We asked MyFoodDiary members what advice they would share with someone starting their weight loss journey. This is what they told us. Research shows that they know their stuff!
Plan your meals. Planning ahead reduces the likelihood that you will get off track when your schedule changes unexpectedly. When you know what you are going to eat and when you will eat it, you reduce the temptation to grab an unhealthy snack. Cheryl Forberg, R.D., nutritionist for the reality show “The Biggest Loser”, lists planning exercise, meals, and snacks in advance as a key to successful weight loss.
Track what you are eating. Calorie counting works! You have heard it before: weight loss occurs when you burn more calories than you eat. If you have no knowledge of the calories in food, it is likely that you are taking in far more than you realize. To know how many calories you consume, you must track your food intake.
Set meaningful goals. When you take into consideration your current fitness level, available time, and motivation you, can use your personal situation to create goals that are achievable and meaningful.
Surround yourself with likeminded people. Your environment influences the foods you eat and your activity levels. While you cannot change everything about your environment, you can surround yourself with people who support you. Tell friends and loved ones your goals and ask for their help. Create a network of friends at the gym or form a walking group in your neighborhood. Workout partners serve as a source of motivation to stick with your plan.
Be patient. Those who have maintained weight loss know that slow and steady wins the race. The Mayo Clinic recommends weight loss at a rate of 1 to 2 lbs per week. Losing weight slowly allows you to make minor changes in activity and eating habits that are easy to adapt to. It also helps you maintain lean muscle mass as you lose fat.
It’s a lifestyle change. It has been proven time and time again that crash diets do not work. Diets focus on change for a short period of time. Most people return to old habits, regaining any weight that was lost. Successful losers are those that make a lifestyle change. Eating healthier foods, controlling portion sizes, and engaging in physical activity must become a normal part of your daily routine.
The scale is only one measure of success. Don’t limit yourself by how you define success. There are many ways to track progress beyond the scale. Changes such as improved mood, inches lost, smaller clothing sizes, and more energy are just as important as the number on the scale.
Be honest. Don’t cheat yourself. A regular soda that you neglected to enter into your food diary and a missed workout will add up on the scale. This doesn’t mean you can’t take a rest day from workouts or allow yourself to enjoy your favorite foods. Commit to your weekly exercise plan so you can fully enjoy your rest day. Adjust your food intake or exercise so you can enjoy a treat without feeling guilty. Weight loss is about adopting a healthy lifestyle that you can live with!