When it comes to weight loss, we get bombarded with a lot of BS: pills, quick fixes, fitness DVDs and podcasts, juice fasts … and the list gets longer and longer. Guarantees are promised, and hopes are high. Companies love preying on us when we’re at our weakest. Instead of betting and hoping that these companies will deliver the change we are hoping for, it’s time to bet on ourselves.
I recently wrote an article, 5 Things You Need Before You Can Win at Weight Loss, which touched on the emotional side of getting your mind in the right place to start your journey. Now I’m going to give you a strategy for how to execute a successful weight-loss plan.
1. Figure out what motivates you and lights your inner fire.
Only you can answer this. Once you find it, use this as motivation every single day. Your opportunity to make a positive change in your life starts today. Don’t wait another day to start your journey to better health because you matter. You will need to learn to have a relentless pursuit of improvement. Every day, you have the opportunity for a fresh start and to be better than you were the day before. Do not waste it!
2. Accept that you’re going to have to work for what you want.
Look, here’s the reality: You’re going to have to do the work to get results. Period. End of story. Every single day, you have to prepare and cook your meals, log your food, move your body and try to get more restful sleep. You need to get in the mind-set that this is going to be a grind.
There will be days that you won’t want to work out, you won’t want to prep your meals, and you’ll be frustrated that you only lost 10 pounds when you feel it should be at least 15 by now. Know that millions of others have walked in those same shoes. The difference between the ones who see it all the way through and the ones who throw in the towel is work. The ones who see it all the way through continued to do the work. It’s not magic, luck or serendipity, it’s work!
3. Eat and move in ways you (mostly) enjoy.
Does anyone really like to eat things that don’t taste good or do stuff they don’t like to do? No!
You want to know what the best diet is? It’s the diet that you can be most compliant with. Do what you are willing to follow, and stick to it. The same goes for working out.
I get this question all the time: What’s the best exercise to lose weight? There isn’t a quick answer; rather, I ask: What do you like to do? What’s going to motivate you to get up at 5 a.m. on a cold morning and do the work? It’s true that not all exercises are created equal; there are workouts that will get you to your goals faster, but they will only work if you actually do them consistently. When you’re getting into shape, it’s important to do what you enjoy doing because you are more likely to perform those workouts each week.
Just remember that you have to do it at a level that gets you out of your comfort zone so you continue to progress toward your goals. Leisurely walks through the park with your spouse, kids or friends are perfect for “rest” or active recovery (the day after a harder effort), but not for your workout days. Keep in mind that your confidence will grow as you get in better shape, and you will be more willing to try more challenging exercises the fitter you get.
4. Create a simple, thoughtful plan for each month. And follow it.
Now it’s time to build a plan that is detailed and leaves no guesswork. You need to know what you are supposed to be doing every single day for the upcoming week, including a workout schedule with rest days, a meal plan and a strategy for making healthy choices if you’re going to eat out.
Do not leave any choices to chance—always be proactive, not reactive. I encourage you to put a plan together that has both short- and long-term goals, and isn’t overly complicated. Set reasonable goals to hit at the end of the first four weeks. For example, walk a minimum of 4,000–5,000 steps each day and track your daily calories. These are reasonable short-term goals to reach in a month. Your plan should be simple, systematic and progressive each month. You’ll start collecting small victories along the way if you adapt this strategy. Trust.
5. Build a support group, and lean on them when needed (and vice versa).
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
The percentage of success is dramatically higher when you recruit others and work together toward the same goals. Find your teammates, support each other, push each other, and make each other accountable. If your motivation is low, you’re feeling sorry for yourself, or you don’t really want to walk that fast today, know that you have someone in your corner who has your back and can remind you why you are doing this. The best thing about working out with others is it forces us out of our comfort zones.
If you can’t find people around you, recruit a support system on social media. One of the beauties of social media is it connects us despite geographical or time differences.
Work hard, have fun, and be patient!