5 Easy Steps To Lose Weight
How to lose weight — this phrase is one of the most googled questions out there. It’s definitely the number one subject talked about at our fitness retreat. It’s a burning question for many people and for good reason. There are so many articles out there about losing weight and so much information that it’s almost overwhelming. This is part of the reason I felt compelled to write a comprehensive, easy to understand, guide. Whether weight loss is the goal for health reasons or because you simply want to look and feel better, it’s important to set yourself up for long term results when it comes to shedding those extra pounds.
Weight loss seems so simple and so complicated all at the same time. We tend to go back to that theory that all we have to do is burn more energy than we take in. That’s it. That’s all we have to do and we’ll lose weight. Right? How could that plan backfire? The truth is that weight loss is about much more than just burning more than you take in. Just like any other goal in your life, you’ve got to have a strong plan. Otherwise, you’re just setting yourself up for failure.
In this blog post, I’m detailing a simple 5 step plan to lose weight. With the plethora of information out there, I wanted to get back to basics and break it down for everyone in a simple, easy to implement action plan. I’ll show you how to set goals that ignite action and change, how choose what to measure in order to track your weight loss, how to figure out how much food you’ll take in, your activity level and how to continue monitoring your weight loss results so you can figure out what’s working and what isn’t.
STEP 1: SET GOALS
When you’re trying Setting goals that you can actually achieve is probably one of the most important steps to losing weight. Most of us set a very general goal. Example: a goal might be to lose 10 pounds or lose 30 pounds. So, what’s wrong with that? Seems like it makes a statement right? It does but it has zero plan to back it up. Proper goal setting means having a goal (with a few short term goals along the way) as well as some action steps to support that goal.
GOAL SETTING PROCESS:
Set your overall weight loss goal.
Set a short term goal or two. If your weight loss goal is to lose 15 pounds. What is your goal in the first week or first two weeks?
Make sure your goals make sense. All goals need to be realistic. Average (and safe) weight loss in one week is about 1 - 1.5 lbs. Yes, I know you want to lose it a lot faster than that but again, that could be setting yourself up for failure. It’s not realistic to lose much more than 1 - 1.5 lbs in a week based on what you’re taking in and the amount of energy you can burn.
Determine why. Why is losing weight important to you? Connecting yourself with your goal makes it real and substantial.
*A good journal is a great way to set goals and keep track of them. Check out our Balanced Eating Journal in the shop. It has a goal setting page, daily journals, weekly recaps and so much more. It’s a comprehensive journal that provides all of the action steps you need. See it here: Balanced Eating Journal
STEP 2: DETERMINE WHAT YOU’LL MEASURE
The number on the scale isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to weight loss. If you are measuring scale weight, I would highly encourage you to also complete body measurements in addition to a few other markers. Scale weight is just a measurement of weight (gravity). It doesn’t reflect body composition changes (fat loss or muscle gain) or any other items that might correlate to over all health and wellness. Here are some examples of things you can measure (It’s best to choose as many as you can to gather as much information as possible):
Measurements - shoulders, chest, waist, hips, right thigh, left thigh, right calf, left calf, right bicep, left bicep. It would be beneficial to choose at least the major areas like shoulders, chest, waist and hips. Add in the smaller measurements for more data if you can. Our favorite measuring tape is a myotape because it allows for the same amount of pressure each time you measure. See it here: Myotape
Body composition - Using a scale like In Body, can give you an idea of your body composition (body fat %) as well as hydration levels and skeletal muscle mass. In Body is one of our favorites because of its accuracy. There are plenty of body comp scales out there to choose from. Check it out: In Body Scale
Energy - Track your energy level when you start on a scale of 1 - 10. 1 means you have no energy and 10 means you have energy through the roof. This way you can compare as you go and see if your energy is improving as you lose weight.
Mood - Happy, chill, sad, angry, irritable, anxious? Any mood indicators can also be tracked. Food and fitness can have a direct correlation to mood for many people. Jot down how you’ve been feeling overall in relation to mood.
Fitness level or athletic performance - Other great items to track are anything relating to fitness and/or sport performance. How fast you walk or run a mile, how many squats you can do (with good form) in a minute, how many push ups you can do (safely with good form) in one minute are just a few fitness markers you can track. Sport performance markers would be measured per sport and may include metrics like speed, strength, throwing ability, catching ability, scoring and much more.
Health markers (blood pressure, cholesterol, etc) - Any health markers that need improvement are also good to keep track of. Improved markers usually mean improved health and many of those positive changes come with weight loss.
*Track your goals, food, exercise, water intake, energy, mood and more with our Balanced Eating Journal
STEP 3: CHOOSE HOW YOU’LL CONTROL YOUR FOOD INTAKE
When you’re considering how to lose weight, you must factor in food. What you eat is about 80% of the equation when it comes to success with weight loss. Here are two ways to choose from when picking a nutrition strategy.
PORTION CONTROL (recommended): With portion control, you’ll measure your intake with your hand. This is a convenient, easy to use option that will help with portion control but also helps to draw from various types of nutrients. Here’s how it works for meals (measurements are per meal):
Protein = size and thickness of the palm of your hand (no fingers)
Carbohydrates (starchy) = 1 cupped hand (about 1/2 cup depending on hand)
Colorful Veggies & Fruit = 1 clenched fist (fruit should be limited to 1 - 2 fists per day), Lettuce is a “freebie”
Fat = 1 thumb
Protein = size and thickness of 2 palms of your hand (no fingers)
Carbohydrates (starchy) = 2 cupped hands (about 1/2 cup depending on hand)
Colorful Veggies & Fruit = 2 clenched fists (fruit should be limited to 1 - 2 fists per day), Lettuce is a “freebie”
Fat = 2 thumbs
CALORIE COUNTING: Many people count calories when they want to lose weight. Calorie counting means figuring out how many calories you’ll be taking in based on your body and activity level. You can figure out how many calories to take in here: BMR Calorie Count
While we understand that many people really like to count calories and some of you are numbers people and data people. Because of that, calorie counting is your preferred method of tracking food intake. This isn’t our preferred method but what’s most important is that you choose the method that works best for you. A few reasons why we don’t love counting calories:
Calorie counts can be off by 20% on any nutrition label.
We generally underestimate how much we’ve eaten when logging calories.
Just counting calories doesn’t encourage getting a vast array of nutrients.
STEP 4: HOW MUCH WILL YOU EXERCISE
We recommend exercising a minimum of 3 times per week. It’s important to exercise for a number of reasons - not just to lose weight. Having strength, improved posture, better bone density, joint lubrication, blood flow and cardiovascular health are just a few reasons why exercise is important. When deciding on your fitness regimen, it’s important to consider the following:
How many days (realistically) can you workout?
Which types of workouts do you like to do? Sometimes getting a workout in isn’t just about “getting it done”. Take into consideration what you actually like to do. If your fitness regimen includes classes or workouts that you like, you’re more likely to do them.
Will you go to the gym, workout at home or do online workouts? How and when will you get them in? Or do you have activities that count as a workout? Do you play tennis, swim, dance or surf for example? Some of these activities that have you moving consistently and have your heart rate up can be considered as a workout.
Make sure you create some balance. While it’s important to do the workouts that you like to do, it’s also important to get a variety so that you’re including strength training, core and balance training, cardio and flexibility.
STEP 5: TRACK, ANALYZE & MAKE CHANGES AS NECESSARY
The last component to weight loss is tracking your measurements, analyzing what’s working and what isn’t and then making changes as you see fit.
How Often To Track: You’ll want to track and analyze every week to two weeks to stay on top of your success and to make any necessary changes to ensure you’re seeing the results you’re looking for.
Measurements + Weight - This will be one of the first indicators of whether or not your weight loss strategy is working for you. It’s important to take measurements in addition to scale weight because from time to time, you might have body composition shifts. You may lose fat but add muscle which could relate to you getting smaller but not seeing the scale number shift. If you are seeing either scale weight or measurements continue to improve, great! If you aren’t seeing changes in either after a few weeks, then it’s time to examine further.
Take A Look Back At Your Food & Exercise - Are you hitting the marks on how much food you’re taking in and how much you’re exercising? Eating enough, too little or too much? Exercising enough, not enough or too much? Where are you succeeding or having a tough time? How can you make changes to support your weight loss goals?
Consider Your Other Success Items - How has your mood and energy been? Are you feeling strong in the gym or energy less? How are your health markers? Where are the positives?
*All of these markers (and many more) can be tracked in our Balanced Eating Journal.
Looking back at your information is basically a map into your body, how it works and what works best.
Be patient. Sometimes it takes a few weeks to see results or your body may feel like it’s stalling here and there. That’s ok and it’s normal. If you aren’t seeing results after a prolonged period of time, then it’s time to switch it up so you can enjoy some results.
HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT: SUMMING IT UP
Recap of The Weight Loss Steps:
Set an overall weight loss goal plus a few short term goals.
Determine which measurements you’ll track.
Choose a way to control how much food you take in.
Determine how often you’ll workout, when you’ll workout and which activities you’ll do.
Track your progress, determine what’s working and what isn’t and make any necessary changes.
Weight loss isn’t black and white. There are a lot of nuances to losing weight and it varies by person. Each person is different with unique needs. There are customizations that need to be made along the way. This post, How To Lose Weight in 5 Simple Steps, is meant to give you a strong foundation of how to go about it in a sensible manner that can produce long term results. Often times it takes consistency, patience and learning what works best for you in order to get those real, long lasting results.
These 5 steps represent the core of weight loss. Set goals that you know you can achieve, take measurements that are easy for you to track, figure out how you’ll configure your food intake, set realistic exercise expectations for your schedule and then track your results. We see results from our consistent daily habits. Success is success — even if it’s small. You’ve got this! The first step is getting started - so get to setting those goals and follow the 5 steps! We know that anything health, fitness and weight loss can be confusing. There is so much information out there and it’s tough to decipher what is good information and what isn’t. If you need or want personalized guidance with weight loss, we’ve got a number of options to help you with your goals. Join us for a fitness retreat to jumpstart yourself into healthier habits or sign up for our online personal training or nutrition coaching. We’d love to help you!- Margot
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