What are the first steps to losing weight? You’ve decided that you need to lose some weight and now you need to figure out what the first steps are. Sometimes the hardest thing to do when you’re trying to make any kind of change is to simply start.
Do You Need to Lose Weight?
The first step is probably to determine if you actually need to lose weight and why you want to do so. If your doctor has told you that you need to lose weight, then you probably need to do so. When you realize that your clothes have become tight or you need to buy larger sizes, you probably might consider losing some weight. If you just don’t like how you look, maybe you need to do some strength training instead of dieting.
Once you’ve decided that losing weight is appropriate, what do you do? If you’re like many of us, maybe you decide that you’re going to quit eating everything you like and only eat celery sticks because you remember being a teenager and someone saying that you burn more calories chewing celery than you intake from the celery. (I don’t know if that’s true but I still remember being told that.) If you end up with a diet of celery, sugar free jello, and some wilted lettuce, you need to rethink this.
Before You Start
If you’re going to do this, make sure you can determine how you’re doing. Before you start, do all of the following:
Weigh yourself. If your goal is to lose weight, make sure you know where you started.
Measure yourself. I suggest measuring your chest, waist, at your navel, and hips. You will be able to see results if you measure, even when the scale doesn’t seem to be moving.
Take photos. Use some judgment here because you might want to share some of these later in before and after photos. I suggest that you wear a bathing suit or sports wear. You want to be able to see your body but you want to be able to let others see as well. Don’t forget to take a full body shot and get a good picture of your face.
The First Steps to Losing Weight
Here are some things I’d suggest that you do first.
Track what you’re eating
Use an app like My Fitness Pal or LoseIt! to track your food for a few days. You can also log your food in the Fitbit app as well. The software will tell you how many calories you’re eating, how much fat, protein, and carbohydrates you’re ingesting, and some sense of what kind of nutrition you’re getting. Do that for a few days and then look at the numbers. Where are you overeating? When are you eating? Just get a sense of what you’re doing and what is the easiest to change.
Look at what you’re doing and figure out something you can change. Maybe it’s to eat fewer potato chips and substitute in an extra vegetable at a meal. Maybe you see that you’re taking in a lot of calories at that late night snack. If you really want that snack, is there something you can eat that’s a bit lighter? Maybe you can just eliminate that snack.
Drink More Water
Drink some extra water. If you read enough or listen to people about losing weight, they’ll tell you to increase your water consumption. Before you begin drinking a gallon of water every day, just increase what you’re drinking moderately. Let your body adjust to a bit more water. If you’re drinking soft drinks, try to replace some of them with a glass of water.
Look for some support
Making changes in your life can be challenging and finding others who are doing the same definitely helps. Feel free to join the Becoming Elli Facebook group and post there. We’ll help you as best we can. You can pay for a community. For example, WW (formerly Weight Watchers) and Noom both offer communities of people who are doing the same program. This might be a good place to turn when you’re starting out. Remember that you’re not obligated to do the same thing forever so use what works for you now and worry about next year when it gets here. A free option is the LoseIt community on Reddit. There’s lots of free information there and lots of support. I bookmarked that subreddit years ago and still pop in to see how people are doing.
Be Willing to Make Changes
I think when you’re first starting to work on losing weight, you don’t need to decide you’re going to go Keto or vegan or paleo. Certainly, you may decide at some later point to try one of these ways of eating but when you’re first starting, I think you need to just give it a try. You can begin to learn more about healthy eating and different ways of eating and then begin to try them out. There is plenty of this kind of information in our podcast. Go through the old episodes and pick out some that you find interesting.
Here’s an important thing to remember. It’s better to make small changes that you can sustain than to totally revamp your life, do it for a few weeks, and then give it up because it’s too hard. You can make changes that help improve your health. Slowly figure out what works for you and don’t be afraid to change what you’re doing.
There you have what I think are probably the first steps to losing weight. Did I miss something? What would you suggest?