Maybe your doctor had some harsh advice for you during your last physical, or your recent trip to the mall left you discouraged and empty-handed. Whatever the reason, you’ve decided it’s time to lose weight.
It can be difficult to find and stick to a weight-loss routine that works for you, however. In fact, four out of every 10 Americans currently dieting say they’ve dieted in the past, too.
Whether you’re dieting for the first time or you’re looking for a routine you can stick to, starting out in the right mindset is key to successfully sticking to your diet. Keep reading for five effective ways to kickstart weight loss.
5 Ways to Kickstart Weight Loss
1. Set concrete goals and hold yourself accountable.
Why do you want to lose weight? Is it to improve the way you feel every day or the way you look? Maybe you’ve had a recent health scare that has you driven to drop the pounds. Whatever your motivation is, it can help you kickstart weight loss.
Use your motivation to set some concrete goals for yourself. Determine exactly how much weight you want to lose—just keep it within a healthy margin for your size—and how quickly you want to lose it. Make sure to stick with real numbers, as they’ll help you keep track of your progress.
Next, establish where you are right now so you can chart your changes. Get your accurate weight, take body measurements, and take some before pictures you can look at a few months from now. Seeing in real, verifiable numbers how well you’re doing on your diet can make the difference when things get hard.
Finally, enlist the help of fitness-minded friends or an online community for extra support when you need it. Tell them about your weight loss goals, let them know which foods you’re avoiding, and ask them to give you a gentle nudge in the right direction if they see you going astray.
2. Build better sleep habits.
Did you know that adults are supposed to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night? How does that compare to your usual routine?
If you’re lacking in your snooze time, start getting yourself into bed early before your diet.
When you’re well rested energized, you are less likely to grab sugary snacks throughout your day for the extra boost they provide. A few more hours of sleep might also leave you feeling clear-headed throughout the day, which can make the difference in summoning the willpower to stick to your diet.
Getting more sleep may also impact your hormone levels, which might directly impact your ability to lose weight.
On top of all of that, can you think of a better feeling than waking up refreshed instead of groggy?
3. Drink more water.
Water is the ultimate bringer of life, and it can kickstart weight loss, too.
Water is an essential component to most of our body’s inner workings. It helps our systems flush out toxins to keep us healthy and plays a part in how refreshed we feel and look.
Reaching for water before other drinks can also save you from consuming more calorie-dense alternatives, like sugary sodas or juices. It’s also a good way to stave off the feeling of an empty stomach until you can grab a healthy snack.
In fact, increasing your water consumption by just one to three cups daily could save you as much as 205 calories. That’s the kind of number that adds up.
4. Take baby steps, and try taking them outside.
If you want your weight loss plan to be sustainable, try taking small, incremental steps when you’re trying to improve your health. When it comes to starting an exercise routine, you may not want to jump headfirst into CrossFit. Consider taking a brisk walk instead.
Taking a brisk walk for just 10 minutes at a time throughout your week will still bring you the health benefits of exercise, along with a host of other benefits.
Walking is, for instance, a low-impact activity. That means that if you’re suffering from joint problems or it’s just difficult to move around, walking could be the pain-free activity you’ve been looking for.
Walks are also a peaceful way to escape the stress of your day. Your 10-minute stroll through the park can double as a meditation or mindfulness exercise by giving you the chance to focus on new sights and sounds instead of any looming deadlines or stressors.
That kind of mental break is great for coming up with new ideas and improving your creativity, too.
Once you get your 10-minute walk firmly set in your routine, you can build on that success to include even more physical activity into your regimen. Consider 20 minutes of yoga or heading out for a light jog as well.
Resist the urge to use your extra exercise as an excuse to eat more, however. You’ll neutralize the benefits walking brings if you use it as justification for one more snack.
5. Look at the labels.
Even if your diet hasn’t begun yet, get in the habit of checking the nutrition labels of everything you eat. Check for the calorie count as well as how much fat, protein, and carbohydrates you’re consuming in your favorite foods.
Pay attention to the serving size, too. Some items, like sliced bread and sugary treats, list smaller serving sizes than people typically consume at one time to keep their numbers lower on the label.
Also be sure to check the labels of any “health” foods you’re eating. If that health bar contains a lot of oats, nuts, and fruit, its calorie count may be higher than you expect.
Reading labels even before you start dieting can really kickstart weight loss by getting you in the habit of tracking the stats of everything you eat. This will help you hit your caloric goals and make better nutritional choices throughout your weight loss journey.
For more tips on how to successfully manage your weight, visit the ChiroThin Weight Loss Program blog.