Making a weight loss plan, and sticking with it!

How many people, year after year, tell themselves they’ll get fit this year, start eating healthy, lose that extra, weight fit, etc? Making and sticking to a weight loss plan can be anywhere on the spectrum from exciting to terrifying. Last year, Mike and I made a plan to get healthier by making better food choices and being more active. We both lost over 20 pounds, and we were incredibly proud of ourselves!

Unfortunately, life happened, and I began to stress eat. Like, a lot. A LOT a lot. And I not only gained those 20 pounds back, but I added on a few more. For good measure, of course. Mike gained some back too, but not as badly as I did.

So this year, we decided to do it again. And why not, right? We had done it before! It was easy! Errr… not so much. I was much more motivated last year, and with the stress of selling our house and buying a new one, there’s been very little healthful behavior over here. But that’s where this comes in, right? Right. It’s time to stop using my stress as an excuse, and start working on a healthier me. Again. Only this time, I’m going to try my best to anticipate my problems ahead of time, and take steps to avoid or fix them.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, and neither is Google. Before you make any huge changes, consider consulting an actual doctor.

Tips for Making Weight Loss Goals and Sticking with It! | Mommy is a Nerd

 

1. Lay out your goals in a neat and clear way.

What is your goal? To lose weight? To tone your body? To just eat healthier? Write it down. Get a notebook, make a file on your computer, get an app, whatever you will use, do it. Have something that you can look at and see the goal. I like to use a combination of Fitbit and My Fitness Pal (not sponsors) to track my weight loss and dietary goals. My Fitness Pal not only allows you to track what you eat, but you can also edit the macronutrients to make sure you’re tailoring your diet to what you need.

Tips for Making Weight Loss Goals and Sticking with It! | Mommy is a Nerd

2. Do some research.

Do you have a particular diet in mind you want to follow? Research it. Just want to focus on a calorie deficit? Research it.

I pretty much Google every little thing I think of all day long (or you’d think, anyway, with how often I start sentences with “I Googled that and…”). There’s tons of information out there on how to diet properly, exercises for all fitness levels, and lots of other important information. If you want to use the macronutrients settings on My Fitness Pal, Google some information about it to decide what you should be doing. Or, alternatively, use a medical provider to assist you. That’s research too!

My favorite thing I’ve ever found while researching weight loss is this Basal Metabolic Rate calculator. It helps you figure out how many calories you should be consuming to reach (or keep yourself at) your goal weight, based on lots of different factors.

3. Track your progress.

Of course, you can use My Fitness Pal to view your progress, but I also like some good old fashioned methods, like sticking little gold stars on a calendar. Sure, it may sound a bit childish at first, but I absolutely love seeing my calendar fill out with all those little stars, and I can see at a glance when I’m near my computer that I’ve been doing well.

Last year I would put a gold star on every day I exercised for at least 30 minutes. It was usually a solid amount of time that I could carve out during my kids’ nap time, and it always felt so good afterward to put that sticker on.

4. Reward yourself!

In addition to all those star stickers, it might be a good idea to have a “star bank”, of sorts. Determine a point at which you will treat yourself with something. You should choose to get a small treat every five pounds, or maybe if you’ve racked up 20 stars.

Your treat could be a small cheat day, or a small cheat meal, or a new tank top for working out! That’s my favorite, to be honest. Not only am I working on myself and trying to get healthier, but I get to look cute while doing it.

Tips for Making Weight Loss Goals and Sticking with It! | Mommy is a Nerd

5. Understand your triggers.

I am an emotional eater. I know this, and yet I continue to allow myself to just eat whenever I feel like I need a pick me up. Obviously, this is not the way I should be behaving, but what am I supposed to do? I found this guide to be very useful. What it boils down to is that I need to recognize when I’m getting that feeling, and deal with it instead of burying under a mountain of food. Easier said than done, of course, but there is no magic fix-all with mental illness.

By trying to identify the underlying causes of my emotional eating, I give myself the chance to stop and think about what I really need; That in turn helps me to make better decisions. I tell myself that I’ll feel better in the long run if I have something healthy to snack on, and a tall glass of water, than if I gorge myself on cookies or candy.

Lastly, when I really have had that awful day and I feel the strong urge to cheer myself up with food, if I can’t seem to curb the feeling, I get something like raspberries or grapes instead. That way I still get to enjoy the act of eating something sweet, but it’s a much healthier option than brownies.

6. Be gentle with yourself when you need to.

Big change doesn’t happen overnight, and you need to learn to love yourself the way that you are. Yet again, this is easier said than done. Don’t make yourself wait until you’ve reached your goal weight to buy a cute new summer dress. You already look beautiful (or handsome!) the way that you are, and your focus should be making yourself healthier on the inside. This includes mental health. Being mentally healthy is just as important as being physically healthy, and they both aid each other. So be kind to yourself, and forgive you slip-ups and mistakes. It’ll be much easier to pick yourself back up and dust yourself off if you aren’t beating yourself into the ground over a slip up.

7. Routine, routine, routine.

Lastly, one of the biggest things to remember is that it takes time, and you need to form a routine. I’ve read that it takes weeks to form a habit, and at the beginning, it may be like pulling teeth to make you stick to your plan. I hate exercising, and yet once I forced myself to do it for two weeks straight, I actually started to look forward to it. I never believed people when they said they eventually started enjoying going out for a run. And to be honest I’m still not sure I believe it entirely because I never managed to enjoy the actual action itself, but I did enjoy how I felt afterward and decided it was worth it. Sort of like taking a bitter medicine; you dislike it, but you make it work so that you can feel better later.

And that’s it!

I’ve still got to make my own fitness plan and decide on my calorie goals. Just remember, it’s less about losing weight, and more about being healthier.

Mommy is a Nerd

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