Whether you are trying to lose weight or just need some motivation around your general health and wellness – the following 5 tips are designed to support you in your journey. Especially during these heavy times of navigating a pandemic along with an uprising, we need to ensure that we are doing everything in our power to build the best version of ourselves to bring about the evolution of our world.
I also must recognize that my ability to focus on this post in the midst of protests, riots and pandemics is part of my white privilege which I am working not only to recognize but to dismantle. In the midst of doing all of this, this is my way of sharing some love and light into the world – and helping others who are on the same journey of self love and evolution – from the inside out. So here we go…
1. Slow and Steady Wins the Race.
My almost 5-year-old daughter loves reading. One of her many favorites right now is Aesop’s Fables and the story of the tortoise and the hare. There are many ways to state the moral of the story- my favorite, ‘slow and steady wins the race.’
This moral doesn’t just ring true when working towards the goal of winning a race – it rings true when working towards any goal, especially weight loss.
A healthy and sustainable weight loss is an average of 1-2 pounds per week. At that rate, your body adjusts to the changes and accepts your weight loss as your new normal. If you lose weight too quickly, your body thinks that it is in crisis (like a famine) and works against you to gain the weight back as soon as it is able.
So even though most of us who are on a weight loss journey would like the weight to come off quickly and well, yesterday… slow and steady will give us healthy and lasting change.
2. Be SMART.
When I was working in public schools, we would create SMART goals to focus on the achievement of our students and when I was a Weight Watchers leader, I found the SMART goal formula beautifully transferred into health and wellness.
SMART is an acronym representing the following:
S – Specific. Your goal needs to be specific. For example, instead of “I want to lose weight,” get specific and say “I want lose 15 pounds.”
M – Measurable. As in the example above, you want to have a defined amount so you can measure progress.
A – Attainable. Making your goal attainable makes it possible. This means keeping in mind your body structure, the optimal weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week, and your lifestyle so you can honestly and realistically achieve your goal.
R – Realistic. Attainable is personalized for you, while realistic gives you the check of ensuring it can really happen. For example, saying you will lose 5 pounds in a week is not realistic while a goal of losing 5 pounds in a month is realistic.
T – Timely. Define your goal with a timeline. So instead of “I want to lose 15 pounds,” stating “I want to lose 15 pounds in 15 weeks.”
Another note about SMART goals – make them even smarter (see what I’m doing there) by setting goals around actions in order to bring about the right results. When you are focused on losing weight, setting goals around your eating – like tracking your food 5 out of 7 days a week, or your movement – like going for a 20 minute walk every day – are goals focused on the actions that will lead to the result of weight loss.
I recommend creating a SMART goal for your weight loss, with action goals to support achieving your primary goal. Also remember that weight is only one data point for measuring health and wellness – pants size, endurance level, blood pressure are all excellent measures of healthy living as well.
3. Use Affirmations.
Affirmations are slogans or statements that confirm something to be true. I first learned about affirmations from the healer and author, Louise Hay. Her website contains hundreds of affirmations for you to select from to begin saying to yourself today.
By stating an affirmation, you are confirming something about yourself to be true (even if it isn’t true YET). You are changing the programming in your mind to believe something about yourself. And I love saying to my students and my own spawn – you have to believe to achieve.
An excellent place to start is with the affirmation, “I am grateful for my healthy body. I love life.” – Louise Hay.
In my Weight Watchers meeting a few years ago a member started saying to herself “Good morning beautiful,” in the mirror every morning. Within six months she was literally glowing from the inside out because she truly felt and was beautiful. (She also saw improved weight loss because of the momentum of her mindset).
There is real power behind using an affirmation while looking at yourself in the mirror. Lousie Hay called this ‘mirror work’ and found it to be the most powerful tool in her self healing and working with clients.
4. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate.
Water makes up about 60% of our bodies. Water helps everything function – from our liver to our brains. It also helps flush out toxins from our body – especially when we are focused on improving our health and losing weight.
It is important to have water – pure water – to optimize your levels of hydration. The additives and caffeine in other beverages can actually have an adverse effect on your hydration.
Know that water itself does not make you lose weight. But mistaking thirst for hunger can cause you to consume excess calories, so staying hydrated may contribute to you eating less than you were before maintaining hydration.
One fantastic tip is to develop the habit of beginning each day with a glass of water (especially fresh squeezed lemon water). Then from there, always make sure that you have a glass of water before consuming any other type of beverage or meal.
5. The 80/20 Rule.
This rule is twofold.
First, in order to lose or maintain weight, 80% of it comes from the food you eat while 20% comes from the movement you take. You could exercise excessively forever and never lose weight if you continue to fuel your body with an overabundance of calories.
The simplified formula is that it takes is 3500 calories to create or lose a pound. It is much easier to consume 3500 calories than it is to burn 3500 calories.
Second, if you follow your health and wellness plan 80% of the time, you will have success.
In fact, I recommend planning special meals and events weekly to ‘cheat’. Allowing yourself a ‘cheat’ means that you will not feel deprived as well as you will be able to maintain the momentum of sticking to your goals the other ‘80%’ of the time.
This also gives your body a slight ‘shock’ to keep your metabolism working and your body guessing. The important thing with this strategy is that you are very conscious and do not allow your ‘cheat’ to be a slip that turns into a slide…
These 5 tips are designed to shift you into a mindset that will enable your success. I have seen great results in both myself and others when focused on these strategies. These are just one starting point – wherever you start from, know that you do not need to do it alone. Working on your goals with a group or a team not only holds you accountable, but holds you up when you are down. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get connected with my free accountability group or personalized coaching programs.