You know you want to lose weight and eat healthier, but how do you start?
Knowing that you want to make a change can be extremely overwhelming. The more you think about it, the less likely it seems that it’s even possible to shift the excess kilos.
The important thing is that you take it step by step. This is a jog, not a race. This is a long-term lifestyle overhaul, not a crash diet.
Here are some top tips on how to start your weight loss journey and lose the first few pounds and remain motivated for the long haul.
10 tips to help you drop your first 10 pounds
1. Break it down
If you would like to lose 40 pounds in 12 months, don’t keep telling yourself ‘I need to lose 40 pounds’. Instead, break this major goal down into a monthly goal of 10 pounds for the year.
If you take it in small steps it won’t seem so overwhelming and every time you reach a mini-milestone, make sure you celebrate.
This will motivate you to keep going. Finally, after hitting each of your goals over a period of time, you will eventually hit your big milestone.
2. Start buying healthy things in the supermarket
It is going to be really tough to kick off your new healthy eating plan if your cupboards, fridge and freezer are all full of chocolate biscuits, soft drinks, ice cream and doughnuts.
Be kind to yourself, and get rid of anything that could possibly derail your weight loss plans.
Swap white bread for wholemeal and junk food for vegetables. Get rid of all of the chocolates, biscuits, ice cream, soft drinks and chips and instead make your own healthier snacks.
With all the unhealthy items gone, you will be less likely to consume them and instead opt for more nutritious food when you feel peckish.
If other people in your household keep anything that could tempt you in the house, make sure it is in a cupboard out of sight so that you don’t have to look at it all the time.
3. Meal prep
The Healthy Mommy’s 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge has a meal planner that is tailored so you can use similar ingredients each week, and this also helps keep the cost of groceries down.
Customize your meal plan around what you already have in your fridge, freezer, and cupboards.
Like we mentioned above, you’re more likely to eat unhealthily – order a pizza or buy a burger while you are on your lunch break – if you haven’t prepared your meals for the week.
By meal planning, not only do you have healthy food available in the fridge and freezer, but it’s also a form of portion control. When you cook for each meal, you may overcook and then go back to the pot and eat the rest. Subconsciously, you could end up overeating.
Snacks are often the easiest meals to make in bulk, particularly when you’re time-poor.
4. Keep it simple
You don’t have to be baking fancy complicated meals. Have basic snacks such as fruit, nuts, boiled eggs and dips on hand. Don’t overwhelm yourself thinking you have to bake for every snack.
You may find some recipes expensive because you need to buy things you do not already have in your pantry like chia seeds, almonds, coconut oil and quinoa as well as sauces and spices.
But after the first initial shop, these items become staples and are not something you have to replace each week.
Try buying ingredients in bulk or stock up from different shops. Markets are also a great place to get cheaper fruit and vegetables.
5. Drink water when you feel hungry
Sometimes when we think we’re feeling hunger pangs, it’s actually just your body alerting you that you need water.
Drinking water regularly helps boost your metabolism, suppresses appetite and it also cleanses your body of waste and reduces the appearance of cellulite.
When you regularly sip on your water bottle, it stops you from retaining water, which can help you feel less bloated.
6. Use the scales less often
Weighing yourself daily can set you up in a negative cycle of ‘today is a bad day because I put on a few pounds since yesterday’.
Your body weight can fluctuate wildly due to things like fluid retention, if you have drunk more water than usual on a hot day, if you’re on your period or even hormonal changes that naturally occur in your body.
We recommend weigh-in every couple of weeks or even once a month and not relying on just the scales. Use a tape measure to measure your body, as the scales can be deceptive, especially if fat has turned into muscle.
You might also want to take your photo in the same clothes and same position once a month and use that as a way to see how far you’ve come.
7. Find a buddy
Find a friend to be your weight loss buddy. This way you can keep each other motivated and inspired. This could be a work colleague, a neighbour, your partner, a relative or a good friend.
Or why not jump onto our Facebook support groups and see if you can find a buddy there to help keep you honest? You can send each other private messages or even texts if you felt that this could be helpful.
8. Drink a Smoothie as a meal replacement
Not everyone feels hungry in the morning, but instead of skipping breakfast you can start off your day with a smoothie.
9. Commit to move
Don’t rush into the exercises if you’ve not worked out in a while.
Start off slow and commit to just 10 minutes of exercise per day for your first few days.
Often, you will find that once you start moving you will feel like going for longer. From there, you can ramp it up with longer walks, or try some swimming, jogging, an exercise class or maybe even some skipping in the backyard.
10. Allocate time
You may feel like you have no time in your schedule, but there is always time.
If you take a few hours to meal prep on a Sunday, then this frees you up in the evenings for the rest of the week. Do lunges while you cook.
Leave the house a little earlier so you can walk to your destination instead of taking the car.
You can even use your children as weights while you are playing with them. Even if it’s just 10 or 20 minutes a day, try and find the time to get moving.
You’ll feel better for it and you will see results faster. Good luck with losing your first few pounds. You can do this!
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