1. Make a Plan of Attack
The best place to start with your plan is to ask yourself “Why?”. Why are you beginning this journey? Why now? How do you feel now and how will you feel once you achieve your ultimate goal?
You need to dig deep and discover your true motives for weight loss. Do you really just want to be fit or are you sick of not having the stamina to play with your kids outside? Do you really just want to lose 20lbs or do you want your significant other to feel full of pride that you take such great care of yourself?
There are many reasons you might want to look and feel better, but you need to go to the root of the “why” to find out your true goal. This will be unique to each person on their weight loss journey.
Next, decide how you plan to get the result you want and find someone or something to support you on your journey. Whether that be working with a personal trainer, attending group classes, following along with workout videos, etc. If you are not self motivated, working with a personal trainer or going to group classes will help keep you accountable. You can also get your family and friends involved so you can be in it together!
- Measuring Progress
Then, choose how to measure your progress. Take pictures, weigh yourself, and take measurements to keep track of your journey. You will definitely be glad you did this as you near your goal. You’ll be able to look back at all the changes and progress you have made. Remember that the number on the scale won't tell the whole story!
Also, keep track of the weights and reps you are able to do as you go along. Sometimes the gains you make are not all about aesthetics - you may have started only being able to do 1 pushup and 2 months later you can do 10!
2. Be at a Caloric Deficit
- Energy Balance
Energy balance is the most basic rule of weight loss. Energy balance is energy in versus energy out. You want to be in a caloric deficit, which means you want to be burning more calories than you are taking in.
A good rule of thumb to use, especially if you don’t want to count calories, is to eat slowly, eat smart, and only eat until 80% full. The fact is that you will need to feel a little bit hungry at the end of each day in order to lose weight - remember you want to be at a calorie deficit!
Less is not more when it comes to being in a caloric deficit. I only advise going into a 500 calorie deficit (unless you have medical supervision), which is 500 calories below your maintenance calories. If you don't want to track calories, the 80% rule should suffice!
Personally, I am not a fan of “dieting”, rather I am a proponent of healthy, balanced eating. Putting my feelings aside, any diet will work as long as you are at a calorie deficit - all diets work by restricting calories. However, some diets can be difficult to adhere to, which causes an unenjoyable experience and can result in people throwing in the towel on their weight loss journey. My only suggestion is that you pick something that is sustainable for you!
3. Pick a Plan and Stick with It
- Consistency, Consistency, Consistency!
No matter which workout routine or style of eating you choose, be consistent. It is best to have an approach that recognizes and modifies behaviors that are unhealthy and are keeping you overweight in the first place.
Change one or two small behaviors at a time and build on this to maintain long-term fat loss. For example, if you need to completely revamp your nutrition, start with a few key behaviors to change, such as eating slowly and cutting out soda. As you are able to adjust to those changes, add new changes like cutting out foods/products with added sugar and adding in more lean protein to meals.
This same approach should be used with physical activity. If you don’t see yourself going from zero workouts per week to 6 workouts per week, start with fitting in two 30 minute workouts per week and aim to increase that every month. It’s best to have variety in your exercise routine by mixing it up with strength training and cardio training. Also, make sure you enjoy the activities you are doing - you’ll be more likely to adhere to the plan!
4. Allow for “Off” Days
It’s normal to have an “off” day here and there and you’ll know when you need to push yourself through or give yourself a break. Eat nutrient dense food about 90% of the time and allow yourself an occasional "treat" before getting back on track. Don’t stress yourself out if you miss a workout or slip up with your diet. Forgive yourself and move on. Getting healthy and fit should make you feel good! And hey, you still need to live life! :)
5. Celebrate Your Successes and Set New Goals
When you hit a benchmark on your fitness journey, give yourself a pat on the back! No, really, it’s important to be proud of yourself and grateful for your progress. Everyone likes to be appreciated for their hard work, right? Even you!
You should reward yourself before setting your sights on your next goal(s)! Fitness is a journey, not a destination. Your body is constantly changing from day to day so you should have no shortage of goals you want to accomplish. That’s part of the fun - you can always improve and challenge yourself.
These are the basics of setting yourself on a path to successful weight loss. Don’t look for a “quick fix”, they don’t last. Start your journey to a healthy, fit, sustainable lifestyle. There’s no time like the present!
Check out my training options: one-on-one training, small group training, online training or apply for coaching!
Candice Canace Rulnick has been a NASM certified personal trainer since 2014. She specializes in women's fitness, weight loss, and overall health and wellness. Candice offers personal training to women in Charlotte, NC and also provides home and gym workouts through her online training app.
Candice Canace Rulnick has been a NASM certified personal trainer since 2014. She specializes in women's fitness, weight loss, functional anatomy and overall health and wellness. Candice offers one-on-one personal training and small group training to women in Charlotte, NC. She also provides home and gym workouts through her online training app.