4 Steps To Successful Weight-Loss
Successfully losing weight and having the habits to keep that weight off long-term requires a bit of planning and effort.
If you have the mindset to work at your nutrition and change something about your weight, you have the right attitude. But, it's not just about hard work and having the right mentality. You also need to be prepared and armed with the right strategies to make that weight-loss permanent.
I have heard far too many stories about people getting great results, only to lose them shortly after, due to not developing a framework to cement those results in place.
Before I go into the strategies which will help you to successfully lose weight, you must first understand what good nutrition is. Losing weight and getting rid of unwanted body-fat comes down to the foods and liquids you consume. You can learn more about good nutrition HERE.
I also need you to understand that you cannot simply out-exercise your way to being skinny or losing a tonne of weight. You can't out-train a bad diet.
This article will provide you with four strategies so that you can make your weight-loss sustainable. I don't want you to get results, only to have them disappear in 3 months time.
1. Define your baseline
I chose to start with this topic first, as everyone has a different level of what is acceptable and what you deem as "your normal".
Whatever your current clothing size is, your current weight, or the way you perform -- that is your current normal. These are the standards of where you start.
Anything outside of this -- whether it be a smaller/larger clothing size, higher/lower weight, better/worse performance -- is what you are going to be gauging and referring back to.
Now, your baseline may change over time, this is what you will be looking for.
The goal of having a baseline is to help you figure out your staring point. It is definitely not your end point, but where you can start your weight-loss journey.
Know exactly where it is that you are starting from.
Etsablish your baseline and then move on to step two.
2. Identify the changes
You have now established what is currently "normal" for you and have your starting point.
- Are you happy with this?
- Will you accept this normal?
- Do you want to change it?
- What is it that you want to be different?
If you were previously a size 12 and are currently a size 16, you know the changes which occurred. You also have a method to gauge your progress as you go.
This is a good thing!
I can't tell you exactly what it is that you want to track. It might be using scale weight, gauging your clothing size (and how it fits), employing a body-fat percentage test or just your general well-being and how you feel.
Whatever is important to you, stick with that. Try not to chop and change what you track.
You must now figure out what needs to change in order to start making progress and losing that weight.
If you have lost weight before and have had it come back, think about what was different between last time, when you were successful, and now.
Crucial questions which need answering.
- Exercise duration. Which do you need? (more, less or the same)
- Exercise intensity. Which do you need? (higher, lower or same)
- Food quality. Which do you need? (the same, or better)
- Food quantity. Which do you need? (more, less or the same)
- Sleep duration. Which do you need? (more, less or the same)
- Sleep quality. Which do you need? (the same, or better)
These are your Big 3.
You shouldn't be spending your time and energy on anything else, until these areas have been addressed.
This is your bread and butter. The stuff which has a direct relationship with your weight.
Hint: If you are currently unhappy with your weight and want to change it, my recommendations are;
- Increase the quantity and/or intensity of your exercise
- Improve your food quality and maintain or decrease the quantity
- Increase both the quality and quantity of your sleep
It's imperative that these 3 areas receive attention and be taken care of before you start worrying about supplements, or any catchy fads or fitness gimmicks.
3. Track and measure
You took some data at the beginning, which means you have information to compare your efforts against over time.
Below are my recommendations for how often you should track and measure your progress.
Once per week or fortnight. At the same time and in the same conditions. Same clothes and after you go to the toilet.
Every four to eight weeks. Use the same tape measure and use the same sites on the body.
Body-fat percentage test
Every 3-6 Months. Use the same type of testing method (or same machine -- if possible) and perform at the same time of day.
Ongoing. *You know* how well or poorly your clothes fit you. "Are your pants getting tighter or looser?"
Tracking what progress you are making is important to view long-term trends.
Notice how I said "long-term"?
If you choose to use scales, there WILL be fluctuations, on a daily basis. So try not to fixate on the number on a weekly basis.
What's important and more valuable is the trend over the course of 4, 8 and 12 weeks. Think of the big picture and end goal.
- Trending positively and seeing the results you want? Great! Keep doing what you've been doing.
- Have results come to a halt? Perhaps it's time to revisit those crucial questions and "turn the screw" (further challenge your body), so new progress can be made.
- Results going the wrong way? Stop what you are doing, re-assess what needs to change and then course-correct.
I find that a lot of people tend to lose sight of their goals and eventually let them slip as they don't have someone to report back to and check-in with.
It's easy to 'do it on your own', but it's also very easy to tell yourself "I'll do it tomorrow".
This is why you will find a huge benefit in telling someone what you are doing and what your goal is.
That way you have someone objective in your life to say "well done" when you are doing well, keep you in line when you want to say "Fuck it" and throw the towel in and also to be your support person.
Losing weight can be like riding a roller-coaster.
One minute things are going smoothly, you can see where you're going and then next minute, you go through a dark tunnel and are upside down at 100km/h.
It won't always be smooth sailing. There will be ups, downs and twists and turns.
It's up to you (and your support person) to have a good process to stay calm and remain accountable to the goal which you set. You can't give up when you hit a rocky patch.
Which is why having someone who isn't directly involved in your weight-loss journey can be handy. They can almost be a guide to you and help get you out of having "tunnel vision".
Sometimes you need someone to explain things and show you what's happening from a different perspective.
This person can be anybody who you trust.
But, they also need to support you in undertaking and making these changes.
Your best friend
- A work colleague
- A coach or trainer
- Online group or community
There's a saying which covers this topic perfectly -- “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Having someone beside you, helping you make the hard decisions, picking you up when you fall down and encouraging you to keep going is an essential part to losing the weight and keeping it off.
You will need to do what needs doing, regardless of how you feel sometimes.
This means slowly reducing your overall calorie intake, increasing your exercise frequency and/or intensity and sticking to the plan.
Those are the four steps which you will need to have in place to successfully lose weight.
But more importantly, helping you build the environment and framework in place to make sure it doesn't come crawling back.
I hope that gives you guidance and a framework to start making the necessary changes to your diet, exercise and sleep routine so that you can lose weight, keep it off and create good habits which you can then pass on to your family, friends and others wanting to make a change.
If you have any questions which you need help answering, please drop a comment below and get in touch. I love helping people who are serious about making changes to their body, but don't know where to start or need something to spark new progress.
Until next time,
Follow the formula.