This article is a part of an ongoing series featuring tips and ideas I have found that have inspired me on my personal weight loss journey. I hope they do the same for you ~Meir Liraz.
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Losing weight takes more than desire. It takes commitment and a well-thought-out plan. Here's a step-by-step guide to getting started.
Making the decision to lose weight, change your lifestyle, and become healthier is a big step to take. Start simply by making a commitment to yourself. Many people find it helpful to sign a written contract committing to the process. This contract may include things like the amount of weight you want to lose, the date you'd like to lose the weight by, the dietary changes you'll make to establish healthy eating habits, and a plan for getting regular physical activity.
Writing down the reasons why you want to lose weight can also help. It might be because you have a family history of heart disease, or because you want to see your kids get married, or simply because you want to feel better in your clothes. Post these reasons where they serve as a daily reminder of why you want to make this change.
Consider talking to your health care provider. He or she can evaluate your height, weight, and explore other weight-related risk factors you may have. Ask for a follow-up appointment to monitor changes in your weight or any related health conditions.
Finally, think about aspects of your lifestyle that can help you lose weight. For example, is there an area near your workplace where you and some coworkers can take a walk at lunchtime? Is there a place in your community, such as a YMCA, with exercise facilities for you and child care for your kids?
Set some short-term goals and reward your efforts along the way. If your long-term goal is to lose 40 pounds and to control your high blood pressure, some short-term eating and physical activity goals might be to start eating breakfast, taking a 15 minute walk in the evenings, or having a salad or vegetable with supper.
Focus on two or three goals at a time. Great, effective goals are —
For example, "Exercise More" is not a specific goal. But if you say, "I will walk 15 minutes, 3 days a week for the first week," you are setting a specific and realistic goal for the first week.
Remember, small changes every day can lead to big results in the long run. Also remember that realistic goals are achievable goals. By achieving your short-term goals day-by-day, you'll feel good about your progress and be motivated to continue. Setting unrealistic goals, such as losing 20 pounds in 2 weeks, can leave you feeling defeated and frustrated.
Being realistic also means expecting occasional setbacks. Setbacks happen when you get away from your plan for whatever reason – maybe the holidays, longer work hours, or another life change. When setbacks happen, get back on track as quickly as possible. Also take some time to think about what you would do differently if a similar situation happens, to prevent setbacks.
Keep in mind everyone is different – what works for someone else might not be right for you. Just because your neighbor lost weight by taking up running, doesn't mean running is the best option for you. Try a variety of activities – walking, swimming, tennis, or group exercise classes to see what you enjoy most and can fit into your life. These activities will be easier to stick with over the long term.
Find family members or friends who will support your weight loss efforts. Making lifestyle changes can feel easier when you have others you can talk to and rely on for support. You might have coworkers or neighbors with similar goals, and together you can share healthful recipes and plan group exercise.
Joining a weight loss group or visiting a health care professional such as a registered dietitian, can help.
Revisit the goals you set for yourself (in Step 3) and evaluate your progress regularly. If you set a goal to walk each morning but are having trouble fitting it in before work, see if you can shift your work hours or if you can get your walk in at lunchtime or after work. Evaluate which parts of your plan are working well and which ones need tweaking. Then rewrite your goals and plan accordingly.
If you are consistently achieving a particular goal, add a new goal to help you continue on your pathway to success.
Reward yourself for your successes! Recognize when you're meeting your goals and be proud of your progress. Use non-food rewards, such as a bouquet of freshly picked flowers, a sports outing with friends, or a relaxing bath. Rewards help keep you motivated on the path to better health.
My personal story...
Here's the simple weight loss method that works best for me:
As we all know, In order to lose weight we need to create a “calorie deficit”. What that means is, we must eat less calories than our body burns in a day. There's no way around it.
To utilize this method I use a free app called: "Healthy Weight Loss Planner", you can install it to your android phone or tablet from here.
Now here's how this simple system works:
After installing or accessing the app online follow these three steps:
First: Use the 'BMI Calculator' to check your Body Mass Index (an indicator of body fat), and see where it fits within the BMI categories.
Second: use the 'Daily Calorie Needs Calculator' to determine the number of calories needed each day to maintain your current weight.
Third: use the 'Daily Diet Planner tool' to set a daily calorie target and construct a daily food plan to fit your target (and your diet's food discipline). Now obviously you need your target calorie intake to be less than your daily calories needs. How much less? Aim to subtract 500 to 1000 calories daily, this translates into losing about 1 to 2 pounds a week respectively (about 0.5kg to 1kg).
For example: if your daily caloric needs are 2200, and you want to lose 2 pounds (1kg) per week, your daily calorie target should be 1200. Once you achieve your goal, you can revert to a target of 2200 to maintain your desired weight.
A pace of 1 to 2 pounds a week will allow you to lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way. Keep in mind that setting realistic goals and tracking your progress are key to your success. Research has shown that those who keep track of their behaviors are more likely to take off weight. As a matter of fact, setting unrealistic diet goals is the main reason most diets fail. You want to develop lifestyle habits that will help you maintain your weight in a healthy range. A short-term "diet" that you "go on" and then "go off" is not the answer to long-term weight management.
Note that the app sports a database featuring more than 400, mostly non-processed foods. The variety of foods allows you to construct food plans that adhere to any diet rout you decide to take. With this app you will be able to construct a food plan that fits perfectly with your specific diet discipline. Enjoy!
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