First things first: Whether you do or don’t want to lose weight is totally personal; if you want to, great, but if you don’t, that is perfectly fine as well.

In general – if you are looking to lose weight, stick with a plan that works.

  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Cut back on meats high in fat (like chips, burgers and hot dogs), greasy fried foods, and sweets
  • Drink more water instead of sugary drinks like sodas
  • Be more physically active

Don’t fall for fad diets that make you eat large or small amounts of a certain nutrient, such as no-carb diets or high-protein diets. Although you may lose weight, you’ll probably gain it back as soon as you start eating normally again. In the meantime, you may not be getting all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body needs.

Weight loss requires lifestyle changes (no matter how much we might wish for quick answers). It requires work, adaptability, and a whole lot of patience. There’s so much that goes into it. A holistic approach is necessary for success, which is measured in how you feel, not what a scale says.

It includes setting thoughtful goals, looking at your physical activity levels, adopting healthy eating habits, getting enough sleep, managing stress, and being cognizant of confounding factors that may be outside your control, such as health issues or hormones.

It’s also really important to note that if you have a history of disordered eating, a weight-loss plan might not be a healthy choice for you. You should consult a doctor before making changes to your diet or exercise regimen. At the end of the day, the underlying goal is to feel better—physically, mentally, emotionally, however you define it. That’s what you’re working toward.

The first step for making the process easier is to treat your body in a loving way from day one—instead of withholding positivity until you reach a specific number on the scale. That means ditching the judgy voice in your head and acting like your own best friend.

The next step? Craft a plan that will make the process of losing weight sustainable over the long haul. If you’re ready, willing, and able to move forward, the following  tips will help you do just that.

1. Be realistic.

Effective weight loss requires personal honesty. “Make sure any changes you will make are realistic for you and your lifestyle. That means don’t plan on cooking a healthy meal every night if you hate spending time in the kitchen. Instead, you might commit to cooking two nights each week.  It’s also important be honest about your own food preferences, craft a eating plan that emphasizes healthy foods you truly enjoy eating.

2. Identify your intrinsic motivation.

Getting clear about why you want to lose weight will provide you with the fuel to keep going when your resolve starts to weaken. Take some time to reflect and journal about what matters most by asking yourself the following questions:

  • “Why do you want to be healthier?
  • What would that look like-being healthy?
  • Why is that important to me ? How would I feel if I reached those goals?
  • How would that impact the people I love and those who love me?When you get clear on the answers to those questions and continue to remind yourself of why you are getting healthier, it’s much easier to stay on track with making healthy choices on a consistent basis.”

3. Choose a dietary approach that works for you.

In spite of all the hype around various diets, there really is no “one best way” to eat for weight loss. The best diet is one that works for the individual while providing appropriate nourishment. Focusing on choosing more whole foods, having balanced meals, and practicing moderation with less-than-healthy foods, rather than providing a strict meal plan.”

4. Take it slow.

Rapid weight loss can happen, but it is rarely sustainable. Slow and steady weight loss is the way to go, as you’ll be much more likely to keep that weight off in the long run.

5. Look beyond the food.

It can be easy for people to focus merely on what they are eating and on the weight loss progress. But sustainable weight loss relies on other factors as well. Find a supportive community, even online or one-on-one health coach is invaluable. Without a positive support system or the knowledge to develop a healthy eating plan, your weight loss is likely to stall.

6. Don’t panic if you hit a plateau.

Go easy on your body if your weight loss slows down at some point in the process. Plateaus are and help your body to take a break and to make sure that all of the body systems are still in healthy working order before losing any more weight.

Changing up your diet might help you move past a plateau. But it really varies person to person. Sometimes the diet needs to be re-evaluated and sometimes other factors, like stress levels, sleep, and levels of physical activity may be playing a part and need to be addressed.

In other words? Don’t assume a plateau means it’s time to eat fewer calories. Instead, consider the bigger picture to identify any and all contributing factors. And be open to the fact that your body might be happy right where it is—even if you were hoping to drop another 2 kilos.

7. Keep feeding your resolve.

Achieving the weight loss you were after can be simultaneously thrilling and a letdown. When you’re no longer moving toward something, it can feel like the wind’s been knocked out of your sails. To maintain your weight loss, you’ll need to keep feeding your resolve.

Keep up with your healthy habits—eating healthfully, maintaining consistent physical activity, managing stressors, and sleeping well.. It’s important not to just forego your new lifestyle because you reached a weight goal.

It can also be helpful to set new health goals for yourself—such as running a 5K or getting eight hours of sleep every night—in order to maintain your forward momentum remember to keep focusing on the motivator(s) you identified when you first started toward your goal.

8. Finally, Be kind to yourself.

As you endeavor to lose weight, remember to be your own cheerleader. Practice self-care and reward yourself for building healthy habits. Above all, don’t compare yourself to anyone else—Focus on looking forward and give yourself pep talks to stay motivated.

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