Our culture is obsessed with instant gratification, and when we start a new weight loss plan, we want results now—or, even better, yesterday. While there are fad diets which promise (and sometimes deliver) ultra quick weight loss results, these are at best temporary fixes that won’t stick for long, and at worst very dangerous and unhealthy.
And when it comes down to it, that’s what we ultimately want—good health. So how can we make positive health changes in a safe, sustainable manner that will naturally lead to losing excess weight and keeping it off? Read on for our top tips for lasting changes that will improve your life, and help you shed pounds in the process.
1. Find A New Metric
So often we measure our health-gaining progress (or lack thereof) in terms of loss—weight loss, that is. We scrutinize the numbers on the scale and our jean sizes to determine whether we’re succeeding in our goals or not. But weight is not an accurate measure of overall health, and it can fluctuate up and down several pounds over the course of a single day, leading to frustration.
It’s time to find a new metric with which to measure our progress. To that end, we at Diet-To-Go recommend ignoring the numbers entirely — or, more specifically, ignoring the scale’s numbers. If you enjoy statistics, find other figures that will help you track your progress more accurately.
For example, track your daily steps over time, and celebrate improvements in your endurance and intensity. Or keep an eye on your BMI (body mass index) which more accurately tracks healthy weight to height ratios, and can help you be more aware of muscle mass gains. Similarly, how many times did you cook your own healthy meals this week? Track those successes and see how they benefit over time for a fare more satisfying hit of numerical encouragement than scale-watching.
2. Start Small
Don’t try to make huge, sweeping changes all at once, right at the beginning of your journey toward improved health. So many people jump in with both feet first, and join a gym and sign up to run a marathon and get into weight lifting and go paleo all at the same time. While these are all individually great things to try incorporating into your life, don’t implement them all simultaneously. This is a sure way to lead to burnout and discouragement, and maybe even injury.
Instead start small. “Remember, sustainable, lasting change is the name of the game here”, say the experts at Fitij.com – a site that features sustainable weight loss solutions offered by Diet-to-Go and BistroMD. So integrate new health experiments gradually. For the first month, focus on getting 30 minutes of moderate exercise four to five days a week, choosing an enjoyable form that your gradually ramp the intensity up in (i.e., if you want to run, start with walk/run intervals as your body acclimates to the new movement). The next month, set your sights on removing processed foods from your diet, or increasing your vegetable intake to six to seven servings a day. The month after that, try increasing your water intake. Go gently, and you will reap lasting rewards over time.
3. Enjoy The Journey
Lasting positive health changes take time. Sometimes they take a lot of time. This can feel so frustrating when you’ve been working hard and are ready to see changes now. But here’s the thing — you are going to be the same person that you are now when you arrive at your weight loss or other health goals. So why not enjoy who you are and the life you’re living now, as is? Focus on finding exercise and recipes that you love to do and make, that keep you coming back. Track your stats if you find that enjoyable, and ditch the numbers if you don’t. Remember, the goal of all these changes is to make your life better — so if it’s making you miserable, even if you do lose the weight, it’s all kind of pointless.
So take your time and enjoy the ride. Keep plugging along and you will get there. Now, take in the scenery along the way. We promise that it’s pretty darn beautiful.