Weight Loss Goals – Strategies for success, and 11 tips & tricks to support you


Post-pandemic some of us might feel like we want to shift some lock-down weight, or it’s Summer and we want to feel and look better. So many times, diets fail because we set unrealistic expectations, we completely restrict ourselves and then end up bingeing on the foods we miss too much, or we start doing a form of exercise we hate!


Losing weight and keeping it off is not easy, but it is achievable with the right approach. We need patience and self-motivation, and we need to celebrate small wins as we work towards our bigger goals. So, what strategies actually work?


Four strategies for weight loss success

The foundations for sensible and sustainable weight loss remain unchanged – a healthy, calorie-controlled nutritious diet, with an increase in regular physical activity, in combination with long-term changes in lifestyle habits and health.


These are some strategies that will assist you in achieving your weight loss goals.

1. Get excited about your goal

Energize yourself so that you are passionate and committed to making lasting changes. Think about and write down the extrinsic factors (e.g., people will see that I look trimmer and fitter) and intrinsic reasons that motivate you to want to lose weight (e.g., I will feel more confident in myself). Constantly keep re-visiting these, as it will help you to stick to your weight loss plan.


Let people know what you are doing so they can energize, support you and help you to achieve your goal. Share with them your milestones to success and celebrate each win!

A health coach can also build you a weight loss plan, and hold you accountable with regular check-ins, to maintain momentum and motivation, whilst also educating you to build long-term lifestyle change.


2. Set a realistic goal

If you are trying to lose weight too quickly there’s a high chance you won’t sustain it, and you are more likely to gain additional weight in the long run. Instead, set goals with a realistic objective, and celebrate those small wins by doing something fun. A healthy weight loss goal would be 0.5 kg - 1 kg per week. The rule of thumb is that you need to burn 500 – 1000 calories more than you consume each day, to create a calorie deficit and lose weight. Track your foods more accurately using a food tracker app, to make sure you are being honest about what you are consuming and burning.


Also, make sure you set goals by using smaller more achievable milestones (e.g., I will walk 10,000 steps per day), which build towards your overall outcome goal (e.g., lose 4 kilos in weight).


3. Consider all the ways you can move

Apart from doing regular exercise, like walking, swimming, or jogging, make a conscious effort to add in a little extra because that will make a difference. What I mean is, taking the stairs, not the lift, walking to a further bus stop, cycling not driving, parking farthest away in the supermarket car park. Everything you can do to create a calorie deficit will help you reach your goal, while also making you feel good about it.


4. Change your mindset

Maintaining weight loss is all about changing habits and behaviours so that they become the norm and accepting that it won’t happen overnight. It’s also important not to give up when you have a setback – just start again fresh the next day and put it behind you. What matters is long-term consistency because habits take as long as they take to break/create. Keep in mind that change takes time, and patience and perseverance are required.


11 tips and tricks to support your weight loss goal


1. Don’t skip breakfast

Eating breakfast sets you up for success because it gets your metabolism going, and it also avoids snacking and bingeing later in the day.


2. Eat 3 meals a day

By eating regularly, with a balanced plate you avoid snacking and if you plan your meals, you can ensure you are getting the right balance and nutrients the body needs.


3. Increase your fruit and vegetable intake

Increasing your intake of the right foods helps gut health and makes us feel fuller for longer. Fruit and veggies are also low in fat and high in fibre with lots of vitamins and minerals.


4. Increase your fibre intake

Complex carbs of which fibre is included also help you to feel fuller for longer, and they aid digestion and gut health. Examples are oats, whole grains (bread, brown rice, and pasta), beans, peas, and lentils. Aim for 25-35 g per day of fibre, and gradually increase to that amount if you are currently not consuming much fibre in your diet.


5. Don’t restrict things

It might sound counter-intuitive if you are trying to lose weight, but we must shift our mindset from one of enforced restriction (which is too hard to maintain) to one of abundance. Instead add in the good stuff to make you feel fuller, which will mean you inevitably will want the bad stuff less! It’s OK to have the occasional treat because weight loss goals don’t happen overnight. If you completely cut things out, you will crave them and then feel guilty for indulging.


6. Don’t make it harder for yourself!

Get those junk foods out of the house. Why torture yourself! Just don’t buy them and if your family isn’t on the same diet, ask them to support you while you are losing weight, by not consuming them in the house.


7. Cut out/down alcohol

Alcohol is full of sugar and will only contribute to weight gain and undo your good work. Keep in mind, that once you reach your goal you can always introduce a glass or two of wine when you want to maintain your goal weight.


8. Hydrate, a minimum of 2.5 litres of still water daily

Hunger is often confused with thirst, so make sure to stay hydrated, especially if you are increasing your exercise. It also helps liver detoxification and digestion processes.

9. Take (daily) exercise

If you are sedentary start with a daily 30 mins walk, and gradually increase to 10,000 steps per day, or you could try the Couch to 5 km, which is what got me into running, and it’s how I can now run half marathons! Keep in mind to lose weight we need to create a calorie deficit.


10. Get enough sleep

Exercising outdoors daily in the morning will help with sleep quality since it helps your circadian rhythm, so you’ll feel tired at the right time. Make sure you are going to bed early enough at night, otherwise getting up to do exercise will feel impossible. We need sleep to help our body rest and recover and metabolize all the good things we have put in our bodies. Aim for 7-9 hours per night.


11. Plan ahead

Plan meals ahead, during your weekly shop, so that you aren’t tempted to snack on bad things, because the decisions of what you are going to be eating are already made for you. If you need to snack, plan those too, and make healthy choices in advance (see my Instagram for some ideas).


Summary

Losing weight and then keeping it off is not easy – it requires patience and persistence and will not be achieved with fad diets or unrealistic expectations. Good foundations for weight loss success remain unchanged and are characterized by following a calorie-controlled nutritious diet combined with increasing regular daily movement and exercise. Realistic expectations mean losing 0.5 kg - 1 kg per week and burning around 500-1000 calories per day more than you are consuming. Food and exercise trackers can help to ensure we are logging things as accurately as possible.




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