Moving from I should eat better to I am eating better is the hardest and most important factor in weight loss. Details about calorie counts and macronutrients don’t matter if you don’t take action. To help make beginning a weight loss journey less daunting and sucky I’ve provided a brief summary of the strategy I use to yield long term, sustainable weight loss with my clients.
That said, for this strategy to work there are a few prerequisites:
1.Set some realistic expectations: Have an ambitious long term goal, but get there by setting small, manageable mini-goals that you are certain you can achieve.
2.Stick to basics: Make this as simple as possible and no simpler. Try not to get caught up in minutia
3.Be honest/objective/responsible about your choices. I discuss this topic in greater detail here https://jmortontraining.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/what-are-you-waiting-for/
Keeping your prereqs in mind, here’s how you get started.
Make a food journal
This is hands down the most important tool you have at your disposal for your weight loss. The food log is your hammer, necessary, fundamental, and multifaceted. It is also your flashlight, guiding you through what would otherwise be shrouded in darkness.
The food log has a few crucial functions. It keeps you honest, by presenting your dietary habits in cold, hard, indisputable ink. In addition, it keeps you mindful of your eating throughout the day. When you have to write down everything you eat, it stays in the forefront of your mind.
Every time you consume something with calories, write it into the food log. Make sure to fill everything in immediately as it’s easy to have dietary amnesia and forget about those 2 random Girl Scout cookies you ate in the break room while chatting with Steve about the Oscars. A food log can be as basic or detailed as you like, however I prefer to keep it simple. Just write what you ate and when(lunch, snack, etc.). If it becomes necessary,including details such as calories and portion sizes can be helpful, but for now just focus on the type of foods you’re eating.
Pick a small reasonable habit
Once you have a decent amount of dietary data, a week’s worth or so, look at your food log for patterns in your eating. Now think of a habit that will help you lose weight. This habit can be as big or as small as you like, however I recommend picking something small. Remember, the goal here is just to get started, not to build Rome in a day.
The habit you decide on should meet a few criteria. This habit should:
Bring you closer to your goal(duh)
Be easy to incorporate into your lifestyle, so easy that you know with 100%certainty that you can do it for 2 weeks straight without batting an eyelash.
Focus on that one habit, nothing more
It’s really REALLY easy to get distracted, especially with nutrition. That said, the goal here is to be completely successful at building this one habit. To do this efficiently and easily, focus solely on the task at hand. Attempting to change everything at once will detract energy from building your habit. Yes, this habit will help you towards your long term goal, but right now it’s main function is to get you moving, to begin building momentum. If you’re new habit is,”eat veggies at every meal” don’t fret that they come on top of pizza, not at this stage anyway.
Do EXACTLY what your habit says, without any fine print, knowing that the sooner you cement that habit, the sooner you can move on to the next healthy habit. Remember what I said about Rome.
Piggyback on your habit
if you picked an easy enough habit, it should be pretty effortless after about 2 weeks. If it isn’t that’s ok, just wait until your habit is reflexive before moving on.
Once you have established your first healthy habit, choose another habit which meets the same criteria as the first. Ideally this 2nd habit should play off of the momentum from the first.
Done efficiently, your healthy habits should snowball, building more and more momentum. For example, if habit 1 was,”veggies at every meal”, the next habit could be something like,”veggies and protein at every meal”. You want to build off of your successes. Then, every 2 weeks or so you repeat the process and pretty soon you have an avalanche of sustainable, healthy habits, your body looks totally different, and it never even felt like you were dieting.
Life’s pretty sweet.
Oh hey, looking to get started along your weight loss journey, but need a bit more guidance? I’m currently accepting online coaching clients and I would love to help you lose weight and feel better. Online coaching offers the same results as in person coaching, but for a lot less ca$h and with a lot more flexibility.
Curious about how it all works? Fill out a super brief form here http://mortontrainingsystems.com/ to apply for a consultation and let’s set something up!