You really want to achieve healthy weight loss. But there’s so much confusing information about how to do it.
You know what you ‘should’ be doing and eating…
But how do you actually get started, and know that you’re on the right path to making it stick?
The aim of this blog post is to break things down for you.
To give you a start point and a path to follow.
My goal as an online coach is to help women stop dieting, find health and happiness, and end their weight loss struggle for good.
I’ve helped countless clients do that using the simple steps below.
Clients such as Stella, who lost 3 stone…
Claire, who lost 6 stone…
And Vicky, who lost 7 stone…
All busy mums with families to look after, and women who lost that weight while still fitting in chocolate, meals out, and a few glasses of wine at the weekend.
Here’s how you can do it too.
Start one step ahead of where you’re at
What do you do when you have a goal… but you feel overwhelmed and don’t know how to start?
Make a plan that’s as simple, doable, and suited to you as possible, and take the first step.
Most people jump in and try to change everything.
This often results in early ‘success’ (i.e. some weight loss), followed by falling completely off track after a few weeks because it was just unsustainable. And regaining all the weight.
That’s not much fun.
Life is busy, so you need this process to be as low stress as possible to help make it stick.
The simple stuff really counts.
Consistency with food. Getting more steps in. Finding fun ways to be more active.
Think in terms of ‘how can I create a lifestyle that works for me?’
The first key tip I would give is…
Plan your food
Life is busy and temptations are everywhere.
If you’re constantly making decisions ‘on the fly’ you’ll find it hard to make consistent progress.
Reasons to plan:
- stops you having to decide in the moment, saving willpower for other times when you might need it
- helps you make sure you get enough nutrition to help you stay healthy and full
- puts your mind at ease and allows you to focus on the rest of your day
- helps you identify potential danger zones (e.g. arriving home hungry needing to eat something quick) and put something in place to help you out
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to plan the perfect diet, then ordering a Domino’s while your lettuce turns brown in the fridge. Choose foods you’ll actually eat.
Overall calories are key to weight loss, so go for healthy options you enjoy, and don’t be afraid to throw in the odd ready meal, chips etc.
I had a call with a lady recently and we created a meal plan based on what she already likes, and what suits her lifestyle. That turned out to be:
- Scrambled eggs or greek yogurt with frozen berries for breakfast
- Leftover Chicken and pasta salad for lunch
- Homecooked dinner with protein and veg
- Snacks of fruit or Greek yogurt
- Halo ice cream with berries for pudding
Perfect. Without a plan, this lady was raiding the cupboards mid afternoon and feeling too full up to enjoy dinner. Structure makes a big difference.
Nutrition for healthy weight loss
If you’re like my online coaching clients, you want to lose weight, but you also want to feel better.
To have more energy, better eating habits, a healthy well-nourished body that can perform at it’s best.
This little infographic shows the basics of what you need.
For most women, this is a good daily template to follow:
- 3 easy main meals that include protein and vegetables / fruit
- 2 snacks – protein (such as greek yogurt, boiled egg or a protein bar) or fruit
- 1 – 2 servings of healthy fats daily (avocado, eggs, salmon, olive oil, nuts, seeds)
- 1 – 2 servings of natural high fibre carbs daily (oats, potatoes, beans, lentils, wholemeal bread, rice)
While nutrition is important so you feel at your best, we have to keep in mind that calories still make the difference when it comes to healthy weight loss.
Many women lose weight without counting calories (including all three ladies mentioned above), but becoming more aware of them will make a huge difference to your rate of progress. Knowledge is power.
Start building the habit of looking at labels and portion sizes – see what can you learn and what tweaks you can make.
One of the simplest ways to reduce your calories without counting them is to start eating more protein and veg.
Protein at each meal, plus half a plate of vegetables at lunch and dinner.
For lunch, this could be a big side salad with your eggs on toast, a pot of salad or fruit) to go with your sandwich, or extra veggies thrown into your leftover dinner.
This will keep you feeling fuller for longer, and can help reduce snacking, as well as helping you bring down your overall portion sizes.
Here’s a free healthy recipe pack you can download to give you some ideas:
Break down your weight loss goal
If your goal is going to take a while to reach, break it down into smaller chunks.
Lets say you have a few stone you’d like to lose.
It can seem like a mountain to climb. But lets look at it in a different, more helpful way.
You just have more wins to celebrate on the way to reaching your goal.
Over the next few months you get to enjoy…
- reaching half a stone down
- your first stone lost
- dropping into in a new number bracket (say dropping from 12 stone to ’11 stone something’, or from 200lbs into the 190’s)
- your first time wearing a new smaller dress size
How awesome will each of those feel?
For some people it helps to plot them into a calendar, or tie a goal in with an upcoming event.
‘I’m going to buy a dress in the next size down and wear it at the party in 2 months time. That’s going to feel amazing!! I’ll be so proud.’
This can be very motivating, and it helps to have a clear vision of future you. Picturing yourself at an event feeling fabulous in a new smaller outfit can be just what you need to inspire you to keep going when times get tough.
For others, these kind of goals can create added pressure. They do better just focusing on the habit goals below, and actually enjoying the process. There’s no right or wrong way to do things – the goal is to find what works for you.
Habit goals for healthy weight loss
Losing weight and keeping if off comes down to building a set of new healthier habits.
Diets don’t work because they give you rules to follow, which are generally unsustainable for the long term. So once you stop following those rules, you regain the weight.
Building habits can put people off because it’s a slower way to do things.
It’s way less exciting than dropping 8lbs in your first week when you cut out carbs (even though most of this weight loss is water).
However. Once those habits are established, you no longer have to put thought or effort into doing them. They become automatic. And they allow you to make fantastic progress and actually keep the results.
Woohoo! That’s what we want.
So take your time. Ignore the diets and become a habit master.
Habit goal ideas…
- planning meals the day before
- eating protein in each meal
- filling half your plate with veg at dinner
- walking at least 10 minutes every day
- hitting a daily step target
- drinking 2 litres of water every day
It’s also important to remember that we humans are simple creatures, and need to focus on one thing at a time.
So my suggestion: pick one that you’d like to master, and make that your focus for the next 1-2 weeks.
Once you’re doing well with that, add another, and repeat.
Reward yourself for your efforts and progress
Healthy weight loss takes time, so it’s important to make the journey as fun as possible.
Motivation will drop at times too. This is totally normal. Human nature. To be expected.
A tip that will help keep your motivation and enjoyment levels high is to plan in regular rewards and treats along the way. When you hit a weight loss milestone, or complete a habit challenge you set yourself, you deserve to celebrate.
There’s nothing wrong with this being food-related (I recently had afternoon tea with a long-term client to celebrate her reaching a weight loss milestone – it was amazing). You could treat yourself meal out at your favourite restaurant, a few glasses of wine, or a piece of cake at your favourite cafe, for example. Sometimes these types of rewards can help you stay on track long term.
It’s helpful to have some treats that are unrelated to food or drink too though.
Here are some ideas…
How are you going to make this time the last time?
Keep asking yourself how this can be a lifestyle.
If you want to lose weight and keep it off… lose it in a way you can live it.
That will most likely mean meals out, cake on your birthday, a few drinks at the weekend.
All of this can fit into a healthy balanced week.
A simple plan that is manageable and works for you is always the first step.
Start where you’re at. Look for ways to eat a little more healthily, with a little more structure.
Find ways to walk more.
Set targets and give yourself a fun reward when you reach them.
Make it a game – create a little chart and tick things off as you go.
There’s no perfect way to do things. If you’re trying you either win or you learn.
You can adjust as you go. So take the first step.
And then keep going.
Would you love to have guidance and support to help you reach your goal?
Healthy weight loss and helping you enjoy the process is my speciality.
Find out more about Online Coaching here.