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A Weight Loss Journey

Are you on the road to starting a weight loss journey? If so, you may be feeling overwhelmed or nervous. You may be wondering if it’s really possible for you.

Certainly, weight loss is a big undertaking. It requires planning, commitment, determination, persistence, and undoubtedly, many ups and downs. The good news is that starting a weight loss journey is 100% doable, even for a complete beginner!

This guide will walk you through how to start a weight loss journey as a newbie, and stick with it for the long haul!

Get Into the Right Mindset

When it comes to weight loss, many people automatically think of diet and exercise as the key drivers of success. While these two factors play an important role in your weight loss journey, there is a missing ingredient that may be even more important: your mindset.

Research shows that self-efficacy plays a massive role in your ability to successfully lose weight. In other words, the more you believe in yourself and your ability to stick to your weight loss plan, the more kilos you’re likely to drop.

Let’s discuss a couple of ways to build your self-efficacy surrounding weight loss.

Determine Your Why

To get into the right mindset and believe in your weight loss journey, you’re going to have to dig a bit deeper than the generic “I want to lose weight” resolution. Sure, wanting to lose weight is a noble goal. However, attaching a deeper meaning to your weight loss journey will help put your mind in the right perspective.

Examples of meaningful reasons to lose weight include:

  • To gain more energy and mental clarity
  • To set a good example for your children
  • To be around longer
  • To feel confident in your own skin
  • To reverse or manage diabetes

Whatever your reasons, making weight loss purposeful will help you develop determination and confidence in yourself to achieve your goals.

Be Prepared to Make Mistakes

The number one setback for beginners on their weight loss journey is having an “all-or-nothing” mindset. Developing self-efficacy does not mean you believe you will be perfect. Not at all! In fact, self-efficacy means believing you can achieve your goals in spite of inevitable failures.

If you don’t make room for mistakes, you’re already setting yourself up for failure. There will be times you eat something your not “supposed to,” skip your workout, or maybe even fall off track for days at a time. Accepting this ahead of time and believing you can bounce back will set you up for long-term weight loss success.

Figure Out What Motivates You

Let’s not sugarcoat it, weight loss is not an easy journey to travel. There will be days, probably many, when you just don’t feel like getting in your workout or prepping your healthy food. Thus, you need to figure out what helps you push through on those days.

For you, motivation might mean remembering all of your “whys” of weight loss. Or, your motivation may be in the form of an inspirational lecture, an old pair of jeans you’d love to fit in again, or your favorite fitness quote. Whatever your motivation is, take advantage of it on the days you’re just not feeling it.

Develop a Plan

Failing to plan is planning to fail. – Alan Lakein

This quote rings profoundly true. It’s extremely easy to cook up excuses as to why you “just can’t” today. There’s no healthy food in the house, there’s no time to cook, you’re too busy to fit in a workout. Of course, there are times when life truly does get in the way, and that’s OK. But most of the time, excuses abound because of a failure to have a plan in place.

Meal Plan

Nutrition is crucial to your weight loss regimen. You need to be fuelling your body with proper nutrients to burn fat, build muscle, and maintain energy levels. Without a plan, you’re more likely to fall off track with your eating habits.

You don’t have to spend hours meal planning every week. Here are a few tips for simple, quick meal planning:

  • Find a space to store recipes, so you have easy access to them (my choice of storage is Pinterest boards, but binders or apps work as well)
  • Cook weekly meals that have many or some of the same ingredients to save yourself time and money
  • Make large dishes to have leftovers
  • Jot down some meals you want to make for the upcoming week
  • Always keep a well-stocked kitchen full of healthy options

Exercise Plan

Exercise is a crucial part of your weight loss journey. Physical activity helps to burn fat, maintain muscle mass, and boost your body’s calorie-burning power. However, without a plan, exercise can be easily left out of your routine. Treat your workouts like appointments. Schedule them into your daily routine, so you’re sure to set aside the time.

Self-Care Plan

Yes, you read that right! Self-care is just as vital, maybe even more so than diet and exercise. Avoid burnout by scheduling in some YOU time. Whether that be reading your favourite book, taking a hot bath, or relaxing with a hot cup of tea (and maybe a little sweet treat on the side), be sure to take the edge off at least once a week.

Jot Down Your Starting Points

Tracking your progress throughout your weight loss journey is going to be your best source of motivation. Once you see and feel your changes, you’re going to want to keep going.

However, to track your progress, you’ll need to know your starting point. Jot down your beginning measurements, that way you can see later how much you’ve changed.

Here are some important things to jot down:

  • Your weight
  • Your measurements (usually chest, waist, and hips will suffice)
  • A list of how you feel (include things like energy levels; hunger & cravings; mood)
  • I also recommend taking “before pictures” as pictures often represent change better than the scale

Make It Enjoyable

My number one piece of advice for weight loss rookies is to enjoy the ride. Don’t stress over every single calorie, don’t beat yourself up when you eat a bar of chocolate and don’t think the world has ended if you skipped a workout. Being too rigid is a sure way to burn out and lose your spark. In fact, studies suggest that the majority of people who lose weight, gain all or more of it back. The most prominent reason for weight regain is extreme dieting and exercising.

So, take it easy and simply enjoy the ride. Accept and learn from your mistakes. Be gentle with yourself when things don’t go right. Reward yourself when you’ve accomplished small goals. Eat foods you love and engage in exercise that you find enjoyable. This way, your weight loss journey becomes a lifestyle that you will learn to love.

Your Weight Loss Journey: In Conclusion

Beginning a weight loss journey may seem intimidating, but in truth, it’s simple. If you prepare ahead of time by getting into the right mindset, planning meals and workouts ahead of time, and setting aside some you time, you’re on the right track to lasting health and weight loss.

Credit to: Chelsea Panzrella

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Get Fit At Home

Fit-in blog

Don’t let the absence of an active gym membership prevent you from getting fitter

NICK HARRIS-FRY 18 JAN 2021

No-one needs a gym to get in great shape, which is handy considering how often access to gyms has been restricted over the past year. While we’re big fans of a dedicated space that has all the latest fitness gear and experts on hand, with the right approach you can achieve just as much at home.

There’s also a myriad of ways to get fit at home. You can invest in free weights or cardio machines like treadmills or exercises bikes and replicate your gym workouts, but you can also keep yourself in trim using nothing but bodyweight exercises.

If you’re someone who prefers to take classes at the gym or a studio, you’re also better served than ever before by the array of home fitness apps that offer both on-demand and live video workouts. In fact, it’s partly because of the pandemic that there are more of these apps – and more of them are offering free trials too, so you can flit between them without spending a penny until you find one you like.

We’ve got all the advice you need to help you nail your at-home training whatever your favoured approach is, so let’s get to it, starting with a simple home workout format to try.

Home Workout Ideas

A fitness routine doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, keeping it simple makes doing it consistently much easier – and that consistency is what will make a difference to your fitness. Take this straightforward session from PT Adam Jones. “A favourite of mine is to work in a 30:30 format,” says Jones, “which means 30 seconds of work with 30 seconds of rest on each exercise for a set amount of rounds.

“A good circuit would be bodyweight squats, reverse lunges, press-ups, burpees and mountain climbers. Perform the squats for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, then move on to the lunges and continue like that. When you’ve done that for all five exercises, rest for one to two minutes, then go again. Complete the circuit four to six times in total.”

Don’t be deterred if at first you find some of the exercises too difficult to do for the full 30 seconds. “If you find press-ups difficult, you can place your hands on a chair,” says Jones. “If you struggle with a normal unweighted squat, you can try squatting onto a chair – it shortens the range of motion, which helps you maintain correct technique throughout.”

If you want to up the challenge when doing press-ups, “try placing your feet on a chair,” says Jones. “With the incline you’ll target different areas and place more emphasis on your upper chest and shoulders.” And there are plenty of ways to make squats more challenging, including jump squats or single-leg squats.

And there’s another way to make almost any exercise fiendishly difficult. “Tempo – the speed at which you perform a move – is probably one of the most overlooked elements of training,” says Jones. “Focusing on it can ramp up your results massively. Taking longer to perform a move increases tension in the muscle, forcing it to work harder, which in turn will increase stress and lead to muscle gain. When performing press-ups, try taking four seconds in the lowering phase, and add a slight pause at the bottom of the move.”

Home Workout Plans

Whether you work out at the gym or at home, having a plan to follow can make all the difference, in most part because it takes a lot of the decision-making – and therefore opportunities to procrastinate – out of your hands. Here are three options to get you started.

Goal: Lose weight The inimitable Joe Wicks shared this plan, which is four sessions a week for four weeks. You don’t need any equipment to do these 20-minute high-intensity circuits, although give yourself at least five minutes either side to warm up and down and catch your breath. 

Goal: Get strong If you have (or don’t mind investing in) a set of dumbbells, use this four-week plan to build strength and power throughout your entire body. The three workouts are intended to be done on Monday, Wednesday and Friday so you have the weekend free to recover. 

Goal: Build muscle This is a muscle-building workout plan with a difference – it uses just your bodyweight to stimulate muscle growth. That means there are some tricky moves in here so beginners should start elsewhere or substitute in easier variations. You’ll need to set aside three one-hour slots a week and find yourself a pull-up bar and a bench (or any sturdy platform). 

Home Gym Equipment

If you like to work out with weights or use your gym’s cardio machines, but are tired of travelling to and from the gym every time you want a workout or having to wait your turn when you’re there, investing in some equipment of your own can solve both problems in one fell swoop.

Free weights are a great place to start, because you can get a set of dumbbells or a kettlebell pretty cheaply and they won’t take up much space at home when not in use.

A pull-up bar is another useful bit of home equipment, and it can be used for more than just pull-ups. Resistance bands are also a very cheap and versatile bit of kit that allow you to train anywhere, while a suspension trainer can really take your home strength sessions to the next level.

Finally, those who are ready to throw a little more cash at their home workouts might want to consider picking up a multi-gym, though you will need a fair chunk of free space for it.

If cardio is more your bag then you are spoilt for choice when it comes to home machines. Treadmills are usually the first thing that spring to mind, but they take up a lot of space and tend to be pricier than other cardio machines. Exercises bikes have the smallest footprint and are the cheapest pick, while cross-trainers and rowing machines have the advantage of working both your upper and lower body in addition to raising your heart rate.