If losing weight is a goal of yours, join the club: In 2014, the CDC reported that 37.9 percent of adults are overweight.
Here's the thing: Losing weight has less to do with the food and exercise and more to do with your emotions, mindset, and everyday habits. When I was working to overcome my own binge-eating habits, I implemented five foolproof tips—and they helped me lose 40 pounds:
1. Understand and accept that losing weight is a process.
Accept your body where it is and don’t shame yourself for being where you are. This isn’t permanent, and you can get your body where you want it to be. You won’t lose the weight all at once. It isn’t good to lose weight too quickly because that doesn’t help you override the patterns that allowed the weight to creep on in the first place. The key to lasting weight loss is to build new habits one at a time.
2. Mindset and strategy are key.
Make sure you are committed to achieving your goal, and make sure this is really what you want. If you feel at all doubtful, it will make it that much harder on the tough days. You have to stick to your goals in order to lose weight, so develop strategies that will set you up for success.
There are going to be tough and challenging days. Those are the days when you need to pull out your strategies. Some things that helped me when I was working toward losing weight are listed below, and I still use them today. Full disclosure: I have weeks when I fall off track, even now. But my lapses are nowhere near as frequent or as long-lasting as they used to be. I have developed a healthier mindset toward food, stress, and exercise that has helped me when times get tough.
3. Exercise in the morning, even if your workout session is brief.
You can do additional cardio or weight lifting later in the day, but 10 to 20 minutes of exercise in the morning makes a huge difference. You will feel great about yourself right at the beginning of your day, which is a great place to start. I know you might be thinking you don’t have the time, but we never have the time. We have to create it.
4. Consistency is important.
Contrary to what people may have told you, your old habits will always be there. So in order to create lasting change, you must create new habits. Then make these new habits part of your daily routine. If you don’t do this, you will slip back into your old ways—because that is what your brain is comfortable with. Also, make small changes instead of huge sweeping ones. When you go from 0 to 100, you will get exhausted and burn out. Think of how you feel when you sprint. That level isn’t sustainable long-term.
5. Always have a snack with you just in case.
I love protein bars because they feel like a treat. You know those days when you don’t end up having lunch when you were supposed to? This is when having a snack handy is key. I often have a scary hour when I get home from work. I’m usually a bit hungry and tired from the day, which leads to moments of weakness. If I don’t have something healthy nearby, I will most likely reach for foods I shouldn’t. This is where strategy comes in: Having a protein bar nearby keeps me from eating something I will regret later.
6. Prep on Sundays.
Get all of your food ready for the week over the weekend. Do your grocery shopping and cook your meals. You can keep some in the fridge to eat within a day or two, then freeze the rest. There is nothing better than coming home from a long day of work and only having to heat up your dinner since it is already prepared.