5 Incremental Changes That Lead to Weight Loss Success
I offer online wellness challenges every month (check ’em out HERE), and one of the participants recently emailed that she was totally overwhelmed and stressed out by the thought of having to lose weight, cook healthy, exercise, sleep more, drink more water, speak kindly to herself… all at the same time!
This overwhelmed anxiety led to her feeling both paralyzed to start her journey and depressed about not having started sooner.
First, I reassured her that the “Where do I start? How do I start? How do I change everything?” fears are totally normal. Second, we worked on a plan to tackle them individually. Just like we won’t lose the weight overnight, we can’t just up and change our lives overnight.
I am a firm believer in incremental goal setting because we’re constantly working towards an achievable goal. These can be incremental weight loss goals, like 5lbs or 10%, but they can also be habits we’d like to form or improve.
For this participant, I suggested the following incremental habit goals, so she could tackle all the changes she wanted to make without that feeling of overwhelmed anxiety:
#1. Pick your weight loss program and become a student.
When I started Weight Watchers I took the time to read all of the resources, to calculate my favorite meals, to scan every item in our pantry and to find recipes with healthier versions of my favorite foods. This made me well-informed of all of my options and helped me figure out how I was going to balance the things I loved to eat with healthier foods that would aid my weight loss goals.
#2. Spend the first month learning your food and adjusting to drinking more water.
Not all healthy foods are created equal, and it took me time to realize what snacks would keep me satiated, which foods I did not enjoy and what trigger foods (I’m looking at you, cheese slices) simply could not be in my home because I would overeat them. By truly focusing on my food, I better understood when and why I was eating.
#3. Spend the second month adding fitness.
I was NOT ready to exercise when I started losing weight. The intimidation I felt about exercising in a gym was awful, so I waited until I had a month of good weigh-ins and used those positive vibes as the momentum I needed to push me into the gym. For many people I suggest at-home exercise in the beginning, until you feel comfortable enough to go to the gym. I wasn’t suggesting the Insanity workout series, but rather, CouchTo5K, Walking With Leslie Sansone or other workouts that allowed you to start slower or easier and build up your endurance. Exercise is hard, and often crazy workouts leave us in pain or feeling dejected because we’re unable to complete them. By adding time and resistance gradually, we ensure our bodies are ready for the next challenges!
#4. For the third month, I recommended working on variety and getting out of your comfort zone.
There is only so much grilled chicken and salads a girl can eat, and food fatigue can cause you to deviate from your meal plans and binge on unhealthy options. Ensuring variety in menu planning and meal prep helps reduce fatigue and encourages you to try things you might not have tried before. I like to challenge myself to one new recipe every few weeks, and one new food item a month. This helps keep it interesting, even four years into my weight loss journey!
#5. For the fourth month and every three months or so going forward, I always recommend “Become a Newbie again!”
Newbies are excited to try new things, and they’re the most dedicated in terms of planning ahead, weighing and measuring their food, and meal prep. By embracing the newbie spirit every few months you can break up your journey – and you usually see better losses when you do!
What do you think? Are you ready for incremental change or would you rather dive in and make all of the changes at once? Tell me your strategy in be comments below!
This article first appeared on organizeyourselfskinny.com on January 26, 2017.