3 top tips to start your weight loss journey
I always hear these questions, "What do I need to eat and what exercise do I need to do, to lose weight?". However, when it comes to weight loss, it is not just about eating less and moving more. It is a complex process and it requires lots of planning and preparation.
So, before you start, you need to consider other aspects as well that can influence your weight loss journey. Here I share with you my three top tips on beginning your weight loss adventure.
1. Define your ‘why’
Why make a change? It is important that you understand why you want to make a change to your lifestyle. Why it is important for you to lose weight? Are you doing it because you want to be healthier and fitter or because your doctor told you that you need to lose weight? It is crucial that you know the motivation behind your decision.
When it comes to weight loss, it is a challenging journey and it takes time. There are many things that you will need to change to sustain your weight loss. You will also experience many ups and downs and in moments of doubt, your ‘why’ will keep you going. So before you start your weight loss journey, write down why you want to make a change. You can also look at your ‘why’ throughout your journey to remind yourself what you are working towards.
2. Set your expectations
How long will it take you to achieve your health goal? It is quite common for people who want to lose weight to have this high expectation that within a week or two they will lose a couple of pounds or that they should expect results after one day of dieting. We live in a fast-paced environment and we often want things instantly. We send a text and want a quick reply, we order a takeaway and want it ASAP, we buy things online and want delivery on the same day, and so on.
Unfortunately, our health is not that simple and easy to improve. It takes time.
Why? Because our body is a complex system and lifestyle change is complex as well. Many factors affect our weight, health and wellbeing. If you want to make a few changes to your lifestyle, they will not happen overnight, it will take a few weeks, months or even years for some. It takes about 30 days on average to change a habit, and that may vary between individuals. If you have a few habits that you want to change or introduce new ones, you will need time to do that.
That is why it is important you have realistic expectations about your weight loss journey. Ask yourself, how long did it take you to reach your current weight? What are the factors that have contributed to your weight gain right now? How long do you think it will take to work on your challenges?
Also, a safe and sustainable weight loss is anything between 1-2lb of body weight per week which is 0.5-1kg. How many of us can achieve that? I do not know the statistics but from experience, I can tell that not many. Not everyone is a textbook patient! If you have a family, other commitments, are on medications or have other medical conditions, your weight loss journey can be much longer and challenging. So remember not to compare yourself to others or think that you need to strictly follow the guidelines. You take your time and do it at your own pace, at the end of the day it is your journey!
3. Develop your support system
What support do you have to help you achieve your outcome? As I mentioned earlier, weight loss is a challenging journey and it can be tough. It is vital you have the right support, so you can go through it. When it comes to support, it is entirely up to you to decide what you need. There are many different options, for instance, you can:
- join a local weight management service and attend group sessions
- have one to one appointments with a nutrition professional or a health coach
- use a health mobile app for coaching sessions
- talk to a trusted family member, your partner or a friend
- do journaling, write down everything that you are going through, document your feelings, thoughts and emotions.
Each of these options can offer a different type of support such as education, guidance, motivation, clarity, emotional support, etc. You may also need different support during different stages of your weight loss journey, so have an open mind and listen to your needs.
If you are just starting your weight loss journey, think about what you need right now. If you had many weight loss attempts in the past, think about what stopped you before from keeping your weight off. If you experience similar changes again, what support will help you overcome these? The process of losing weight needs some planning and preparation so make sure you schedule time for yourself.