Fired up with That’s-it-I’ve-had-enough-I’m-ready-to-finally-do-it-this-year enthusiasm, you settle down in front of your laptop and excitedly Google: how do I start losing weight?…only to stare back in horror as your search returns endless lists of conflicting weight loss websites, weight loss theories, weight loss programs, weight loss books, weight loss products, weight loss ads, each contradicting the one you just read before it…
Taking the first step of anything is always the hardest. Especially when you don’t even know what that first step should be.
Having a simple plan that breaks down exactly what you need to do to get started in the right direction could make all the difference between you simply curling up on the couch with a bag of potato chips to forget the whole thing, and feeling energized into action by a sense of confidence, purpose and positivity.
Here’s a simple 5 step action plan to start you down the right track towards losing weight quickly, efficiently and successfully.
1. Take an Honest Look at Where You’re Starting From.
Without knowing where you’re starting from, it’s impossible to know whether any of your efforts are actually getting you anywhere.
Start by having your body fat percentage calculated and your measurements taken (on key points along your body, such as the circumference of your neck, arms, chest, waist, hips and thighs). Whereas the weight on your bathroom scale includes the weight of bones, organs, water, and other things you’d be sorry to lose, body fat percentage gives you an idea of what you wouldn’t mind getting rid of (although you do need some body fat to live healthily). For women, a body fat percentage over 22% is one you want to work on reducing.
You can have a fitness trainer or local gym calculate your body fat percentage, or you can use a body fat calculator online. Record your body fat percentage and measurements on an organized chart, and have them regularly re-calculated every month so that you can track and assess your progress.
Another good way to track your progress: select one or two pieces of “goal weight” clothing and try them on in front of a mirror, once every two weeks. Watch how they start to fit differently from week to week, and feel good as that beautiful dress or pair of jeans you’ve been dreaming about start to fit more and more flatteringly on your changing figure.
Examine what, how much, when and how often you’re eating, and determine how many calories you eat per day.
As a starting point, aim to eat between 1300 – 1500 calories per day, and spread these calories over 5 to 6 meals a day. Make sure that each meal includes a good source of lean protein (lean chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, low-fat cottage cheese or yogurt, etc), some high-fiber carbohydrates (fresh or steamed vegetables, raw fruit, sweet potato, unprocessed whole grains, etc.) and some healthy fats (avocado, cold-pressed olive oil, a few raw nuts, etc.). For grocery list inspiration check out our Weight Loss Grocery List.
Cut out greasy, sugary, refined and processed foods from your diet (but don’t panic; save them up for step 5).
3. Create a Cardio and Weight Training Schedule You Can Actually Follow Through With.
Everyone’s schedule is different, and it’s important to organize your time in the way that makes the most sense for your lifestyle. Exercise – at whatever time of day – can get your body to burn up more calories than what you’re putting into it, which is what triggers weight loss to begin with.
Slot in no less than 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day, 4 times a week. This can be anything that gets your heart rate up and makes you sweat, like biking to work, going out dancing at night, skipping rope in your drive way, jogging beside your dog, or dragging your giggling children around the neighborhood in a wagon as fast as you can (if that’s not enough to get your heart rate up, then hearing the kids happily scream that you’re not going fast enough may just do the trick). If you’re short on time try this 10 minute workout!
Also, find the best time of day to do about 45 minutes of strength training, 3 to 4 times a week. This involves lifting weights, moving something that resists you (dragging your kids out of bed every morning doesn’t count), or using your own body weight. Another option is to find a local gym or studio that has cross-fit classes, which combine cardiovascular exercise with strength training in one session. Blend your cardio and strength training with Circuit training.
4. Boost Fat Burning with the Right Supplements
Including the right fat burning supplements in your weight loss program can give you that extra edge you need to drop the weight more rapidly and effectively. Proper fat burning supplements can stimulate your central nervous system and boost fat loss while helping you control your appetite and fight against the natural slow-down of your metabolism (that can result from dieting alone). Try Slimquick Pure Extra Strength caplets which contain extra weight loss boosters to amplify results of your healthy diet and regular exercise.
Additionally, a multi-vitamin, anti-oxidants (such as vitamin C), and omega 3 (such as fish oil) supplements can help you maintain good health and avoid nutritional deficiencies.
Choose one meal each month to circle on your calendar, and decorate it with bubbly hearts, happy faces and shameless self-congratulatory slogans. This will be your “cheat meal,” during which time you’ll gleefully allow yourself to eat whatever fatty, greasy, sugary concoction you’ve been fantasizing about all month. This monthly cheat meal is your reward for all the hard work and self-discipline you’ve put into your weight loss program. It also helps you mentally and emotionally deal with day-to-day cravings, knowing that if you stick to your guns hard now, you can still continue to drop the pounds without having to completely give up the foods you love.
Lastly, a successful weight loss journey is one that aims at helping you feel healthier and better about yourself – not once you’ve reached the end – but as you confidently move forward, step by step, along the path that gets you there.