Step by Step Weight Loss Guide
Weight loss doesn’t need to be complicated. It IS tough, it DOES take practice and time to get good at, BUT the things we need to do should be simple. In fact, it HAS to be simple if we are going to be able to keep doing it long term.
Watch these videos, one at a time, and we’ll walk you through how to set up your own weight loss plan. Take your time and really think about each point. You want to be 100% confident that you’ve got a good plan BEFORE you get started – you don’t want to find out 2 months from now that you’ve been making a bunch of mistakes!
Contact our office and make an appointment if you want a professional coach to walk you through any part of this process. This is what we are here for!
Step 1: The Proper Mindset
When we are choosing a weight loss plan, what should we be looking for?
How do we start losing weight immediately and keep losing weight consistently?
- Follow the data and do what is proven to work.
- Don’t experiment and jump around from one plan to another.
- Don’t give up when there’s a challenge. Figure out how to solve it.
How do we plan for the long-term?
- Constantly ask if we are happy. Would we still be happy if we had to do these things for the rest of our lives?
- Don’t ignore concerns. Ask questions and get help.
Step 2: What Works (and What Doesn’t)
Real people have been losing weight and keeping it off for decades. What have they been doing?
Why do we gain weight?
- “Calories” are energy. If we take in too much energy, we store it as fat in case we need it later. If we want to lose weight, we’ve got to eat fewer calories, or move more.
What doesn’t work?
- Things that don’t address calories (i.e. vitamins, clothes, gadgets, essential oils, diets based on timing)
- Things that only address calories short term (cleanses, detoxes, spa treatments, enemas, crash diets)
- Things that do address calories, but aren’t sustainable (counting calories/carbs/points, complicated prepping, sacrificing, hunger, intense physical activity routines, things that cost money)
What does work?
Virtually ALL individuals who have lost weight AND kept it off long term have done some version of these 6 things:
- Making better food choices (especially fruits and vegetables)
- Physically moving more for fun and in our everyday routines
- Weighing in on a weekly basis
- Keeping records of what we’re doing
- Making adjustments when things aren’t working (or we aren’t happy)
- Getting advice from other people on how to do these 5 things
Step 3: The Big Picture
Let’s make it simple. How should we be thinking about food?
Some foods make it SUPER easy to gain weight.
- If we just smell pizza we gain 10 pounds.
Some foods make it SUPER easy to lose weight.
- No matter how much broccoli we eat, it’s impossible to gain weight (as long as there’s no cheese, bacon, ranch dressing, etc).
The rest fall in between.
- We can eat pasta every day, but we may have to be careful about how much we eat at once (portion size), or how often we eat it.
We want to be lazy. We don’t want to do any more work than we need to. We don’t want to worry about portion control, or having to do extra exercise to “balance things out”. Therefore, the best approach long-term is to eat as many of the easy weight-loss foods as possible, and to try to find replacements for the things that require work.
Sometimes, we can replace something completely.
- We’ll eat a baked potato instead of rice.
Sometimes, we can replace a part of the recipe.
- We’ll make chicken salad with fat free ranch dressing instead of mayo.
Sometimes, we can replace a part of the portion.
- Instead of 8 oz of chicken, we’ll have 4 oz of chicken and 4 oz of shrimp or crab meat.
In every case, though, we are never looking to eat LESS food. We are only looking to eat BETTER food.
Here are some fundamental resources to review as we go forward.
Here are 2 resources to help you figure out how to identify foods.
Bonus Video: Should I Use Meal Replacements?
We will always need convenient options: foods that are easy to cook and don’t take much time. Fast food, frozen meals, vending machines, and convenience stores will always be there to offer unhealthy options. We shouldn’t feel guilty for looking for healthier versions.
Here is a resource to help identify Meal Replacements that are most likely to be helpful.
Step 4: Your Custom Plan
How do we put together our very own weight loss plan?
What are the things that we can put in place EVERY day? If the world turns upside down, and we feel we’ve fallen totally off track, what is the bare minimum that we can keep in place to make sure we keep moving forward?
What are our goals, and how will we keep track of our progress?
Where will we keep records of what we’re eating and what we’re doing for physical activity? How much detail will we include?
What can we promise to do EVERYDAY in order to keep active and moving?
What healthy food choices can we promise to include in our diets EVERYDAY?
- Prepared meals
Where do we look for support each week? How will we stay accountable, where will we ask questions, and who will give us free ideas and recipes?
- Personalized Support
- Group Conversation
What other rules should we hold for ourselves?
What will an example day look like?
Step 4 Part 2: Sample Plans
Here are some reference materials from the videos above.
Here are the outlines we make in this video.
Here is a resource to help you record your own plan.
Here is an example of a plan from one of our clients.
Step 5: Problem Solving
What do we do when the plan isn’t working?
First, define what isn’t working.
Are we not following the plan?
- Find a way to make it easier to follow the plan.
- Find a way to make it harder to not follow the plan.
- Change the plan. NEVER keep a plan on paper that we are not following. Either figure out a way to start following the plan, or make a better plan.
Are we not losing weight?
- Increase physical activity.
- Increase the number of easy weight loss foods IN THE PLAN.
- These foods should be replacing higher calorie foods.
- Make sure we are doing these things in a HAPPY way.
Are we bored or unhappy with the plan in some other way?
- Experiment with a different way of approaching that aspect of the plan.
The number one necessity of ANYONE trying to manage their weight is VARIETY, even for those of us who think we are “boring” or “plain”. At different points, we will all need different recipes and strategies to adapt to different situations. There are 5 main ways that we recommend our clients experiment when things get tough:
- Variety: Do something new. (New recipes, new kinds of activity)
- Higher Numbers: Do things more. (Eat more vegetables, walk more, put more details in our records)
- Volume: Do things that give more value (“more bang for the buck”). (Eat lower calorie foods that give more food to eat (2 cups of broccoli instead of 1 cup of pasta), do activities that are higher intensity (10 minutes of jogging vs. 10 minutes of walking))
- Timing: Do things at different times throughout the day. (Eat a snack 30 minutes before dinner to see if it effects our portion control, do our activity first thing in the morning to get it out of the way, or last thing in the evening to help us sleep better)
- Environmental Control: Change your surroundings to make it easier to make the right choices. (Don’t keep cookies in the house if that creates extra temptation, put on music when we do activity if it makes it more fun, write a plan before going to a restaurant to avoid getting tricked by appetizers or desserts)
Remember to keep good records and measure progress on a regular basis. If we make a change, we need to see if it has a positive effect, or if it is somehow making things worse!
Step 5 Part 2: Sample Plan Problem Solving
Here is a resource which gives some more options for adjusting and experimenting.
All of this requires practice and experimentation. GET HELP when things aren’t working or questions arise. Don’t put yourself in a position where you are struggling, making mistakes, or losing progress. A 30 minute meeting with a coach, or a once weekly group conversation could save you 3 months worth of weight-loss.