Weight loss is one of the most unnecessarily complicated subjects in health and fitness.
These days, you can find a dozen vastly different opinions on the topic in as little as one hour.
And, if you’re a beginner and don’t know where to start, it can feel incredibly overwhelming and frustrating.
Now, let me ask you this:
Have you ever wanted to learn what sets apart those who lose weight successfully from those who keep failing, year after year?
Start Small, But Don’t Procrastinate
Let’s face it:
We all wait for the perfect time to do something - to take that risk, to make positive changes, to travel somewhere.
And we always have our nice excuses as to why now isn’t the right time. Excuses make us feel good about ourselves and our lack of action (or, at least, keep guilt at bay), but they don’t do us any real good.
The fact is, you should start now. Don’t wait for the perfect time (kids off to college, more free time, more money saved up, etc.) because it will likely never come. Life has this way of keeping us busy, and if you genuinely want to make a positive change, you need to drop your excuses and start right now. Today.
The good news is, you don’t have to make significant changes right from the start. In fact, it’s better to start conservatively and do things at a sustainable pace. That way, you can gain some momentum without feeling overwhelmed.
The Power of Your Habits
We often don’t realize it, but our habits are the invisible force that shapes our lives - for better or worse. A single action doesn’t seem significant (and it isn’t), but if you stretch it out over a month, year, or decade? Well, things begin to take shape.
Sure, a single bad meal isn’t the end of the world. Skipping one workout today won’t make you lose your progress. One night of poor sleep won’t wreck your health. But eat poorly for a month, and you will gain fat. Skip workouts for a year, and you will lose your fitness. Sleep poorly for a decade, and your health will take a huge hit.
In other words, our actions compound. The good news is, our positive behaviors also lead to considerablechanges in the long run.
You Can Start With Big Goals, But Focus on Small Actions
Having big goals is by no means a bad thing - they excite and motivate us to get going. They open the door to endless possibilities and often kick us into action.
But big goals alone aren’t enough for us. You can’t set the goal of, say, losing 50 pounds and expect that alone to get you there. No, you need repeated actions over the months. Because of that, the best thing you can do is focus on small, repeated efforts:
Sure, these aren’t revolutionary and won’t change your life dramatically. But these actions set you on the path of success because they help you create better habits. Over time, 60 minutes of exercise can go up to 120. That one healthy meal can turn into two. Those seven hours of sleep can go up to eight (or at least improve your health, mood, and energy levels).
Small but consistent actions not only improve your life and health but also set the way for further improvements along the way.
Weight Loss: A Holistic Approach
If you’ve ever looked up weight loss information, there’s a good chance that you came across specific (and often cookie-cutter) ‘solutions.’ The problem is, weight loss is a multi-factorial endeavor - you need to look at the whole picture, rather than some quick fix.
With that said, here’s a holistic approach to weight loss:
The most crucial factor for weight loss and healthy living is sustainability. No matter how good a strategy you pick, if you cannot sustain it in the long-run, then it won’t do you much good. All you can hope for are some temporary results.
So, whatever strategy you want to adopt, always ask yourself, “Is this something I can do for a month, year, or even a decade?”
2. Regular Exercise
There are hundreds of ways to exercise for weight loss and good health. What matters most is that you enjoy it, find it beneficial, and feel safe doing it. Some folks prefer to lift weights, others like a peaceful jog in the park.
To find your cup of tea, try a few things out, give each option some time, and move on if you don’t feel it. Plus, exercise has been shown to help improve our sleep.
3. Plenty of Sleep
Tons of research has shown us that sleep is among the most important things we need to do to maintain good health. On top of that, research has also found that the lack of sleep makes it more challenging to lose weightand control our appetite.
So, if your goal is to lose weight and keep it off for good, make sure to get at least seven hours of sleep per night.
4. Healthy Nutrition
As a rule of thumb, the fewer processed foods you eat, the better off you will be. This is because, while all foods provide us with calories, certain options are better as they keep us satiated and energetic.
Here are some great foods to pick up on your next grocery run:
You can’t go wrong by basing your diet around these and other similar foods.
5. Don’t Dwell on Slip-Ups
We all slip up sometimes - a bad meal, a missed workout, a late night with friends, and a few too many drinks. We’re all human, and we don’t always make the best decisions.
But do you know what sets apart those who succeed from those who spin their wheels? Getting back on track quickly. So, should you happen to slip-up, don’t dwell on it - get back on track as soon as you can.
Of course, this isn’t a free pass to do whatever you feel like and shrug it off. But recognize that slip-ups happen.
The Bottom Line
So you see: it’s not just about the ‘weight loss.’ Multiple factors are interconnected, and it’s essential to pay attention to each if you want to lose weight and lead a healthy lifestyle.