Choosing the best weight loss plan can be TOTALLY overwhelming. Knowledge is power, and we live in the most advanced information age to date. Access to this information is an amazing thing, but it can also be incredibly daunting… especially when it comes to those who are trying to figure out how to lose weight and how to pick the best plan to do so!
With all of the different “diets” out there, how is someone supposed to figure out which route to take? A quick search for “how to lose weight” on google will pull up lots of different methods: low calorie, fat free, paleo, IIFYM, low carb/no carb, keto, intermittent fasting.
As a Weight Loss Coach and Personal Trainer even I can totally understand why people get CONFUSED!!!! How is anyone supposed to know where to start? And more importantly (but VERY often overlooked)– what happens when you reach your goal? How do you maintain your new physique? Did you know that 65% of dieters return to their pre-diet weight within 3 years? That is not a very promising statistic…but bear with me… there is (a lot) of hope!
If you are looking to drop 10 lb or more, reach a certain clothing size, or change your body composition, these weight loss tips are all things that you should take into consideration when choosing a weight loss plan.
1.) Make sure your weight loss plan is actually sustainable. If your weight loss plan has you eating very precise meals at certain times and has no flexibility, this is not going to be sustainable. It might help you achieve a short-term/time-bound goal, but it’s unlikely to provide you with lasting success. When looking for a program, do a gut check– if it doesn’t sound sustainable *for life*, it probably isn’t.
2.) Don’t forget that the energy equation is KING when it comes to losing weight. With the exception of certain medical conditions, the reason for people having excess weight on their bodies is due to eating more calories than their body needs. When you eat more calories than your burn, your body stores it as fat. The more you do this, the more your body stores.
On the opposite end, if you eat less calories than your body burns, you will lose weight (this is known as a caloric deficit). Although it’s worth saying that in certain circumstances – eating too little can also cause weight retention.
Truth is, it doesn’t matter if all you eat is chicken breast and broccoli, if you eat too much of it you will not be able to lose weight! It’s very important to be mindful of how *much* you are eating. If you are just starting out – perhaps you use your hand as a guide (LOVE this infographic by the folks at Precision Nutrition)
If you are more advanced or want to me more precise and intentional about your weight loss plan, the best and more precise tools for gauging portion control are food tracking apps like My Fitness Pal coupled with a digital food scale.
3.) Do not restrict any food group (unless it actually makes you sick or goes against your religious/ethical beliefs). At a very basic psychological level, the more we restrict something the more we want it. If you give up foods that you love, the minute that you allow yourself the *forbidden fruit*, you’ll want to eat it in excess in fear that you “will never have it again”. Thus the all or nothing (aka the “start fresh tomorrow”) mentality commences.
That being said, there may be certain circumstances where you need to give up certain food groups or foods so that your body can heal itself (i.e. a gut issue, hormone imbalance). But giving up certain foods or food groups because you think that they will make you lose weight faster is not entirely true.
4.) Ditch all or nothing mentality. The all/nothing mentality is one of the most detrimental mindsets for someone to have who is looking to change their body composition and lose weight!
Let me give you an example. Let’s say it’s Friday and Sally has been doing great all week on her plan of eating “clean” foods at 1500 calories. When Friday night rolls around she has a “forbidden” slice of pizza. She thinks to herself “screw it– I’ve already been “bad”, I might as well just eat all my restricted foods now and I’ll start fresh Monday.” One slice of pizza turns into 3 pieces and is finished off with a pint of ice cream.
Before she knows it, Sally has consumed 4,000 calories in one day and has pretty much undone her week’s worth of hard work (and then some). Had Sally stopped after 1 slice of pizza and perhaps a few bites of ice cream.. She would have been much better off. Maybe she would have gone over by just a bit, but sometimes good enough is good enough! Bottom line: make room in your plan for foods that you love, and learn to enjoy them responsibly instead of restrict them altogether.
5.) Use multiple methods to measure progress. The scale ONE method of measurement but not the be all end all when it comes to losing weight.
The scale only tells a (very small) part of the overall story. The scale MAY help you make changes to your weight loss plan if you hit a plateau – but it’s not the only data point you should use!
Do not become a slave to the scale because your weight will fluctuate for a variety of reasons!. Chasing a number will never bring you lasting happiness. Other tools to measure progress include; a pair of skinny jeans, pictures (my favorite!!!), measurements & most importantly, how you feel.
6.) Use the tools that are appropriate for you. Different goals require different tools. For example, if I have a client who has never been aware of portions or calories, and has weight to lose. I will usually have them invest in a food scale, a body weight scale and high quality protein powder. Other clients come to me and are trying to *get off* calorie/macro counting and embrace intuitive eating, so I would not have them use a food scale or a body weight scale. Rather I would have them focus on eating to perform, eating nutrient dense foods, and figuring out how to incorporate intuitive eating into their everyday life. Depending where you are in your journey, you will need a set of tools, but certain ones will help you more than others.
7.) Have a plan once you reach your goal. The reason why so many people end up gaining the weight back (and then some), after they “reach” their goal on a weight loss plan, is because they didn’t have a plan for once their goal was attained. If your goal was to lose weight, and you have reached your goal weight, now would be a good time to first of all CELEBRATE!!! And second of all, to slowly increase your calories to a maintenance level. This may also mean if you have been counting macros/calories, to slowly get yourself to embrace a more intuitive eating lifestyle.
8.) Get your mind right. The saying is true “whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you are right”. We all have different reasons for why we embark on a wellness journey. Some of us want to be a certain size, others just want to feel better. This is going to sound hippy-dippy, but you truly have to envision your goals, and picture yourself achieving them. You can do it, anything is possible. Our bodies are incredible, and we can truly achieve almost any physique (within genetic/medical limitations of course). What are the things you would say to a friend who was embarking on a wellness journey? You would most likely be encouraging, empathetic and positive, right? Speak to yourself the same way.
9.) Keep your social life . More often than not, those of us who start “dieting” avoid social events in effort to “stay on track”. This is a recipe for disaster. Your weight loss plan should fit within your lifestyle, not the other way around. You owe it to yourself to reach your goals, but not at the expense of your fun & maintaining your relationships. Instead of saying “no” to social invitations in fear that you may veer off track, make a plan ahead of time and stick to it.
10.) Respect yourself. One of my favorite mantras is “Eating well is a form of self respect.” I couldn’t agree more. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full, eat mostly nutrient dense foods, save room for fun foods that you enjoy. You can reach your goals without deprivation and without giving up fun aspects of your life.
I hope these weight loss tips were helpful and will help you on your journey to finding the best weight loss plan for you. If you are looking for something customized to your needs, don’t hesitate to reach out to me for a free consultation 🤗