When you first decide to lose weight, it’s hard to know where to begin. A diet might be the first thing that comes to your mind. But diets often fail. Consider the three points below, and you may not need to “diet” at all.
- What is your weight-loss goal, and why?
- How motivated are you to change what you eat?
- Are you willing to change your lifestyle to support your weight loss goals?
Goal Setting for Weight Loss
Your weight loss journey begins with setting reasonable, achievable goals. Understandably, you want to shed pounds as quickly as possible, but it may not be the healthiest choice. If you lose more than 2 pounds per week, it can lead to nutritional deficiencies, muscle loss, and other health problems. That said, you will lose weight at a quicker rate when you first reduce your food intake. This initial weight loss is mostly water. Your weight loss will tend to slow down after the first 1-3 weeks of your new lifestyle. Then, your average weight loss should settle at 1-2 pounds per week. You may not think that’s enough, but 1-2 pounds per week equates to 50-100 pounds over one year. But how can you maintain a diet for an entire year? You can’t, and you don’t need to. When you consider your inspiration and understand your motivation, you’ll realize that it’s not a diet you’re looking for, but a new way of living.
Dieting Isn’t The Best Plan for Beginners
For beginners, intermittent fasting is more effective than dieting. With intermittent fasting, you can lose weight without depriving yourself of your favorite foods, and you won’t need to count calories.
Extreme Diet Changes Are Unsustainable
Your diet won’t be successful if you eliminate everything you like to eat. It’s challenging to stick to a diet that takes all the pleasure out of food. This is why studies show your weight loss plan will be more successful if you have planned cheat days. On the other hand, it’s possible to cut calories without eliminating certain foods at all. Intermittent fasting allows you to eat as you usually would, but it reduces your overall caloric intake by limiting the hours in which you eat. As a novice, you’ll lose weight by merely restructuring your eating schedule. When you’re ready to take your IF plan to the next level, consider reducing or eliminating just a few of the most unhealthy foods. These include:
- Simple carbohydrates and refined grains
- Processed and natural sugars, including fruit juices
- Fast foods high in salt, sugar, and trans fats
Also, soda, juice, and alcohol are full of empty calories, so drink water instead. If you drink water before meals, you’ll even eat less.
You Can’t Count Calories Forever
Many diet plans require you to count calories at meals, which is another unsustainable diet method. It’s impractical to look up the number of calories in everything you eat, weigh your proteins, and measure your vegetables. And if you’re going to count calories, you’ll have to measure your food. Studies show most of us underestimate how much we eat, to the tune of 1,000 calories daily. As a newcomer, it’s best to keep things simple. Reduce your overall caloric intake by restricting your eating window instead of calorie counting. Start with a 12:12 intermittent fast. Eat all your meals and snacks between 8 am and 8 pm, and don’t eat anything outside that window but water, coffee, or tea.
A Weight Loss Lifestyle for Newbies
Successful weight loss occurs when you combine smart food choices with an increase in your activity level. Consider the daily changes you’re able and willing to make. Choose daily activities that get you to move more and snack less.
Daily exercise is ideal, but you may not like going to the gym. If your daily hour of cardio feels more like punishment than entertainment, your new lifestyle changes won’t last long. Take baby steps towards increasing your activity level. You’ll find as you feel better, you’ll naturally want to move more. Begin with the following suggestions:
- Walk instead of drive when possible
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Take brief walks around your neighborhood on your lunch breaks
- Use a standing desk or take phone calls while standing
- Enjoy an outdoor hobby such as gardening, cycling, or hiking
Exercise is personal. Find a method of movement that you enjoy, and do what you love. Anything you’ll stick to is going to be more effective than forcing yourself to do something you don’t like.
Mindful eating doesn’t necessarily mean you need to eliminate foods and count calories. It’s the practice of being conscious of what and when you eat. Boredom, multitasking, or old habits can cause you to overeat. When you remain aware, it puts a stop to the mindless consumption of calories. Use the following suggestions to become a mindful eater:
- Designate one room in your home for eating
- Avoid multitasking while you eat
- Turn off your phone and computer
- Eat slowly, chew for longer
- Notice the smell, texture, and taste of everything you eat
Finally, find ways to manage your stress that don’t include food. Stress can cause you to overeat. Use stress management techniques that don’t involve food like deep breathing, meditation, and exercise. When you move to mitigate stress, you’ll feel better in your body and mind.
Intermittent Fasting for Newbies
Intermittent fasting is an ideal way for beginners to lose weight. With IF, you can limit the changes you make to your diet, and avoid counting calories. If you increase your movement, it will take your mind off of food and help you reach your goals more quickly. You can adapt any intermittent fasting plan to your experience level. If you’ve heard of the 16:8 plan, for example, try a 12:12 instead. You can also eliminate a single meal (rather than two) 1-3 times per week. Making significant changes to your health is not an overnight process. The most successful weight loss plans for novices are those that are easiest to maintain for the long haul. Try intermittent fasting, and you’ll be well on your way to a weight loss goal of 50 pounds or more, at a sustainable rate of 1-2 pounds per week.