There are steps you need to take before you start a weight-loss program. Exercising regularly and eating nutritious foods are healthy behaviors that can help you reach your weight-loss goals. But before you hit the gym or go on a diet, there are steps you can take to set yourself up for success and help you meet your goals. Without proper planning and execution, your fitness routine, diet, and new healthy lifestyle could backfire and halt your weight-loss progress altogether.
Looking to lose excess weight? Follow these seven steps that will help you succeed!
Lack of sleep interferes with your energy and stress levels, and can lead to overeating, unhealthy food choices, and weight gain. Sleep problems can even negatively impact the state of your mental and emotional health. Improve your sleep habits as needed so you can start getting a better night’s sleep — whether it involves buying new, comfortable sheets or going to bed earlier every night with a book in hand.
Instead of tracking your calories, start tracking the foods you eat. This gives you an overview of how often you eat and the quality of the foods you’re eating. Use a notebook, digital spreadsheet, or a fitness/nutrition app to track your current habits, and to identify where you may need to make healthy changes in your diet. For instance, if you notice a pattern of late-night snacking, you can develop strategies for putting an end to this damaging habit.
Depriving yourself of your favorite foods while dieting usually backfires, and can lead to feelings of frustration and depression — and binge-eating in some cases. Make a list of the foods you’re just unwilling to give up, and find ways to enjoy these foods in a healthier manner. Do you love chocolate chip cookies and pizza? Look for flourless cookie recipes made with oatmeal and dark chocolate, and for pizza recipes that are low-carb or lower in fat and won’t cause you to pack on the pounds.
Raid your fridge and pantry and eliminate all the foods that won’t aid you in your weight-loss efforts. Candies, cookies, processed foods, and anything containing unhealthy ingredients are all foods you can throw away or donate as part of your healthy diet makeover. Keeping these foods around will only make you tempted to eat them, which won’t support your weight-loss goals.
You know that one person who always has an opinion about everything? Sharing your weight-loss goals with certain people can be counterproductive — especially if they feel jealous or insist on giving you unsolicited advice. Though you may be excited and tempted to share your weight-loss goals with anyone who’ll listen, pick a few trusted friends who will truly be supportive of your weight-loss journey. Even better, find someone with similar goals and work together to increase your chances of success.
Stress, depression, and anxiety will interfere with brain neurotransmitters and hormones responsible for regulating normal bodily functions — including metabolism and weight loss. But studies show that those who practice healthy stress-management techniques can lose as much as 17 pounds in seven weeks without modifying their diets. Discover methods that work best for you, and if necessary, talk to your doctor about treatments for depression and anxiety that won’t interfere with your health and weight-loss efforts.
Think back to all your past attempts at weight loss and identify factors that interfered with your goals. Did you enter the habit of going straight home instead of to the gym? Was your sleeping environment uncomfortable and problematic? After you identify barriers that caused problems in the past, make changes to your lifestyle as needed to ensure you can overcome these obstacles this time around and finally accomplish your weight-loss goals.
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