10 Of My Best Weight Loss Tips
1. Make a clear end goal.
Have a clear goal in your mind. How many lbs are you planning to lose? How many lbs is your end weight? How will you look then? What will be your measurements? Very sharp, crisp and clear goals are needed to propel you forward. If you have ambiguous goals, you are going to get ambiguous results.
Check out Establish Your Goal for the 15 key principles to check against when establishing your goal.
2. Track your calories.
The only way to be sure whether you are eating under or above quota is to track your calories. Use an excel sheet or a notebook to track it. Unless you track your calories, it’s going to result in guesswork on how much you are eating. You want to be as precise as possible to get the best results.
For the whole of last year, I was tracking my calorie intake. It was also the year where I lost a good amount of weight – 13lbs! By tracking, I knew when it was okay for me to eat more and when I should stop eating for the day. Some days I did exceed my quota, and when that happened, I compensated by exercising on the day or eating lesser the next day.
Conversely, if you find tracking too much of a hassle, you don’t have to track 24/7. Do it for a few days to get the hang of it, then keep a mental count every day as you have your meals. After doing calorie tracking for a long period of time, I’ve since developed a good sense of what are the high calorie and low-calorie foods, and hence do not need to track my calories rigorously anymore. The key here is to be conscious of your food intake, and that you are consuming within or under your calorie output.
3. Detach yourself from how much you weigh.
This is probably the one thing that thwarts many people in their weight loss plans. They keep weighing themselves every day to track their progress and become disheartened when their weight doesn’t decrease or increases instead. This was what threw me off on many weight loss attempts in the past.
Detach yourself from your actual weight. Your weight is not a definite indicator of the success. Muscle weighs more than fats, so it’s entirely possible for you to weigh heavier after your weight loss regime, yet look skinnier. I have a friend who is overweight but actually looks very petite. She’s overweight due to the high amount of muscles in her body from her training as an athlete.
Limit your weighing to just once/week or longer. There’s not going to be much loss in your body weight on a day to day basis to justify weighing it. In addition, our weight fluctuates quite wildly throughout the day due to water loss, so trying to weigh it every day might give you false indicators on your progress.
Last year, I weighed myself only twice – Once at the beginning of the year and the second time at the end of the year. For me, there was no reason for me to weigh myself since I was more focused on the look of my body, rather than the actual number on the scale. I had my calorie intake/output tracking sheet (see Tip #2) and this was enough for me to know whether I was on track. Interestingly, my weight during my second weigh-in at the end of the year turned out to be exactly the same as the expected weight I calculated from my calorie sheet based on all my calorie intake/output throughout the year! I’m not saying you should follow suit and just weigh yourself only twice a year – The important thing is not to be obsessed with the actual figure of your weight and focus on the end look and how healthy you feel instead. 🙂
4. Think long-term commitment.
Whatever plans you are planning for your weight loss, think in terms of long-term commitment. Every time you want to incorporate a new element to your program, such as low-carb, salad-only meals, exercising every day, ask yourself – Am I willing to do this forever?
When you make radical changes, it will result in quick weight losses, which will be subsequently gained back after you revert to your regular dietary and lifestyle habits. This is why so many people report great benefits on crash diets or weight loss programs – only to gain all of them back and more afterward when they stop them. Typically they become heavier than before they tried to lose weight because their body is now operating on a lower BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) compared to the past.
The only times when your weight can stay permanently off is if you incorporate that habit as a permanent change in your lifestyle. If you aren’t willing to do that, then seek for a good compromise which balances your weight loss needs and your dietary needs. Whatever actions you take on are actions you need to commit for the rest of your life.
5. Get ready your dream outfit after you lose the weight.
This is the outfit you are going to wear and showcase your new body after you achieve your target! 😀 The purpose of this is to motivate you toward your goal. It’s okay to buy a new outfit as a gift to yourself, but don’t get attached to the notion of consumption since it’s unhealthy.
6. Constantly remind yourself of your end goal.
Over the course of your weight loss journey, there will be times when you feel like giving up or when you lose your original motivation for losing weight. Make sure you keep the motivation running high. Keep your connection with your inner desires strong through external reminders – have posters of your desired end look around your room/computer/desk, immerse yourself in the contexts which got you to want to lose weight, to begin with, hang your end goal outfit (Tip #5) in a prominent place in your room and more.
7. Eat based on your caloric needs and not how much food is before you.
In the past, my eating behaviors were driven by external cues. For example, when I passed by an eatery or snack shop, I would be triggered into buying food. When my mom or dad arrived home with food, I would eat the food even if I may already have eaten before. While I was dining, if I had a larger serving than I could handle, I would try to finish it anyway simply because it was before me.
I eventually realized eating based on external cues was illogical and was a big reason why my weight loss efforts were constantly thwarted. There was no need for me to buy food just because I was passing by a food shop. If I was hungry later on, I could easily find a food shop to buy food. By eating food when my parents bought them home, I was giving them the signal to keep buying food home the next time round. When I was dining, buying more food than I could consume was already a mistake; continuing to eat despite feeling full was an additional mistake! Whether I ate the food or discarded wouldn’t have made a difference – the learning should reduce the amount of food I order the next time.
After that, I ate based on my caloric needs and physical hunger cues, rather than what’s out there before me. It made me develop a healthier relationship with food.
8. Plan your meals before hand.
Plan your meals and food intake for the next day in advance, so you already know how many calories you are consuming for the day. For your meal appointments, plan the location in advance and be sure the location has the right food for your diet needs. Adhere to your plan – Only consume the food you have listed in your plan for the day. If you do deviate from the plan, you need to compensate via increasing your calorie output (exercising) or decreasing your calorie intake for the next day.
9. Eat breakfast
Eating breakfast kick-starts your body to burn calories for the day. If you skip breakfast, your body will remain in the hibernation, low-calorie burning mode induced during your sleep.
In addition, breakfast is the most important meal of the day – it provides you the energy to start off your day on a high note! 😀
10. Eat small meals throughout the day.
This keeps the calories intake spread out across the day. Taking in large meals means consuming more calories than your body can burn at the moment, which results in your body storing the excess calories as fats. It’s important to avoid that as it’s difficult to break down fats after they are formed since it is the last energy group which the body gets energy from.