As I was about to send a voice note to my paid client starting her weight loss journey today, this blog post topic popped into my head.
I’ve been on day one of my weight loss journey so many times and I know you can relate.
I’ve lost count of so many weekends when I will say Monday is the day my life will change forever.
I’m going to start eating healthy, exercise, drink enough water, make notes in my journal, and do so many other mindful practices.
Usually, I start on Monday but by Thursday I’m off track. By Friday I’m back to my old habits and the little weight I lost in the 3 days I would have gained back come the following Monday.
In retrospect, I’ve been doing things the wrong way. There’s a popular saying that old habits die hard. Therefore it takes more than willpower or motivation to achieve sustainable weight loss.
Here are some tips I’ve gathered over the past five years.
Set realistic weight loss goals
Ideally, you should divide your weight loss goals into two. Weight goals and habit goals.
How many kg/pounds do you want to lose weekly.
Let’s say you want to lose 20 kg. It will be very unrealistic for you to think that you can lose 20 kg in 1 week. Rather you should aim to lose 0.5 to 1kg per week. In your first week, you can lose as high as 5kg depending on your starting weight, level of activity, rate of metabolism, etc if you do a low-carb diet or some sort of juicing.
After week one, your weight loss naturally slows down to roughly 0.5 to 3 kg per week depending on the kind of diet you’re following, your metabolism, and your level of physical activity.
The reason for the massive weight loss in week 1 is because you’re shedding water weight as a result of inflammation and I explained more about it in this post about the Nigerian low carb diet with a sample meal plan.
When you set a realistic goal of 0.5 to 1 kg per week you can lose weight at your own pace without being under unnecessary pressure, starving yourself, or doing too much exercise.
Prioritize habit goals
A lot of people on a weight loss journey do not set habit goals. Habit goals are way more important than weight goals.
Yes, you want to lose 20kg but how do you achieve this?
You can only do so by focusing more on habit goals. If you focus on your habit goals you will surely attain your weight goals.
Important habit goals to set on a weight loss journey includes:
- Drinking 2 -3 liters of water daily
- Taking a three-ingredient smoothie for breakfast five days a week
- Exercising for 30 minutes daily
- New prepping every Saturday
And so on.
Sustainable weight loss is all about routines. When you create routines around these habits, you will be amazed by your success.
The popular saying “failure to plan is planning to fail” applies to weight loss especially your very first day on your weight loss journey.
Take some time to decide on what you’ll be eating on the first day of your weight-loss journey if you want a simple meal plan to follow then click on this post.
The reason why you need to decide on what you will be eating on day one is that you also need to go to the grocery shop to get your ingredients and meal prep.
If you’re going to work you need to factor that into your plan and pack your lunch to work.
Rather than trying to wing it by drastically reducing your food intake or doing a 24-hours fast where you would not eat anything and you probably break the fast before noon, it’s best to have your meals ready for the day.
Clear out junk food from your fridge and pantry
Before you go shopping, clear out all the junk food from your fridge and your pantry.
You can either give the food items away or trash them.
Junk food can be a trigger for a lot of people on a weight loss journey. If you’re one of those people who get triggered by junk food at home then please do not try to rely on willpower. Just trash them or give them away.
There are so many times that I think that I can discipline myself. I tell myself that I will just eat a piece of cookie, a little bit of chocolate, or a slice of bread and I end up eating more than I should almost every time.
If you are like me, you’re better off getting rid of all the unhealthy food in your house before day one of your weight loss journey.
Try a no-spend challenge
A no-spend challenge is a challenge where you decide not to spend any money that is not necessary for a day, a week, or a month.
When people are starting their weight loss journey, I usually recommend a no-spend challenge because then you will not have to spend any money on food.
Once you have your meals ready for the day, there’s no need to spend money on food during the day.
A no-spend challenge helps you stick to the meals that you have prepared to eat for the day.
So on day one, make sure you do not spend any money on food. If you must buy anything, it should be plain water.
And please if you’ll be at work on day one, don’t follow your friends to the cafeteria.
It’s very easy to firmly believe that you can rely on willpower and you would not buy anything but trust me it doesn’t always work that way. Don’t put yourself under pressure.
Plan for free foods
Free foods are foods that contain between 25 to 60 calories.
The first day of your weight loss journey can be brutal. You can have cravings, low energy, headache, weakness, and some other symptoms that may make you want to ditch the whole weight loss or diet issue.
You don’t have to.
All you need to do is make sure that you have the free foods that you can munch on close by.
They include half a cucumber, two cups of shredded lettuce, one carrot, two celery stalk, one cup diced watermelon, one cup of diced papaya, one cup of strawberries, or blueberries, one orange, and a quarter cup of yogurt.
These free foods can also serve as late-night snacks when you have hunger pangs after dinner.
There’s absolutely no reason to starve yourself on a weight loss journey. You just need to be smart with your options.
Stay hydrated throughout the day
Aim to drink 2-3 liters of water on day one of your weight loss journey.
Aside from helping you stay hydrated, water helps you keep cravings and hunger pangs at bay.
Start your day with a cup of water.
Drink 2 cups of water before each meal. This will help you cope with the small portion of food you’re supposed to eat to lose weight.
Research has also shown that drinking 2 cups(500mls) of water before each of the three main meals may increase weight loss.
Drink water in between meals to feel full for longer. Additionally, it will help you avoid snacking mindlessly.
If you feel thirsty, drink water.
When hunger strikes, drink water first. Sometimes, we are actually dehydrated when we think we are hungry. Drink water, wait for 20 minutes, then if you’re still hungry, you can eat a portion of free food.
Motivate yourself with positive affirmations throughout the day.
Affirmations are powerful reinforcement tools that can help you get past day one of your weight loss journey.
Even if you don’t believe in affirmations, think about why you’re trying to lose weight and let that be your anchor throughout the day.
Be bold in your assertions that weight loss is easy for you to achieve.
I’m currently trying to lose my pregnancy weight (I’m 1.5kg away from my pre-pregnancy weight. Yayyyyy me!).
I start my day with a glass of water and while drinking the water, I mutter affirmations about my weight loss journey.
- All is well with me and my family.
- My body is strong and capable of losing weight.
- I am mindful of my food choices today.
- I release all forms of stress that can hinder my weight loss success.
- My efforts will be rewarded with a banging and healthy body.
I say the first affirmation every day because you will have to drop everything you’re doing when your family needs you. You forget that you’re on a weight loss journey and oftentimes the added stress makes you gain weight.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Weight loss is the result of a change in lifestyle.
If you’re too hard on yourself, you’re very likely to give up after some time.
Change your mindset from doing a quick diet to get results to a lifestyle change.
The success of great men and women is in their routines. Fit people remain fit by prioritizing healthy eating and exercise throughout the year.
It’s important that you do not put an end date on your weight loss journey because sustainable weight loss is a lifelong journey.
End day one on a good note and repeat the process the following day.
Don’t be discouraged if day one of your weight loss journey does not go as planned. Just start over the following day.
What other tips do you have for a successful first day?