I feel like this might be the most important post I write about weight loss! If I go back to try to reconstruct the steps that finally led me to lose weight and keep it off, I do believe I had about 6 pivotal points in my journey. (read my story here)
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Each step built upon the next. And I spent a good amount of time making each step a habit. Each step I took helped me to lose weight a few pounds at a time.
I also think, it’s OK to let your strategy and approach to weight loss evolve over time. Many people hold onto one thing with a death grip and aren’t open to new ideas to take it up to the next level. For example, I saw success with mindful eating, but it only got me so far. It was necessary to layer on another strategy after that until I reached my goal.
So, here are the 6 essential steps for lasting weight loss
- Eat mindfully at meal time– no distractions- no phones, no videos, no reading. This was the first step for me and so important to my weight loss journey. I wrote more about mindful eating here. But the core of this change for me was realizing that if I’m distracted scrolling instagram during a meal, I can finish the meal without remembering eating it, leading me to want to eat more! When I pay attention to the food, I notice each bite and the pleasure a good meal is capable of giving me.
- Avoid snacking between meals– whether it’s 3, 4 or 5 meals a day, put the meal
away and avoid snacking until the next official meal. This was a turning point to me because I didn’t quite realize how many calories I was consuming from the food in BETWEEN my meals. I could eat as many calories in between meals as I needed for the entire day. And, it never left me hungry for the next meal. Read some more reasons 3 meals a day is helpful for weight loss here and here .
- Count Calories– Decide what calorie amount will put you in a healthy deficit to
lose weight, and begin tracking all your food. At this point, after mindful eating and avoiding snacking is dialed in, start tracking your food by weighing and measuring everything. Learn all about how to count calories for weight loss and how to calculate your calorie deficit here.
- Count macros– Aim for high protein, moderate fat, and lowish carbs for the best
satiety and to remove food focus. The next step in this journey for me was to increase my protein for satiety, and body recomp! Here’s the list of foods I used to get my protein in and balance it with carbs and healthy fats. Also, for just my favorite protein foods, check out this list.
- Add Movement/ Exercise. They say most weight loss happens in the kitchen, but once those prior habits were formed, then I started to increase my exercise. Burning more calories, while keeping your calorie deficit can get you past the weight loss plateau. As a warning, don’t “eat back” the calories you burned, unless you want to no longer be in a deficit. Here’s some exercise I’m doing today for exercise. (My 5 day split, My shoulder workout, and a dumbbell home workout)
- Journal the slip ups and successes. Take inventory of your slip ups (when
you eat between meals or go over your calorie targets). Ask questions to
determine what you said to yourself to justify the behavior. Refute the inner
dialogue and rewrite the responses. This last step is VITAL. We are all going to screw up. Every day won’t be perfect. The difference between those people who are successful with weight loss and those who give up, are the ones who can identify the excuses in your mind and practice a new response. More about this mindset on self -sabotage here.
And that really sums up my journey! Let me know your thoughts and which step you are on!