“The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.” -Lao Tzu
Or, the journey of 50 pounds lost begins with the first 5–10.
The start. It can be an intimidating phase, where most people fail to grab hold of inertia. Many of us feel like there isn’t enough time to make a difference, we feel like we aren’t ready, or that we will start the first of the month. What is so special about the start of a new month?
One small change, practiced consistently, can jumpstart your weight loss goal. Implement one of the following and watch your journey begin. Implement a couple, and you could be sprinting towards your goal weight.
One of the biggest “secrets” to weight loss is to drink more water. Unsuspecting weight gets added to your frame via soft drinks (they make you soft), “healthy” sports drinks, alcohol, and other caloric beverages you consume. Water curbs your hunger and gives you more energy. Just start by replacing one beverage with water, or go cold turkey! You can upgrade your water by squeezing some lemon juice into it, drinking mineral water, or infusing your water with lime, cucumber, or oranges. Kick that added sugar to the curb!
Ahh the elusive 8 hours of sleep…You’ve heard it time and time again. The benefits are countless. With all of our screens, priorities, and feelings of anxiety, it is getting harder and harder to believe we can get a good amount of sleep. Allowing your body to recharge and repair itself is one of the most important aspects of healthy weight loss. You can improve your chances of getting adequate sleep by practicing meditation, turning off the screens an hour before bed, and keeping your cell phone away from your reach.
3. Eat Protein at Breakfast
Who didn’t love pouring themselves a nice big bowl of crunchy cereal in the morning as a kid? Heck, I would eat it at any meal! Alas, starting your day with simple carbohydrates only sets you up for cravings later in the day. Protein helps curb those cravings and gets your metabolism revved up. If you rely on breakfast, try to get 20 grams of protein to start the day.
4. Track Your Intake/ Activity
This was the single most important practice I used in my weight loss journey. We usually don’t gain 30lbs in 30 days. It happens over time and we aren’t aware of it. Writing down everything you do concerning your health; what you eat, drink, your physical activity, and sleep. This immediately opens your eyes to what you are doing to yourself, good or bad. Don’t feel like making a BIG change, do this. The more you write down, the more you will want to write down good things.
Want to learn about the best way to measure your mess? Check out my report here.
5. Go for a Walk
Or a run, or a workout, or a Pokemon hunt. How many miles have people been catching Pokemon? Are people still playing Pokemon? The point is, get just a little more activity than you have been. Instead of sitting and watching Netflix with your partner, go for a walk around the neighborhood. Got a dog? They love walks! Make this extra walk or workout a consistent part of your daily routine and watch other habits start to take shape. Consistency is key!
6. Eat Slower
How many of us are guilty of eating dinner as if we are competing in an Olympic speed eating competition? (Hand raise). Let us learn to enjoy, savor, and appreciate our food. Our hunger hormones aren’t as fast as our world record times, so we need to slow down to let them catch up. Try to aim for 20 minutes or so. Drink water, put the fork down in between bites, and actually talk to someone.
7. Learn to Live with Some Hunger
If weight loss is your goal, some calorie restriction is going to have to occur. We have been programmed to feel as if hunger is a bad thing. We need to lean into that feeling and embrace it. Drink some water, coffee, or tea to see if it goes away. Experiment with intermittent fasting to cut down your feeding time. We have been conditioned to eat the way we do by society, not by our biology. Our ancestors would go days without eating, I think we can go a couple hours.
8. Cook Once, Eat Twice
Any time you prepare dinner, double up the serving size. Eat one serving for dinner and save the other for lunch the next day. Calories can quickly add up when we go out to eat with the team, so make sure you have a healthy option that you can control. I hate the idea of meal prepping for the whole week and enjoy making dinner, this process allows me to have a fairly fresh lunch and dinner.
9. Hide and/or Throw Away Snowball Foods
Chips, candy, ice cream, and baked goods. If any of these “snowball” foods are in my house, they are eaten until there are crumbs everywhere. It isn’t a pretty picture. They can be eaten while I mindlessly watch House of Cards or a football game. I open a bag and before I notice, it’s all gone. We all have these kinds of foods that we will eat until they’re gone, figure out what yours’ are. If you have family that wants to eat it, hide them from your sight so you aren’t tempted. It’s better to just remove the issue and throw it away. Forget sunk cost bias, it’s better sunk in the trash.
10. Affirm Yourself to Your Goal
Now some of you might think this is a little too “woo-woo”, but when I wanted to jumpstart my weight loss I incorporated the power of affirmations. Every morning I would write down 10 times:
“It’s ________ (goal date), I am a fit and healthy ________lbs (goal weight)”
The more you write it down, the more you start to believe it. The more you believe it, the more actions you take to reach it. It holds yourself accountable and pushes you to make responsible choices towards your goal. You become what you affirm — make sure you are the one doing the affirming.