Weight Loss: 17 Starting Strategies

ListTo Do List

Seventeen tips to help start your weight loss right.

Whenever you strive to change, making the decision is the first step.  Pat yourself on the back for making that decision.  You have already accomplished the first hurdle.  You now need to be confident in your decision and have a positive attitude.  As your blood sugar drops and you become hungry, you are going to need positive thoughts and self-confidence to raise your energy.  Motivation and believing in yourself will get you through to the finish line.  So you may ask, what are the steps to successful weight loss?

Fat Pants
Fat Pants

Three Key to Success in Weight Loss:

  1. Knowing what you want:  Why are you trying to lose weight?  It is usually not as simple as just to lose weight.  It could be to get into your old pants or dress or for health reasons.
  2. Knowing how to get there: How do I lose weight?  What do I need to do to accomplish this goal?  This is as simple as portion control and exercise.  
  3. Knowing how to motivate yourself to start and keep going as you progress toward the goal.  

Strategies to be successful at weight loss:

  1. Decide to lose weight.   Make a commitment to change permanently.  You can check this off.  You have to make the decision but it has to be a permanent change and not just long enough to get into those old jeans.  
  2. Find your motivation.  Your spouse, doctor, or supervisor can not make you lose weight.  This must come from within you. Become focused on what motivates you to lose weight and that is the light at the end of the tunnel that will keep you marching forward. 
  3. Set a short term goal.  I recommend 5-10 pounds in a respectable period.  I recommend using the S. M. A. R. T. method of goal setting.  It allows you to make realistic goals that are easier to plan for and achieve.  I have written an article on this to help you plan appropriately. 
  4. See the ball.  Envision your plan and future successes.  Try not to focus on the amount of weight and time frame.  Focus on why you want to lose weight and meeting that goal.  
  5. Read the labels.  Always read the label of what you plan to buy before you get to the checkout line.  If it is unhealthy, put it back on the shelf.  Your health and success are more important than a few minutes of fat or sugar high.
    • High Fructose Corn Syrup: That does sound natural. 
    • Sugar: Just say no.  
    • Flour: Avoid bleached, enriched, or refined flour.
    • Trans Fats:  Just say hell no.
    • If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.
  6. Limit alcohol.  Alcohol is calorie-dense and has no nutritional value outside of calories.  Limit alcohol consumption as much as possible.   
  7. Track your success.  Keep a journal so you learn what works so you can keep it going when you meet your goal and maintain the loss when you are done losing.  I recommend that you include a rating of how hungry you are midway between each meal.  This will allow you to better plan future meals and avoid those that left you grazing in the afternoons or mid-mornings.  
  8. Avoid destructive negative thoughts.  Negative thoughts such as regret, guilt, or self-defeatist thoughts will not lead to success.  Focus on success.  If it is not as successful as you would like, focus on improving it.  Failure is never a failure unless you give up.  You will succeed!  
  9. Fill up on Fiber and Hydration.   Fiber and water are your friends.  If you have to cut things to reduce calories, water, and high-fiber foods are not the ones to reduce.  Both will keep you full longer and avoid mid-morning and afternoon snacks.  Also, have 12 ounces of water before each meal and drink water with your meal.  
  10. There is no such thing as perfect.  Avoid being a perfectionist.  If you think you cannot have any slip-ups during your diet and that once tootsie roll is the end of the world.  You need to change now.  Small slip-ups are room for improvement.  They are not failures.  Focus on the future and that slip up is the past.
  11. Positive Thoughts.  Be your own cheerleader and focus on self-confidence.  You can and will complete this diet successfully.  Celebrate your success and do not dwell or obsess on the areas where you are less successful.  Keep a list of your successes to motivate you as your weight loss plateaus.  A plateau is a time to refocus on the goal and look forward.  
  12. Fight hunger.  Do not go into meals starving hungry.  Hunger leads to cravings which lead to overeating and making poor decisions.  It is better to feed your hunger than starve it.  If you find yourself overly hungry at each meal and overeating, plan a fruit snack between those meals.  
  13. Follow through on that swing.  Like in baseball, it is not good enough to believe you can hit the ball, you must also swing through it.  Follow-through is important.  With dieting, you need to focus on changing your lifestyle, eating right, avoiding temptations, fighting depression, and that – Exercise.  
  14. Divide and quarter your plate.  Divide your plate into quarters and fill 1/2 of the plate with non-starchy vegetables. One-quarter of your plate can be meet and the last quarter is for starches.  You can have one serving of fruit for dessert. 
  15. Eat Slowly.  Savor your meal and chew slowly.  People who eat slow eat less.  The time allows the sensor of your belly to feel full before you finish your plate.
  16. Exercise away hunger.  Go for a walk or jog and your hunger will magically go away.  It is amazing how a 10 minutes stroll can decrease your appetite.  Make sure you drink, dehydration can make you feel hungry.  
  17. Eat out and share.  If you eat out, share your plate or take it home in a doggy bag.  You can eat the rest tomorrow.   Don’t fall into the trap of finishing the whole plate.  

The bottom line: This list is a good start to providing you with some strategies to help you be more successful.  There are plenty out there on the net.  

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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