You start out on fire. You're motivated beyond limits, you don't even crave junk food and you exercise like a beast. But then you suddenly hit a rough patch and you can't stop thinking about that chocolate cake until you finally give in.
Sadly, most of the people who try to lose weight do not succeed. In fact, some of them gain weight after a failed diet out of frustration.
After 20 weeks of strict diet, I know that sticking to a diet plan can wear on your nerves and your determination. I know it's not always easy or a walk in the park. But I also learned how to keep myself consistent and motivated throughout my journey.
Let me share with you what I've learned to stay on track and let me help you smash your weight loss goals.
It's not a sprint, it's a marathon
Tell yourself that every day. Trying to sprint through a marathon will set you up for failure and it's not healthy at all. You need to get into the right mindset to maintain healthy weight loss. Slow and steady.
You can't lose something in a few weeks, that took you years to put on. Give your body and your mind the time they need to adapt to the new habits. Aim to lose around 0.5 kg/ 1.1 lbs per week. Don't know how many calories you need to eat to lose weight healthy? We made an calorie calculator for you!
It takes us about 66 days on average to make a new behaviour a habit. Keep going and don't be discouraged when things don't change over night.
Track your weight loss, but not daily
Weigh yourself regularly to measure your success, but once a week is totally fine. By that you're not derailed by daily fluctuations.
Plus, follow some general rules: Weight yourself at the same time of the day - preferably right after you wake up and you went to the toilet, on an empty stomach, just in your undies. Write down your weight somewhere. In that way, you can see how much progress you've made, or if you need to change things a little bit in order to keep losing body fat.
If you don't want to rely on the number on the scale, start taking your measurements. It's a lot more accurate and you will visually see where you lost the most of your body fat. Don't rely on body fat measurements from scales, they are proven to be unreliable and error prone!
Plan your meals
One of the most important things! Plan your meals at least a day ahead in order to stay on track when you get hungry. A lot of people have good intentions when it comes to cooking or buying groceries, but when the hunger strikes they're not prepared and it's a lot easier to grab some fast food. Planning when, how much and what to eat will keep you on track with your diet plan.
Additionally, keep freshly cut fruits or veggies in your fridge or with you, along with some delicious nut butter (but keep in mind, that nut butters have a lot of calories, don't use too much).
I honesty never thought I'd say that, but support is so important. There will be days when you just want to quit. And that's when you need people who believe in you and who push you through those downs. You can't always do everything by yourself.
Plus, if you surround yourself with like-minded people, which are on the same journey as you are, you are less likely to make poor eating choices or even think about quitting. It doesn't have to be a support group. A friend, family or people from your gym is all that it takes. Or just the public! Post your plans on Instagram, Youtube or Facebook and keep those people in mind, when you need somebody to hold you accountable.
Believe me, it's really encouraging to know that there are people who want see you succeed!
You know yourself the best. If you know you can't resist that chocolate bar, work it into your meal plan. It's much better than restricting yourself, losing control and start binge eating.
If you know you could have what you're craving for, you will more likely stay on track.
Furthermore, classifying certain foods as "off limits" won't help anyone. Forbidden food is only more attractive to you. As history shows ;)
Don't buy "problem foods"
If you have constant cravings for sweets, fried or processed food and find yourself saying, "I'll just have one little bite from time to time", but always eating the whole damn thing, stop buying it! It's that simple.
You're creating a comfort zone for your self sabotage. Just stop, okay. You will feel much better, not having this stuff in your home. If it's in the cupboard, it will be eaten.
"X" off the days
This is one personal tip that helped me and our clients a lot. Visually seeing the days you stayed strong. Doing this feeds the part of the brain that wants to accomplish things, which will keep your motivation high and reminds you day after day of the lifestyle you want to live.
Search online for a free annual calendar or simply take the one above, print it, pin it on your fridge and 'x' off each day you sticked to your diet.
Stop that "black & white" thinking
Nowadays you read it nearly everywhere: those "all or nothing" approaches to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
You can have some unhealthy snacks at a party and - believe me - your diet isn't ruined! We're all humans, we're not perfect. Of course, you can have a cheeseburger too every once in a while (moderation and balance is the key!).
Instead of thinking of the day as ruined when consuming "forbidden food", try to put the past behind you and keep going. Get your head back in the game. Learn for the next time or learn to enjoy your treats mindfully. That's much better than knocking yourself down and start binging, because of your frustration.
A few off-plan treats really make the difference in the long run, as long as you know how to balance them right.
What works best for you
This is something very close to my heart: Everybody is different!
The meal plan I created for myself doesn't work for you, and the same goes for my workout routine. You need your own individual meal plan.
There is no perfect way of dieting that works for everyone! That's why it's so bad if coaches and nutritionists suggest the same diet to all their clients. Nature doesn't work like that.
You have to find a way of eating and exercising that you'll enjoy, find sustainable and can stick to. Otherwise it won't work.
The best diet shouldn't be a diet, it should be a better lifestyle with healthier habits which you can adopt step by step.
But not with food!
Reached your weight loss or exercise goal for this month? Then it's time to celebrate!
Rewarding yourself for your achievement can encourage you to more success. Buy yourself the new album of your favourite band, go to the cinema for a movie, buy that lovely dress you wanted for a while now.
Just don't reward yourself with a deep dish pizza und ice cream. It defeats the purpose.
Getting some fresh air will not only boost your mood, but will also distract you from eating. Sometimes the only thing you can think about is when you can finally eat your next meal. Trust me, I know.
Physical activity is the solution. While weightlifting is the best solution for a strong, healthy and lean body, adding more simple, low impact activity like walking throughout the day will increase energy expenditure as well. Without putting stress on your central nervous system like running would.
Always keep the ending in mind. What do I mean by "ending"? See, that's the point. There is no ending. Weight loss is not about losing your excess body fat and than go back to your old behaviour. It's primarily about changing your lifestyle to become healthier and then lose weight.
Most people can't keep their weight off after they fought so hard to lose it, because they embarked into a highly restrictive diet plan just to reach that goal weight, and then stop when they reached it. Those diets are not sustainable and often times not healthy.
But remember, only 10% of your weight loss journey comes from activity. The rest is the right nutrition!
The biggest challenge in staying consistent is that life happens. There can always happen something that will distract you from working out or eating healthy. For that reason, it's so important to focus on forming new healthier habits instead of quick fixes and unrealistic diets.
Consistency makes all the difference between results and regret.
What motivates you to stick to your diet? Let me know in the comment section below.