same respect you treat others and consider these appointments with yourself as firm commitments. Many of us are used to putting others needs ahead of ourselves so this can be tricky but it is invaluable.
2- Take stock of where you are. This can be a tricky step for a lot of us, but it is important. We all know the power of good before and after photos! Write down your weight, your measurements, general health information (blood pressure, etc), a few notes about your general wellbeing and mood, and any physical restrictions you have. This information will help you create an exercise program and will be the data against which you will measure your progress and success so be totally honest. You don’t need to share this information with anyone except your trainer but having a strong set of base information will allow you to track your progress and give you all the information you need for step 3.
3- Set realistic goals. Decide what your key long term goal is and then break this down into smaller, short term goals. These will be milestones that will lead – one short term goal at a time – to where you want to be. For example, if you want to lose 20kgs, it will be easier to break that up into 4 5kg loss goals. This gives you 4 key milestones, 4 achievable targets and 4 opportunities to celebrate your success. All of which makes you much more likely to stick to your program and to eventually reach your long term goal. Realistic goals will also help to keep you on the right track even if you have some setbacks along the way.
4- Identify support resources and information. We all know the truism ‘knowledge is power’. Knowing where to go for reliable information and support is critical to success. A personal trainer who connects well with you and understands your goals and requirements will be able to help you navigate your way through the wealth of information available. And can help you find the best, most reliable and most accurate resources that are relevant to you. Don’t just rely on word of mouth or popular opinion but look at the qualifications of the people giving the advice (do they have personal training, nutrition or health science qualifications?) and look at the professional memberships they may hold. You will quickly find a few fitness and cooking websites and books that you like and be able to go back to them time and time again.
5- Monitoring and tracking progress. Weight can fluctuate depending on the time of day or (for women) across the cycle so the most reliable information can be collected by choosing to take weight and measurement on the same day and at the same time each week. Draw up a table, or create a spreadsheet, so that you can quickly and easily see how you are going. Don’t lose heart if you have the occasional gain instead of a loss, just keep working towards your short term goals knowing that the long term goal will take care of itself.
There is a lot to each item on the list and that’s because you’re building a weight loss program that works. Changing your mindset, your habits and your body takes time. It is a gift you are giving yourself and you are worth it. So, take a deep breath and let’s begin!