As someone who has successfully lost close to 100 pounds (95 and counting!), I like to tell myself that I know a thing or two about lasting weight loss.
Prior to transitioning to a plant-based diet and incorporating yoga into my daily routine, I tried every weight loss product/exercise plan on the market without success. I lost a few pounds here and there, but they always came back once I reverted to my normal routine.
What I learned through my experiences is that there is no quick fix when it comes to lasting weight loss. In order to be successful in the long term, you must change your habits and your lifestyle. There is just no other way around it.
Below are the top three tips that I give my clients who are looking to (permanently) lose weight and transform their lives:
1. Find the right speed.
When it comes to altering your lifestyle, you have to be honest with yourself about several factors that will ultimately affect your success. Do you work full-time or part-time? Do you go to school? Do you have a family? Do you live with other people or alone? How many hours each day can you honestly commit to your goal?
Weight loss takes time, planning, and preparation. Some of my clients have more free time than others and therefore want to put everything they've got into the program right away. People with more free time usually opt for a "fast track" plan and implement all changes at once. Other clients have demanding jobs or small children, so they can really only set aside an hour or two each day for the program. This is what I call the "slow & steady" group.
It all comes down to making realistic changes at your own pace based on your current lifestyle. You don't want to overwhelm yourself, or on the other hand, not feel challenged enough. If you want long-term change, you must find the right speed so that your efforts are sustainable.
2. Work on your time management.
Work, family, exercise, food preparation, downtime, sleep…a normal 24-hour day consists of several obligations that must be met. When we have a million things going on at once, food and exercise tend to be the two responsibilities that get pushed aside. The secret to success is making sure that this doesn't happen!
Time management and planning are vital to achieving goals. There are certain steps that must be taken every single day in order to experience long-term results. You must learn how to manage your time wisely.
Make sure to set aside the proper amount of time each day for planning and preparing your own meals, breaking a sweat and even thinking ahead to the following day or week. Start to get an idea of what kind of healthy meals you will make, what ingredients you would need to have ready, and what would be an opportune time to exercise based on your schedule.
Don't feel bad if you struggle with time management—many people do! Organization isn't a trait that everyone is just born with. Time management is something that must be learned and then honed, day in and day out through practice. Staying dedicated to your health goals, no matter what life throws at you, is the perfect way to fine-tune this vital skill.
3. Invest in mind, body, and soul healing.
When we neglect our physical health, there tend to be emotional reasons fueling the inaction. When it comes to true transformation, you must address every layer of your existence. Physical, emotional, and spiritual health all go hand-in-hand. A holistic approach is what's needed.
Yoga and meditation are two practices that are ideal for addressing health and well-being on every single level. Both facilitate the process of uniting the mind, body, and soul. When the three are aligned, the result is a whole, complete person radiating optimal health. When you have this, you are capable of anything you put your mind to.
Make sure to take time to connect with your body and breath. Take time to slow down and do nothing but breathe and stretch. Turn off your mind for at least 20 to 30 minutes each day and sit in silence. Not only do these practices produce calming effects, but they also allow you to release the things that are weighing you down—emotions, baggage, fears, etc. Work on letting it all go and focus on becoming the best version of YOU that you can possibly be.