The most common phrase related to fitness that is searched on Google is "how do I lose weight"?
I can't even begin to tell you many times I have been asked (and answered) this question in the last 5 years. Whenever I get asked this question, there is a phrase that always comes to mind - "If only I had a nickel for every time someone asked me how to lose weight". Before you read any further, let me say 1 thing: there is no such thing as a magic pill that's going to help you lose weight. It takes hard work, dedication, sacrifice and time to achieve your dream body.
Let me share 8 fat -oss strategies that can help you lose weight.
1. Don't Go On A Diet
Wait, what? Don't go on a diet? Sounds a little counter intuitive, doesn't it? A diet implies that it is for a short-term and that you will come off of it when you reach your weight loss goal. This way of thinking is not sustainable and will ultimately lead to your fitness demise. Chances are you have gone on a diet before and it helped you lose some weight. What happened a few months later? The weight came back, you went back to your old eating habits and you lost the motivation to give fitness another chance. I get it and I don't blame you.
What to do instead: Start substituting the unhealthy foods you are eating with healthier options. For example, eat oatmeal instead of cereal and have some fruit instead of the late night ice cream. It's the small changes that you make in life that add up over time to produce big results. When you give fitness a chance and take it one day at a time, it becomes a sustainable way of living. Don't go on a diet; start considering healthier choices for every meal.
2. Slowly Start Moving
When most people think about exercising, they think of: 1) long hours at the gym 2) doing cardio on the treadmill on an empty stomach 3) exercising 5-7 times a week and 4) the pain of being sore for days on end. Just by writing these 4 fears down makes me realize how scary fitness can seem. The thought of fitness and exercise can overwhelm you, which can cause you to give up before you even start. It saddens me to see that many people will never achieve their fitness potential because they are too nervous to start. The leap of faith that one makes towards fitness is tough, just ask any Fit Opportunity Exclusive Member.
What to do instead: Slowly start moving, one day at a time. On day 1 do 1 push-up. On day 2 do 2 push-ups. By day 30, you will be well on your way of doing 30 push-ups (something you thought would never happen). Fitness is meant to be exciting and fun, so take the stress out of it and start aiming to get one percent better every day.
3. Write Down What You Eat For 3 Days
I tell all my clients to track what they eat for a period of 3 days. Keeping a food diary or log is a great way for you to see exactly what you are eating in the run of a week. When you track what you eat, most people will feel guilty eating a bag of chips or having a sugary snack at night. I am sure that you have heard the phrase "what gets measured, gets managed" - and nothing can be more true.
What to do instead: I challenge you to track what you eat for 3 days. Aim for 2 week days and 1 day on the weekend (as you likely eat more on the weekends, like everyone else). You will be surprised by the amount of food you eat and will become more aware of what foods you need to cut out. Studies have shown that people who keep food diaries generally wind up eating less than those who don't keep track at all.
4. Grab a Friend (or your partner)
Do you want to hear a little secret? Do you know why most people never achieve fitness success? It's not because they don't change their eating habits. It's not because they don't exercise. And it's not because they lose motivation. It's because they don't have someone else holding them accountable for their actions.
When you first start out on your fitness journey, it's very easy to say "this time is going to be different; this time I'm going to give it my all". What happens when you hit a road bump and no one is there to push you over the top? You never get over that hill.
The power of accountability can and should be the driving force behind your fitness goals. Whether it's a coach, a family member or a friend, you need to be held accountable for your actions.
What to do instead: Find a group of like-minded individuals who share similar goals with you. When you surround yourself with a community of individuals facing the same fitness struggles as you, something magical happens; you spark motivation that you thought you never had. You overcome obstacles that once seemed impossible. You achieve fitness success, the success you have always dreamt of.
5. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Anywhere from 60-75 percent of your body is made up of water. You have always heard that you should drink more water, but has anyone ever told you why? For starters, water makes you feel full, therefore you will likely eat less. Many of you mistake thirst for hunger, and then feel the need to reach for food.
Why reach for the typical 200-300 calorie snack when really you just need water? I'll try not to gross you out but fair warning for the following: your urine should be as clear as possible, which indicates you are properly hydrated. If it's yellow (or worse, dark yellow), start drinking water as this shows your body is dehydrated.
What to do instead: Avoid overeating and increase your water consumption by 2-3 times the amount you are currently drinking. Set a goal of drinking 8-9 cups of water (a day) this week and see the benefits for yourself. Weight loss doesn't need to be a gruelling and scary process. It's the small habits (like drinking more water) that add up and help you achieve fitness success.
6. Cut Out 1 Hour of TV a Week
After sitting all day at work, most people spend their night sitting in front of a TV. I really do believe that sitting all day is killing us -> Read my article "Save Your Body Before It's Too Late".
In terms of watching TV, the average North American spend approximately 4 hours/day behind a television. It sounds excessive, but unfortunately it's true. This number is quite alarming, especially when you think about the health problems that are associated with lack of physical activity. Watching TV for hours on end can lead to hunger, which often results in the consumption of junk food.
What to do instead: One week at a time, reduce your TV consumption by 1 hour. For me personally, I watch one to two hours of TV a week, and that's generally on the weekends. When you keep yourself occupied, cutting out TV is not as hard as it sounds. Another solution is to combine your TV consumption with indoor exercise. I can help you with that -> Become a Fit Opportunity Exclusive Member
7. Start Making Your Own Lunch/Dinner
A lot of people fall under the mindset that eating healthy is far too expensive. Yes, fresh fruits and vegetables are more expensive then junk food. However, when you consider the cost per meal (if you cook in bulk portions), I don't think there is a big difference between the costs.
I will admit that making meals at home requires a small time commitment, but it's worth it in the long run. If you prepare your meals in bulk portions, I bet that per meal (when compared to junk food) it's equally as cost effective. When you start cooking healthy meals at home that taste good, you will seamlessly start eating out less. Although fast food can be convenient at times, it generally comes in the form of processed carbohydrates, which are directly linked with weight gain.
8. Stay Focused, Don't Let Your Foot Off The Gas
"If it was easy, everyone would be doing it" - a classic phrase that holds true no matter what your goal might be. When many people start their fitness journey, they are enthusiastic, driven, motivated and are determined to turn their life around. Then comes a time, whether it's a few weeks or a few months in, where they hit a sticking point. After seeing their progress come to a halt, they stop exercising and lose all motivation.
Many people don't achieve their fitness potential because they give up too easily and too quickly. When your progress suddenly stops, that's the time to put your foot on the gas and take it up a notch. You need to stay focused and you need to keep that passion inside of you alive.
What to do instead: When you hit a plateau in your fitness goals, take a step back and evaluate how far you have come. Give yourself a pat on the back based on the progress you have made. Many people are too hard on themselves and fail to see the good, in the bad. Take a step back, re-evaluate your goals, kick your focus into high-gear and don't let your foot off the gas.
We often think of weight loss and fitness as a scary journey. Many people believe it's too difficult, so they fail to even start. If you found this article helpful, I ask that you share it with one person (or many people) who you think might find it beneficial. Using the sharing options below, feel free to share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, or any other channel you wish.
In the comments below: What is the one thing you took away from this article?