Sound familiar? This is generally the drastic technique most of us result to when trying to reach our fitness goals. Yet, this masochistic method of trying to lose weight is actually not that effective and in all honesty, just pure torture…
After dropping from a size 12 to a size 6 in just 1 year, I can confidently say that this was due to an action plan I created of just 5 SIMPLE STEPS. Not too bad right? In 5 steps you can achieve weight loss, confidence and the figure you’ve always desired with very little pain involved. Are you ready? Let’s get to it!
1. FIND YOUR MOTIVE
FIND YOUR MOTIVE. Repeat after me. FIND. YOUR. MOTIVE. This alone for me is the most important step.
Find that reason that you wake up in the morning to eat clean and workout. That reason that will spur you on no matter what ups and downs happen in your life and your weight loss journey. This motive could literally be anything! Wanting to match the ideals of your workplace crush who only likes girls who can fit into a size 6, getting back at a cheating ex who left you for the thinner woman, trying to get in shape solely for your health’s sake or even trying to meet your teenage fantasies of being cat women or even the world’s next K-pop idol. Who knows? Who am I to judge? Be imaginative! As long as this motive is effective and gets you excited to work towards your goals, that’s all that matters.
Next. Display that motive. Write it down on a large piece of paper and stick on some inspiring images. Pin it up somewhere you will see it everyday like on your fridge, on the wall your bed faces or even as your desktop wallpaper. Imagine how you’ll feel when you reach your desired weight and fit into your desired clothes. Feel that happiness, confidence and inner sense of pride and achievement you will feel when you reach your goal.
2. Portion sizes. Beware…
Watch those portion sizes. No matter how much you workout, if your stomach feels 100% full (a bloated feeling) rather than 70–80% full (a calmly satisfied feeling), then all that exercise is going to waste.
I didn’t realise how important this step was until I went to stay with my aunt one summer (a very slim aunt) who ate the smallest portions from the smallest plates. To be honest, I was quite taken aback at first when I was told that what I had assumed was my starter was my main meal. For the first few days, I felt hungry. Very hungry. I thought I would starve to death. I could have asked for more, but I didn’t want to face that dreaded Oliver Twist moment of being verbally murdered for wanting more food. But then, after a week, my body naturally started to adapt to eating my aunt’s shrunken portion sizes from her tiny blue plates (blue plates have also been scientifically proven to reduce appetite) and I found that if I ate more than this, I felt physically sick. I must admit that I did suffer INITIALLY, but after that, I felt much better than I did when I would overkill my stomach with love and delicious goodness.
In just that summer alone, I lost 9 pounds. I did barely any physical activity except for doing housework here and there. My weight loss that summer was solely due to reducing my portion sizes. Just remember, don’t overeat but DON’T STARVE.
3. Exercise with EXCITEMENT
Don’t just exercise. Exercise with excitement! Think about it. If you hate your workout sessions, you’ll always dread having to do them, then you’ll make silly excuses to avoid doing them, then you’ll simply just stop doing them. Notice the chain of events? Now let’s switch things up.
If you LOVE your workout sessions and find them exciting, you’ll look forward to doing them, then you’ll make excuses to do them, then you’ll find you’re doing them more often and for longer time periods.
See the difference?
Do what you love. This could be walking (the most effective in my opinion), hula hooping, Zumba, a high-intensity interval workout on YouTube (HIIT), kickboxing, swimming. As you can see, quite a handful of these don’t need a gym membership or for you to leave your home at all. As long as you find your workout exciting, you WILL lose weight. I personally did a combination of these. Here’s a little example of my weekly routine.
Monday: 45 mins — Dancing to my favourite music in my living room
Tuesday: 1–1.30 hrs — Hula hooping OR 2 Hrs Walking around in a park
Wednesday: 20 min — HIIT (there’s loads of videos on YouTube for this)
Thursday: Dancing (once again) for 45 mins
Friday: 20 min — HIIT
Saturday: 2 hrs Walking around in a park
Sunday: Rest and reflect
Out of all of these activities, I HIGHLY recommend walking. Once I started walking more often, I noticed the weight dropping effortlessly off the scales. I would say try and reach around 1200 steps to reap the maximum weight loss benefits
4. Analyse your plateau
You will almost most DEFINITELY reach that damned plateau during your weight loss journey. The scales stop moving and you suddenly feel as though you’re back to square one. Don’t panic. Stay calm. Think. Am I doing anything that could potentially slow down my progress? A plateau could be due to a number of things.
- Your portions. Are you eating too much or more importantly, too little. If you eat too little, starvation mode can kick in which causes the body to conserve more fat and weight which leads to those numbers on the scale either staying the same or even going up.
- What are you eating? Be honest with yourself here. Be REALLY honest. Are you actually sticking to good healthy foods or indulging yourself for no real reason with a big mac or a mutant slice of cake? If you slip up, then that’s okay. Just make sure to get back to eating healthy the very next day. My meals changed quite a bit throughout the year. In the summer, I tried the keto diet along with intermittent fasting which was the weapon that absolutely SLAYED my 2-month plateau. Outside of the summer months, I switched to eating loads of fruits, oats, nuts and lean meats like chicken and turkey. Try and avoid salty foods like bacon which lead to water retention as this can cause the number on the scales to skyrocket.
- Period. For us ladies, our hormones can drastically alter during our menstrual cycle which can cause the numbers on the scale to alter. It’s perfectly normal for you to feel bloated and for those numbers to rise about a week before and a week after your period.
While we’re on this topic, I should also mention that it’s perfectly normal to have cravings for foods such as chocolate or pizza. When you feel these cravings, there are 3 options you can take. 1. If you have superhuman willpower and determination, then try and resist binge-eating during your period. 2. If like me you truly can’t do this, then go ahead and enjoy yourself, but just do so in moderation so that your progress isn’t slowed down too much (by this I mean only one treat item a day). 3. Try and eat substitutes for what you crave. If you crave something sweet, eating loads of fruit or having a bowl of porridge with honey and bananas can help overcome this. When you don’t deny your body what it wants, you’ll feel a lot more energetic and will be encouraged to drive through your weight loss journey.
4. Are you stressed? Stress can directly lead to imbalances in hormones like Cortisol and Adrenaline which can cause weight gain. Try and find ways to relax and de-stress that don’t revolve around food. Yoga can help relax the mind and body as well as help tone and bust fat. If not yoga, then perhaps drawing, spending more time with your family and friends, using apps such as Calm or even learning a new skill like the piano.
5. You’re building muscle. As you workout, your body starts to build more muscle which can cause your overall body weight to go up. Don’t let the number on the scales get you down though, this is actually a very good thing! All that muscle you’re building is what will help you burn all that fat off and leave your body looking nice and toned. Plus, you’ll notice you feel a lot more energetic and stronger than before your workout program.
6. Perhaps there’s no reason what-so-ever. Shit happens. So can plateaus. Don’t pay attention to the scales too much, just use them as a guide. Concentrate on how you feel and how your clothes fit you. Rather than the scales, this is the main way of tracking your progress.
I can already see you all rolling your eyes. You probably want to see your fat cells crying and dying right now, right this second as you’re reading this. When you first start your weight loss journey, you will probably notice a very rapid drop in water weight on the scales. However, after this initial drop, things may start to slow down ever so slightly. Don’t be discouraged. This is completely natural and in fact, a steady and progressive drop in weight is the best way to maintain that weight loss.
As an extremely impatient person myself, many times I found myself growing discouraged from seeing no further weight loss. I would think to myself, “what’s the point?” and then I would simply stop exercising, start binge eating and put on weight. That’s why I emphasise step 1 of finding your motive. Once you can see the bigger picture, you’ll be constantly reminded about why you wanted to lose weight in the first place. When you’re reminded about this, you’ll naturally find yourself feeling more patient about the process and sticking to your plan. This is the ultimate key to weight loss that people tend to forget. All good things take time and rushing the process is probably not the best idea.
So there we have it, my friends. The 5 simple steps that will make you lose weight in no time at all and most importantly WITHOUT SUFFERING. When it comes to losing weight, I always say that it’s better to treat it as a lifestyle change and therefore, there should be very minimum self-torture involved.