Yesterday I provided a recount of how I lost 30 lbs in 3 months starting on January 1st of this year. In that post I went through the steps I took to get there, but I had hoped that my post would serve as a motivator as opposed to a step-by-step guide to losing weight.
Today I’d like to list the biggest tips I can give you based on my experience in losing weight.
This information is hypothetical or based on what I’ve read, it’s information that I used myself to successfully lose weight and become a brand new me.
1. Set a Small Goal
Setting a small goal was the biggest key in achieving my weight loss. In the past I had been vague about wanting to lose weight. Or wanting to drop 30 lbs. I would begin working out and when I would only see a pound or so gone after a hard week of working out I’d want to throw in the towel.
The key this time around is that I broke my overall goal down into smaller, more realistic goals. Instead of resolving to lose 30 lbs from the start, I set a goal to lose 10 lbs in a month. I entered this goal into my goal setting application, Stickk.com, and it broke the goal down further into weekly goals of approximately 2 lbs.
Starting a week knowing I had a hard target of losing 2 lbs tended to be a lot more motivating then hoping for a 30 lb. loss over an indefinite amount of time.
2. Track Weight and Workouts
A further result of setting goals meant that I needed to track my weight. I began doing this on a daily basis as I wanted a consistent view of how far I needed to go to reach my weekly goal. I would weigh myself first thing in the morning every day to ensure that what I was tracking was consistent.
The result of weighing myself every day is that I was getting immediate feedback into whether or not I was working hard enough to meet my goals. If there were days where I would see a loss, or even gained weight, it would serve as an added incentive to push myself a little harder at the gym and avoid that piece of dessert that I really didn’t need.
I also began tracking my cardio activity. Aside from seeing how my cardio was progressing, it would serve as a game. If I knew I ran 2.8 miles in 30 minutes earlier in the week, I would try to push myself to be a little better the next time out and possibly hit 3.0 miles. Games like this kept me interested and provided a little extra motivation.
3. Push a Little Harder
I’ve always felt guilty about not giving my all at the gym. I felt like I would be leaving a little (and sometimes a lot) left in the tank at the end of my workout.
Over the past three months I adopted an attitude that if I’m going to drag my butt to the gym that I’m going to make sure I work hard when I get there. It felt uncomfortable and I was certainly sore in the days that followed, but the results were undeniable.
Too many of us have a lower tolerance for discomfort that we don’t make any real changes in our lives or our bodies. Try to push through this discomfort and push yourself just a little harder. You will notice the difference.
4. Focus on Your Food
One thing I didn’t do while I was losing weight was track every piece of food I ate. I’ve tried this in the past and typically I would be okay for a couple of days, but would eventually lose track for one day and everything would go off the rails.
This time around, I just focused on eating healthier in general while incorporating more protein in my diet to make myself feel fuller. The basic rule that I would follow was that all my meals needed to be prepared at home and needed to consist of some protein with some carbs and vegetables.
I don’t advocate the low carb diet in general as low carbs make me feel lethargic and moody. But I didn’t ensure my meals were smaller and that I ate at 8am, 10am, 12 pm, 2:30pm 5:30pm and then a snack near 9pm. It was rare that I felt hungry following this eating plan.
I also focused on eliminating a bad habit of eating late at night. Aside from ingesting needless calories, this also tended to interfere with having a solid night’s sleep. The added motivation of knowing I had to weigh in the next morning did a great job at keeping me out of the cupboards!
5. Build in Added Motivation
After losing 20 lbs., I’ll admit that I had a drop in my motivation. I felt like I had worked so hard that I could almost take a break after accomplishing my monthly goal for January and February. But I wasn’t at my ultimate goal.
To give myself an extra boost, I decided to book a trip to a warm weather location as an added motivator.
With this vacation looming and knowing that I’d want to look my best while on a beach in my swim trunks, I was able to quickly ratchet back up the motivation I needed to start working on achieving my goal for March.
If you can’t build in an added motivator like booking a vacation, try to focus on an event you have coming up that you want to look your best for, whether it’s a wedding, a formal work function, etc.
6. Just Start
You know when the best time is to start getting healthier? Right now. All too often we get caught up in trying to figure out a “best time” to start getting in shape or we’re going to get started on this Monday. When it comes to your health, the best time to get started is right away.
In my case, I didn’t start a New Year’s resolution or anything like that. I woke up on January 5th and thought to myself that I didn’t want to feel fat any more. So the first thing I did was eat a healthier breakfast. I also packed a workout bag and resolved that I was going to go to the gym over lunch.
I didn’t have any major plan in place, but I knew enough that eating healthier throughout the day and getting active would be a good place to start. I knew that I could adjust course and research a workout program later in the day, but step one was to just start and act on the motivation that was already present.
7. Commit with a Friend
When I started getting back into going to the gym I would go with my girlfriend. We started a workout program together and we completed the workouts together as well. The benefit of this is that we had each other to motivate us on days where one of us really wasn’t up for it. We’d remind the other that it was only going to be 45 minutes out of our day and we’d have it done.
It was amazing how much this got me to the gym on days where I would have otherwise sat on my butt on the couch and continued watching TV.
If you have a partner, try getting active with them and getting healthier together. If you don’t have a significant other, I’m sure you have a friend that would like to get in a bit better shape. Seek them out and set a goal together so you can be accountable to each other.
Losing weight is a difficult challenge. One of the key things to remember is that you have to be patient with it. You didn’t put on the extra weight in a week or even a month, and as such you won’t be able to take it off in a week or a month either.
Make sure you focus on seeing small but incremental results. These will build up week after week and before long you will start to notice a difference. Soon after that, other people will start noticing as well.
So don’t wait for the perfect time to start getting healthier, start right now!
Take part in (or start) the conversation below by letting me know your thoughts on my tips. If you have any others to add, feel free to post them in there as well for other people.