Starting a weight loss journey can be an incredibly overwhelming experience, especially when:
But believe me when I say... losing weight does not have to be that complicated. In fact, if it is too complicated, it probably is a good sign it's unsustainable and therefore not worth participating in anyways.
So below I've included the very first steps I've taken my clients through that have led to quick wins, more confidence, and better long term results.
Note: I suggest picking one thing to master at a time. So try using this as a 4 week plan, starting with whichever step feels most doable and progressing once confident.
Watch Out for Portion Distortion
The first rule of weight loss is to consume fewer calories than what's being burned. So if weight gain is a struggle, chances are high that portions are getting out of whack.
Don't even worry about food restrictions right now, just get portions in check and begin noticing the scale go down.
The one rule of thumb here is, women should not be dipping below 1200 calories, or 1800 calories for men. Below that is where metabolic damage begins to occur.
Besides helping aid the calorie deficit necessary to lose weight, exercising helps the body send chemical and hormonal signals that tell the body to lose weight and gain muscle (ladies don't worry, "getting bulky" is not a concern here ... but lean muscle will help increase metabolism and give that toned look).
But here's the thing... when first starting out, following the "perfect workout plan" is not the priority or in any way necessary for success. Just getting the heart rate up 4-5 times per week for at least 30 minutes, and simply moving on non-workout days will do the trick. 4-5 times feel overwhelming? Start with 2 and work up to it!
And understand, this is a great chance to find new hobbies, and discover what workouts feel best. Go for a walk, take yoga, dance, get some aggression out with martial arts, go for a bike ride, hike through the wilderness. Don't use the gym as punishment for bad food choices, use it as a reward for the body's incredible ability to adapt, change, move, and grow in service of greater health and happiness!
Trying to lose weight without getting proper rest and recovery is like trying to win a car race without ever stopping to change the oil, rotate the tires, or do any maintenance work whatsoever.
The body goes through a lot during a weight loss journey. And not only does it need sleep to properly repair muscles that have been broken down in the gym, sleeping is when the body can best release and block the proper hormones that signal it to lose weight and burn fat.
Sleep also regulates hunger hormones, so less sleep tonight means more calories tomorrow. A lack of sleep also affects the brains frontal lobe, also known as the decision-making part of the brain. I hope it's obvious why this would be a problem if weight loss is the goal in mind. It's already hard enough to stick to challenging goals, don't make it harder by not getting enough shut eye.
Finally, getting the right amount of z's helps lower cortisol while skipping even just a few hours spikes it. And just to clarify, cortisol is the hormone that tells the signals the storage of belly fat. So, for the love of health, prioritize 7-8 hours EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.
Get a coach
Shameless plug! But in all seriousness... we all need help sometimes and it doesn't mean we are weak or stupid. There is a reason even Michael Jordan, Tony Robbins, Tony Romo, and many other leaders at the top of their field still hire coaches. There is massive value in not taking the long road of trial, error, and frustration.
One of the biggest lessons I've learned this year in my business is to be wise enough to know what I don't know and humble enough to reach out to experts who are truly able to help get me from A to B in the most effective, time conscious way possible. Same applies to fitness goals.
Refusing help would be like trying to get into a house that you know holds a great treasure, and a coach is standing on the curb holding a key out, trying to give it to you, and you insist on finding your own key. It's unnecessary, tiring, and time consuming.
And whether I am the right match or not, find someone trustworthy, with good credentials, who has experience, and who establishes a positive connection from the get go. This is a highly personal journey and anyone who comes along better be up for the task!
So there you have it, 4 very basic and straight forward steps to help START a successful weight loss journey TODAY. Waiting for a sign to start? THIS IS IT. It's time to stop wishing, and start doing. It might not be pretty, it might not be perfect, but what it will be, is worth it.
Maybe this post was enough to get things moving, or maybe barriers are in the way of even taking these action steps. Barriers like time, energy, money, and motivation.
Or maybe this post was a little "been there done that" and the it's time to move on to the next level.
Either way, here are some great next step options: