Losing weight can seem like an insanely daunting task – especially if you have a lot to lose – so I never advise people to jump straight in and introduce hardcore lifestyle changes. Having a restricting diet doesn’t teach you how to incorporate healthy changes that will stick – it will only make you hate the period you’re dieting and go right back to the way you were eating before once you’ve hit a goal weight. Trust me, I’ve been there (several times).
Losing weight is all about picking up healthy habits that can be part of your every day life. There is no point going through a restricting ‘cleanse’ or ‘detox’ and expecting long lasting results. Besides the fact that cleanses and detox are BS, you won’t learn anything about how to life a healthy life. You have to make small manageable lifestyle changes that will stay with you forever.
If you have never tried to lose weight before, first of all read my post on ‘How to Lose Weight’. Weight loss is all about calories in vs calories out and once you’ve mastered that, only then do I recommend you move on to nutrition and macro goals.
First of all, let’s focus on some really easy healthy lifestyle changes you can master this June to start you on the path of weight loss.
1. Find a Weakness Substitute
Everyone has a high-calorie food weakness and you cannot realistically expect to never enjoy that food again. For me, it’s all about stodgy potatoes, thick gravy and cheese! I allow myself these foods because cutting them all out would be insane. The difference now is that I’ll use them individually to accent a meal rather that one high-calorie food bomb. Here’s my suggest food dupes:
Chocolate / Find a low-calorie hot chocolate sachet (38 cals per drink)
Wine / Switch to spritzers with diet lemonade to half your cals per drink
Cheese / Portion control a low-calorie cheese or use soft cheese which is often much lower
Noodles / Shirataki noodles are 7 calories per serving
Rice / Bare Naked Rice is only 12 calories per serving
2. Add, Not Take From Your Diet
A great way to think about the way you eat is to make a pact to try as many vegetables, greens and fruit as possible rather than think of all the things you can’t have. For example, whipping up a fruit meringue for dinner tonight – which is interesting to cook, new to try and low calorie – means you won’t be hungry to snack on that chocolate bar.
Think of all the wonderful things you’ve always wanted to try and slowly add them to your diet. As you develop an appetite for trying new things you’ll discover amazing new flavours and forget about all the sugary treats you used to have.
3. Shop Online / Have Iron Will In-Store
When you visit a supermarket, there are many tactics supermarkets use to make you spend more money (here’s a recent post on them) however the best priced supermarkets don’t offer home delivery so it’s a conundrum, and a decision that I flip and flop on.
Basically, if you have strong will (and maybe a shopping list) then visiting Aldi or Lidl in person is the most frugal and healthy route available but if you can’t trust yourself not to pick up biscuits then shop online, carefully planning out your meals, budget and the weeks menu all together.
4. Be More Active Than Currently
Progress not perfection is something I’ve picked up from the brilliant #debtfreecommunity on Instagram. I used to think that if I didn’t spend 2 hours in the gym, it wasn’t work doing anything but that’s total rubbish. Below are some easy ways to sneak in more exercise without noticing and make some small lifestyle changes.
Get off the bus a stop or two early (an old one but a classic)
Walk any trip that’s under 30mins
Go for a 15min run with a friend
Take the stairs every time
Take up a home exercise via YouTube or fitness DVD
If you want to notice what a difference a 30min walk can make to your day, I highly recommend buying a sports watch and just seeing the difference!
5. Make Your Environment Supportive
In a dream world my cupboards would be filled with fresh produce, my boyfriend would be a personal trainer and I would just love working out. But the truth is that I have to plan and pre-prepare all my own food, my boyfriend loves chocolate and I loath anything that makes me sweat. But to have any chance at making healthy lifestyle changes, I make my environment friendly to my goals. For example:
Remove any bad snacks from the house (unless you can portion them out)
Fill your pantry with low-cal and healthy snacks
If you’re planning on working out after work, remove any roadblocks that may stop you. Make sure your gym clothes are clean and neat by the door.
Ask your friends and family not to offer you anything high-cal for a while.
Finally, have a serious conversation with your SO about why you want to lose weight and what their support would mean to you.
Thank you for reading and good luck on your journey!