Good nutrition, fitness, and proper sleep are all vital components of an effective weight-loss plan. These three components help burn fat, speed up your metabolism, and boost immune system function. Practicing these habits consistently can help you maintain good optimal health and stave off weight gain for life. Yet, many individuals who adopt good habits for the sake of losing weight often revert back to their previous habits at some point in their weight-loss journey — which negates all their hard work and keeps them stuck in a weight-loss rut.
According to scientists at the National Institutes of Health, the real keys to weight loss are commitment and patience. Without these two components, any weight-loss progress you make will most likely stay temporary — preventing you from achieving and maintaining your long-term weight-loss goals.
Here are tips for practicing commitment and patience that can help you stay on track with weight loss.
- Understand that weight loss takes time. Just as it may have taken you months or years to accumulate excess body weight, it may take just as long, or longer, to lose that same excess body weight. When embarking on your weight-loss journey, understand that patience and dedication is necessary if you want to see results.
- Make weight loss part of your everyday lifestyle. Trying numerous fad diets and advanced exercise routines can lead to burnout early on, and make you feel less motivated about weight loss. Instead of trying temporary fixes, figure out ways to make healthy habits part of your daily lifestyle going forward. For instance, do an exercise routine you can realistically stick to every day, and gradually replace unhealthy foods in your diet with more fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious items.
- Celebrate non-scale victories. Sometimes it can take several weeks or months before you start losing weight. Often when you switch to a healthier lifestyle, your body will take care of any internal healing that needs to happen before it starts shedding fat cells. Instead of focusing on the scale, make a point of celebrating non-scale victories, such as being able to fit into clothing more comfortably, having more energy, or no longer feeling out of breath after climbing stairs. These small victories can be highly effective at helping you stay motivated throughout your weight-loss journey.
- Keep a weight-loss journal. Journaling your weight-loss progress helps you pinpoint what’s helping and what’s not in terms of nutrition, sleep, and your current exercise routine. Track the foods and portions you’re consuming, along with nightly hours of sleep and details about your workouts. If you’ve suddenly stopped losing weight, review your journal to pinpoint the root cause. For example, if you’ve been getting six hours of sleep instead of your usual eight, adjust your schedule to make sleep a priority.
- Add more physical activity to your day. After you’ve improved your nutrition, sleep, and exercise patterns, start looking for ways to be more physically active throughout the day. For instance, schedule a nightly walk after dinner instead of sitting down to watch television. Making gradual little changes such as these will help shape your lifestyle into a healthier one.
- Involve your friends and family. It’s often easier to stay excited and motivated about your weight-loss journey when supportive friends and family are also onboard. Ask your family about meal ideas, then make healthy versions of their favorite meals. Or, dedicate one or two nights per week to doing fun physical activities with your friends and family, such as basketball, hiking, and dancing. Over time, your family and friends will come to appreciate and savor these activities, especially when they begin seeing positive changes in their own health.
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