How to Take the First Steps to Crushing Your Weight Loss Goals

The most comprehensive beginner guide!

Step 5: Pay attention to what you eat.

No matter how much you work out, you can easily undo all your effort if you’re careless in the kitchen. If your main goal is weight loss, you’re going to want to pay special attention to your diet.

Below, we’ll go into more detail about what makes a good sustainable weight loss diet. But first, some tips for the most important change: being mindful.

Mindless eating is often the cause for weight gain. We eat out of boredom, as a socialization tool, or because we’re stressed. If your body doesn’t need any more calories, but you eat them anyway, your body will store them as fat for later use.

Dessert (after you’re already full) might not look like much, but for your body it can be thousands of unnecessary calories. A bag of chips when you need a break from work seems like no big deal, but a 300-calorie bag every work day is around 6,500 extra calories a month, or roughly 2 pounds of bodyweight.

One simple way to practice mindful eating is to track your diet. You can use a journal or an app. Check out this post on 7 Health Apps to Help You Stay on Track for some options.

Step 6: Eat more protein and fewer carbs.

Low-carb diets are all the rage now. It might have started with moves like the Atkins diet, but now the Keto, Paleo, and Whole30 diets have taken it to new standards.

For many of us extremely low-carb diets are hard to maintain long-term. We deprive ourselves of our favorite foods and end up with terrible cravings instead. Forget about completely cutting out carbs. Instead, practice moderation, and save your calories for treats you truly enjoy.

Take a few minutes in the mornings to make an egg breakfast instead of resorting to convenient cereal. If your routine doesn’t allow for much cooking in the morning, prepare a quiche dish (such as this Crustless Quiche) and microwave a slice in the morning. It’s just as easy as cereal, but twice as healthy.

Don’t fill up on bread when eating out, and offer to share an order of fries instead of having one for yourself. Another easy way to cut out carbs is reducing or eliminating sugary drinks. This includes sodas, sweetened teas, and fruit juices. Yes, even all natural fruit juices fill in your waist line. (More on fruits in a little bit.)

Stick to regular water whenever possible, or give these flavored water a try with these fun 7 Ways to Make your Water Taste A Whole Lot Better!

Step 7: Focus on what you can add rather than what you can’t.

Weight loss is going to seem like a drag in no time if you only think of the things you can’t have. No cake, no fries, no ice cream, no cookies, no lazying around on a Sunday. It’s depressing just thinking about it.

If you approach weight loss thinking of can’t, you’ll never want to stick to the plan. Instead, don’t deprive yourself of your favorites. Add things to your life.

For example, if you add a healthy salad and some low-calorie veggie side dishes to your dinner table, you’ll find yourself naturally eating less pasta. Research some interesting veggie dishes you can try, and you might even get excited about the change.

Try new concepts such as this Cauliflower Fried Rice or these Oven Baked Zucchini Chips.

Step 8: Replace fruit products with whole fruit.

One of the most popular (and perhaps least ethical) ways to market snacks and drinks is labeling them as being made with real fruit. Companies don’t have to do much to be able to put this claim on the label. For example, they can extract just the fructose from the fruit, mix it with corn syrup, gum, and artificial coloring and use it to make gummy snacks.

The product is marketed as healthy, but in reality it’s just candy, with all the ingredients of regular candy.

Similarly, fruit juice is mostly sugar. When you drink juice, you’re consuming all the sugar in the fruit, with none of the fiber. Fiber is what helps you feel full, and it can slow down your metabolism, helping stabilize your blood sugar.

Whenever possible opt for real fruit. Don’t be fooled by clever marketing campaigns. Instead, try recipes like this Quinoa Fruit Salad or this Pineapple and Peach Salsa.

Step 9: Have fun with it!

The worst mistake we can make when it comes to weight loss is forgetting that exercise can be fun and healthy food can be delicious! You can embark on a weight loss journey and enjoy every step of the process.

It can take a little try-and-fail, but you’ll eventually find an approach that works for you. There’s no one approach that works for everyone. When it comes to exercise, some people like the soothing vibes of yoga, while others prefer high-strung pump-up sports like kickboxing.

Try everything! You might fall in love with spinning, running, or weight lifting.

The same applies to healthy food. We’ve got an arsenal of recipes made with whole ingredients, from indulgent desserts to easy low-calorie dinners. Find recipes you’re excited to make and eat.

Overall, what matters is that you have fun with it. Make changes that you can stick to long-term. Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite foods, but fit in healthy, nutritious ingredients whenever possible. Try to move more, and remember that while it’s sometimes hard to get off the couch, the changes in your health are worth it.

The hardest part is getting started. But we hope this guide helps you figure out how to take the first steps to crushing your weight loss goals!

 

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Sofia Lopez

Sofia received her BA from Cornell University and her MFA from San Francisco State University. She creates workouts and fitness challenges. Her hobbies include running, hiking, and listening to audiobooks from the exercise bike.

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