How many people in your life are currently trying to lose weight? How many times in your life have you personally tried to lose weight? Millions of people attempt to lose weight every year, contributing to a $20 billion weight loss industry, but many of them end up unhappy by the end of their attempt. Because they don’t know what they’re doing, or because they’re doing it for the wrong reasons, they end up failing to lose weight and feeling worse about themselves than ever before.
If you want to lose weight, you need to begin your efforts with the right mentality.
Rules for Weight Loss
Follow these rules if you want to lose weight – and feel good about doing it:
- Do it for yourself. If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight can reduce your susceptibility to heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes (as well as many other related conditions). If you’re struggling to fit into your favorite pair of jeans, losing a few pounds can make you feel more like “you.” These are acceptable motivations; as long as you’re losing weight for yourself, and not for someone else, you’ll set yourself up for success. If you’re trying to lose weight to fit in or be more attractive, you’re only going to be disappointed.
- Focus on how you feel. Improving your health can feel incredible. Rather than focusing on what clothes you fit into, or how you look in the mirror, try to focus on the subjective, intrinsic changes you notice from day to day. Do you have more energy? Do you feel happier? These changes will motivate you to continue far more than anything else, so don’t ignore them.
- Make lifestyle changes – don’t take shortcuts. Many people trying to lose weight get on “diets,” which by definition are short-term changes to eating habits, in order to lose weight quickly. Unfortunately, most people on “diets” stop when they reach their goals, then go back to their previous eating habits, ultimately regaining any weight they lost in the process. This is because your weight is a result of your long-term habits, and if you want to change that weight permanently or long-term, you’ll need to change those habits for more than just a few weeks.
- Make steady progress over time. You might want to lose weight quickly for a special event, or just to get the effort over with, but it’s better to focus your efforts on steady progress. Losing more than one or two pounds a week can actually be dangerous to your health, and it will leave you more susceptible to regaining weight you’ve lost in the program.
- Don’t let the scale define your worth. It’s tempting to use a scale every day, but using a scale too often can be symptomatic of full-on eating disorders. Your weight fluctuates significantly throughout the day – up to 10 pounds between morning and night due to factors like eating, drinking, water retention, and other bodily functions. If you wake up and weigh yourself to see a high number, it could ruin your confidence – even though you’re doing all the right things and are probably inching toward ideal long-term progress. It’s best to reserve the scale for occasional measurements, and avoid letting it define the value of your efforts.
- Learn more about the weight loss systems you’re using. There are countless weight loss systems and fad diets out there, and not all of them are healthy for you. Before getting involved, you’ll want to do your research and read reviews so you have a better understanding of each system’s foundation and intention. For example, you’ll learn that juice cleanses never really work, and fasting is a good way to malnourish yourself, but some meal plans are actually based on solid fundamentals.
- Diversify your approach. If you want to be successful, it’s best to diversify your options. Try out several different exercise programs. Try many different foods and meal options. Experiment with different weight loss regimens. This is helpful psychologically, because you’ll keep having novel experiences, but it’s also beneficial because you won’t put all your eggs in one basket. Almost all health and fitness plans have advantages and disadvantages, and by pursuing multiple plans, you’ll spread those advantages and disadvantages out.
If you can commit to following these rules throughout the process and you still want to lose those extra pounds, you can commit to getting started. Learn as much as you can about fitness, health, and nutrition, and don’t worry about making huge strides. Even baby steps, taken one at a time, will add up to a healthier, happier you.