The new year is here, and with it comes the urge to better ourselves. For many of us, myself included, that means focusing on our weight loss goals.
Weight loss is a common new year’s resolution for many people. And this time of year, we see many companies touting their foolproof method for losing 20 pounds in two weeks or their magic diet pill that will make you drop four dress sizes instantly.
But anyone who tells you weight loss is easy or simple is lying. Weight loss is hard work and it begins by setting the right goals and having the right mindset.
If you have a goal to lose weight in 2017, you are not alone. I am on the same journey with you! And I have a few tips to share about how to get started now, keep your new year’s resolution and find success.
1. Be specific
So many people name “lose weight” as their new year’s resolution, but struggle to actually achieve anything before giving up. Why? These people aren’t being realistic enough about their goals.
The goal “lose weight” is too vague to actually be achievable. How will you know when you reach your goal? You need to set a goal that is specific enough to measure and realistic enough to achieve. Aiming to lose 50 pounds by the end of January will almost certainly end in failure, while a 5-pound loss is a solid goal.
When setting your weight loss goal, decide how many pounds you want to lose. What is that number? Then, come up with a realistic timeline for losing those pounds.
Don’t forget to set some non-scale related goals too. The scale won’t always behave the way you want it to, so make sure you focus on other achievements as well. This could be completing a 5k, reaching your step goal consistently or giving up a bad habit like drinking soda.
2. Have a plan
Once you have your goal and timeline, it’s time to figure out what it will take to get you there. Just deciding you want to do it won’t be enough. You need to put in the hard work to get the results you want.
Start by planning out your meals for the week ahead. Then, go shopping and stock up on healthy groceries like produce and lean meats. With all of your meals planned out in advance, you’ll be less likely to improvise or cheat.
Rid your pantry of the foods that tempt you most. Out of sight, out of mind! And make sure to let your family or your roommates know you’re embarking on a weight loss journey. Encourage them to join you or ask them for their support and to be courteous about your choices.
Don’t forget about fitness, too. Your meals and workouts go hand in hand for weight loss. At the start of the week, take a look at your schedule and decide where you will squeeze in your workouts. Try to aim to work out 3-4 times per week, or more if you’re able. Even if it’s just a walk around your neighborhood, get active to burn those calories!
3. Don’t give up
It’s easy to feel motivated the first week of the year when everyone around you is working on their new year’s resolutions too. But that initial excitement and motivation will go away, and many of your peers will slide back into old habits. Don’t let that be you, too.
Make a list of the reasons you want to lose weight right now, and keep it somewhere you’ll see it often. When you feel yourself losing momentum, look back at the list to remind yourself why you’re making this change.
Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint, and for most of us, it doesn’t end after January 31. Sticking to your weight loss goals is a huge challenge, but you can do it!
This year, I’m going to be tracking my food, workouts and progress on this blog, so follow along with me! We can motivate each other on this weight loss journey, and we can find success. Look for my week 1 update on Monday!