So you want to go on a diet to drop the weight. Hopefully you’ve also considered tacking on an exercise plan to help boost your chances of success. Then there are healthy behaviors that need to be adopted to ensure that the weight you do lose stays off for the long term. And you have to figure out how to do all of this while living your life, building your career, and taking care of your family. You might get to the point where you feel like it’s too much and you end up doing nothing.
But the thing is, all this work that can be done without getting overwhelmed to the point of wanting to quit. It can be done if you’re willing to take things slow rather than trying to undo a lifetime of bad habits in one crash diet. Here’s how you can slow down and succeed:
Step 1: Shift Your Mindset
The first step to slowing down is to truly understand that you can’t lose in two month’s what you gained over two years. It’s just not possible if you want that weight to stay off. Now if you’re okay with the weight coming off and then coming back with more added on, then sure keep your expectations as they are. But if you’d rather lose the weight and be done with it, or in the words of my favorite gladiator – Olivia Pope – If you want it handled, then you want to adopt a go-slow mindset. You need to be truly okay with the fact that your weight loss isn’t going to take a linear curve. It might come off fast, then slow down or even stop coming off. But it will eventually come off if you’re willing to stay the course through the good times and the not so good times. One thing that can make it easier is if you knew how long it took you to gain the weight, having this information will allow you to give yourself at least that much time to lose it. For instance, I just had a baby and it took me 39 weeks of carrying him to gain 19 kg and I’ve given myself at least that much time to lose all of it.
Step 2: Take Stock of Where You Are Now
Now that you’ve shifted your mindset the next thing is to make a list of what needs to be done for the weight to come off. I started this list in the introduction and it includes 3 things at the core of it – eat healthier, move more, and change your unhealthy behaviors. This step of taking stock requires that you know how you eat, how you move, and what unhealthy behaviors you currently have. This step is important because it not only gives you an objective view of where you are right now, but it could also help you see that things might not just be as bad as you think they are. For example, you might not be eating healthy, but you might find that you’re actually very active. And if it reveals that you have work to do on all three fronts, at least you know where you’re starting out.
Step 3: Tackle the Easiest Thing First
Now that you know where you are, tackle the easiest thing first. Sometimes this decision might be made for you as is the case for a new mom who isn’t allowed to exercise for the first six weeks after she has her baby. In this case, she can focus on eating healthier or working on letting go of one unhealthy behavior each week. If you have no such restrictions, start with what’s easiest. If you’ve had success eating healthier in the past start with that. Doing this will help you clean up your diet faster, and have you moving on to cutting your portions quicker so that you can start to see the weight fall off. This taps into the concept that as a human being, you’re more likely to stick with something if you see success early on. So set yourself up for getting the wins early and often by starting with what you know you can be successful at and slowly graduating to the harder stuff.
Step 4: Track Your Wins
It’s no fun to have early wins and successes if you don’t know what they are. This is where keeping track of things really helps you. Tracking your meals, your exercise, and the habits that you’re working on can help you determine what you’re winning at and motivate you to do more of that. If you want to know how to track your wins with the habits you’re working on, check out the 30-Day Power of Three Checklist that’s based on habit research made popular by Brian Wansink, the Author of Slim by Design and Mindless Eating. Enter your start date, end date, and your three habits; and for each day that you successfully complete each habit, you’ll put a check mark next to the habit under that day. Your goal is to at least go for 80% success.
Step 5: Slowly Add More to Your Plate When You Feel Ready
As you master the easiest tasks that form your diet plan, you’ll start to feel more confident. This confidence is just what you need to take the next steps and add the harder diet changes, exercise modifications, and new habits that you need to get you all the way to where you want to go.
With a new change mindset, going through the cycle of taking stock, tackling what’s easiest, tracking your wins, and adding more to your plate when you’ve mastered what’s already on there will help you succeed at your diet feeling like a victor rather than feeling overwhelmed.
Over to You:
Now that I’ve gotten you started with the information to get the body you want without feeling like you’re doing too much at once, I’d like to know – what’s your next step? Do share in the comments section, I’ll be sure to respond.