Making the decision
Every magazine and news show has headlines on how to lose weight and get ready for a particular season or special event. There are so many different weight loss plans that it can be confusing and overwhelming. The truth is all these diets work if you are consistent. Now is the time to decide which regimen will work for you and how you will achieve and maintain your weight loss goals.
So before starting any kind of new diet consider how it fits into your life right now. For example if you join a program that delivers prepared meals to your home but can only afford the one month trial membership then this would not be considered a long term commitment. Also, avoid plans that promise speedy results with very little effort.
Starting a plan and losing some initial weight is the easy part but keeping it off is the real challenge. If you find yourself getting bored and straying from the meal plan you will no longer see results and this could have a rebound effect that results in weight gain.
The first thing you need is a plan.
Think of the plan as a blueprint or step by step outline of how you can achieve your goals. It is important to remember that there is no end to this particular diet or meal plan. This time you need to make a commitment to lifestyle changes that are both realistic and specific to you and your daily routine that includes work, family and personal obligations. So if you know that you work late do not count on making gourmet healthy dinners when you get home from work. Instead plan to make the meals the night before or cook for a few days, eat leftovers and add a fresh side salad to the entrée.
Consider a food journal
Let's get started with your plan by keeping a food journal and recording your daily intake for a few days while you are designing a personalized meal plan. Most people report that they know what they eat but in actuality they do not really have a concept of actual caloric intake. This record will also allow you to identify patterns like skipping meals, eating too many snacks and including high fat foods or soda or soft drinks during the day.
It is time to take responsibility for your weight and understand that daily food choices are responsible for outcomes. Once you have identified these habits start replacing full fat foods with reduced fat or fat free items. Now put together a meal plan for a minimum of 1 week to get started. This should include lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. It is a good idea to avoid processed or prepared foods that are often high in sodium, sugar or fat.
Start exercise with realistic goals
Exercise is going to be an important part of your exercise program. Instead of planning to go to the gym it is important that you set a specific goal like going to the gym 3 days per week for 30-40 minutes. This is a measurable goal and will allow you to assess if you are sticking with your plan. The two aspects of exercise that must be combined are duration and intensity.
If you are a beginner consider purchasing a heart rate monitor to guide you during the workout. In order to burn calories effectively you must be within your target heart rate. As you become more comfortable with routine exercise keep changing your goals by increasing the time and intensity of your workouts and include a variety of activities to challenge your body. Most people complain of weight loss plateaus and this can be a result of eating the same foods and doing the same exercise without variation for an extended period of time.
Now that you are on your way stay positive and think about all the long term benefits and decreased health risks as a result of your lifestyle changes and weight loss. Remember a blueprint is a detailed plan that may need to be adjusted periodically.
If you search for ideas in magazines or online to help you create your plan you will come across the similar suggestions that are presented in different ways. These ideas include; eating smaller portions by using smaller plates, reading food labels and tracking calories, using the buddy system to help you stay on track with diet and exercise and lastly checking in with a professional for ideas and guidance. If you get started now you will be closer to your goals this summer and more excited about going to the beach and participating in outdoor activities.