9-Step Battle Plan to Weight Loss Resolution VictoryBy Anthony Heredia | January 18th, 2011 | Category: Fitness, Fitness Couture | 2 comments
It’s the same story every year, isn’t it? We over-indulge during the holidays, justifying those sugar cookies with the notion of making an unbreakable New Year’s weight loss resolution. The problem is that one way or another our plans don’t always go according to plan, now do they? No need to punish yourself because it really isn’t your fault. Weight loss is hard when you have no help. If you’re a lawyer and you don’t understand the law, then you might have some problems; but most of us aren’t nutritionists or fitness trainers, so quit the blame game and let’s lay out a proper battle plan. There is no such thing as a universal program that will help everyone perfectly. You must build your own, customized to your lifestyle, and this 9-step guide will kick start it all.
The Battle Plan
First things first: map out your goals. You wouldn’t drive to New York from California without a map or GPS, and you shouldn’t start a new healthy direction without having an idea of what you want to accomplish. The best diet program advice I can extend to you is not to start a diet program; start a new healthy chapter in your life. The start of a program insinuates that there is an end, and I sincerely doubt you are reading this in search of temporary results. Sit down and take the time to commit to making this a way of life. Your results are simply a bonus of a healthier lifestyle and should not be a negative chore to maintain. A healthy lifestyle and body takes planning and some practice, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes effortless. First, decide how much weight you want to lose. Next, give yourself a time frame to reach your goal. A healthy amount of weight loss to expect weekly is between 1-3 pounds (2 pounds being the most common). If I wanted to lose 20 pounds, I could expect it to take 20 weeks at 1 pound a week or 10 weeks at a 2-pound loss per week. Realistically, I could expect to be at my goal in as long as 5 months or as soon as 2 months. The actual rate of loss will always vary for countless reasons, but now you have a realistic short term plan, while the long term is maintaining your hard-earned results. Speed of loss can be increased with more exercise; but you never want to cut your calories too low, or that will put your body in defense mode and halt results. Focus on losing weight through healthy means, as quick fixes only render temporary results. A healthy loss will keep the weight off.
Surrounding yourself with positive supportive people can make all the difference. Even the most positive person can be brought down when surrounded by a great deal of negativity. I suggest that you begin to recruit friends, coworkers and family that you know will support you, and avoid those annoying negative people. Accountability and positivity are key. Everyone needs help staying on track, and informing your team of your goals will help keep you accountable during weak times. Yes, there will be weak times. A healthy lifestyle is not about perfection, but persistence. Go ahead and fall off track, but dust yourself off and get right back up. Recruiting an exercise buddy or partner to go through this with you can double your chances of success.
There will be obstacles such as your favorite bad foods, negative people, life circumstances, and countless other saboteurs. Excuses attempting to derail you will run rampant through your process, so make a preemptive strike. Take some time to write down every single possible excuse or scenario that you know you might run across in the first few weeks or months of your efforts. Now, next to each item on this list write down a realistic way to overcome that obstacle. The first few weeks are always the hardest, and if you wait until you are in a difficult scenario, then you are significantly more likely to fall off track. You will also be able to bounce back twice as fast when things go astray, and they will go astray. Perfection is an illusion; your results will be dependent on your resilience and not your unwavering will power.
Keeping track of your habits will make you three times more likely to succeed. The key is accountability and not meticulous notes. The idea is not to count every calorie but to start taking a look at what you’re actually taking in. Weight principles of loss are simple: you simply need to burn more than you take in. Unless you are a masterful nutritionist or veteran health enthusiast, you most likely have no idea how many calories you are taking in. A snack here, a taste there, two cookies, some extra sauce, and before you know it, you added 500 calories to your day. Now, an extra 500 calories might not sound too bad for a day, but extend that for a week and that 500 just became 1 pound of fat (3500 calories). This is how weight sneaks up on us. A little bit extra every day adds up if you are not aware. This is what a journal accomplishes masterfully, awareness. It can be a typical spiral notebook or an official food journal. The more detailed your entries the better you will do, but even a scribbled down mess will make a world of difference.
The Nutrition Changes
Nutrition is vital to a positive health change, but it doesn’t have to be painful or hard. A common misconception is that you eat less when losing weight, but you actually eat more. It’s simply healthier choices. The average fast food burger is around 650 calories, while a large healthy ham or turkey sandwich will hover around 350 calories. Don’t restrict yourself, but find balance. The key to making a long term change is making sure you are happy and satisfied with your meals. That’s the main problem with going on a typical diet. Diets manipulate your habits for uncomfortable periods of time, and then you go back to your old ways only to repeat the process. Make positive healthy changes that you can be happy with from now on so that this process isn’t a program but a new beginning. In order to lose 1-2 pounds a week you simply need to eat 400-700 fewer calories a day than your daily need. A simple rough estimate of your daily calories is your body weight multiplied by 11, or you can head over to www.caloriecontrol.org for free calculators that will do the work for you. Once you know how much you should eat, spread the calories out over 4-5 meals a day. You need to eat a few meals a day so that your body feels safe to release stored fat. Finally, make healthy decisions with lots of fruits and vegetables. You simply lose weight faster and feel so much better eating more natural foods. When deciding what to eat, try and keep your foods as natural as possible. The fewer steps it took to prepare your food from the ground or animal to your plate the better.
The Exercise Plan You Never Saw Coming
Exercise and weight loss are close friends. One helps you reach the other that much quicker. The benefits of exercise are countless, so let’s not try to count. I would much rather spend time breaking your concept of exercise. In order to melt away inches, you simply need to move and the faster the better. It’s that simple. Break the confines of gym walls and venture out into the world. Your cardio can be spent trailing up a mountain, or jogging through a park. Find a waterproof iPod case and swim the pounds away to some great music. Find a boot camp on a sunny beach. Take some dancing lessons and turn the heat up a notch. Have a fitness DVD marathon until you find your fitness guru eye candy to follow in your living room. Again, the options are limitless, but find something that makes you smile so that you stick to it. The key to reaping consistent weight loss lies in you pushing hard enough. Buy yourself a heart-rate monitor, and do any cardio that gets you moving, but keep your heart rate above 80% for as long as you safely can during your exercise. You can learn how to calculate your heart rate in our “Heart Rate” article. Build up to 60-min. cardio sessions, aim to exercise a bare minimum of three times weekly (but for aggressive motivating results go 5-6 times a week). Fat burning resistance training is great as well, so aim to get resistance work time in at least three times a week for at least 20 minutes.
The Constant Reminder
Find yourself a totem to hold your most private thoughts. You should have a very specific reason for wanting whatever your health and fitness goals may be, and that will be your most powerful tool in this process. A totem is going to be a small item that you can keep in your pocket or purse. Some examples would be a stone, toy soldiers, a ring, marble, etc. This has to be a new and unique item, so it cannot be something you already carry with you. Try to shop around for something new and the more unique the better. Once you have your item, take some time alone to hold and stare into your item as you think of all your goals. Manifest your new health and imagine how you will feel and look and what you will do different once you are at your goals. Imprint all this into your totem so that whenever you look at this item, touch by accident, reaching into your pocket/purse, or just come across it, a flood of your goals comes rushing at you. The power of this item is what you give it, and no one needs to know what it is or stands for. It is just for you as a reminder of what you may forget from time to time. Use this to recharge your batteries in hard times.
The Golden Carrot
Reward yourself for all your accomplishments along the way. Put money aside for a new wardrobe to fit your new healthy body. Schedule a well deserved massage. Plan a trip to show off your new features on some sandy beach in the tropics. Plan a party for yourself with all your friends, or just reward yourself with anything you have been dying for but haven’t been willing to get as a thank you to yourself. This process needs to be a positive one, or you will never stick to it; no one wants to be in pain the rest of their life, so make this a wonderful experience. Give yourself mini gifts for mini milestones, a mini gift at every 5-pound mark and a grand gift waiting for you at your final goal.
Keeping your results should be relatively easy if done right. Life is meant to be lived, experienced, and explored, so don’t punish yourself by denying your cravings. Taste what you like, indulge every now and then, exercise regularly in fun ways, and make good healthy food decisions. Once you are happy with your weight, try to weigh yourself only once a month and only go into weight-loss mode if your weight begins to slide over 5 pounds. Pull back down 2-3 pounds and then enjoy your maintenance lifestyle again. Balance and happiness are key. Try not to dwell on the scale too much either, as your weight can fluctuate 3-10 pounds constantly due to water, food, swelling, a woman’s cycle, and a number of others reasons. Go by your inches, how you look in the mirror, how you feel, and you will have a much happier and healthier 2011.