5 Tips to Help Start Your Weight Loss Journey

  • 3 Minutes Read
Katherine Isacks
Katherine Isacks, MPS, RDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

It's a new year and you are psyched to get going with weight loss. This post shares tips on how to get started or restarted with your weight loss journey.

5 Tips to Help Start Your Weight Loss Journey

Happy New Year! Now that the holidays are over, it is time to focus on your health goals. For many of us, this means losing some weight. Here are 5 tips that will help you during your weight loss journey:

1. Set a Realistic Target Weight

Why are you losing weight and how much do you need to lose? This is one of the most important things to ponder before you start a plan. If there is a serious health issue that requires weight loss, then it is wise to know how much weight you need to lose in order to lower your health risk. For most of us who are overweight, losing 10% of our starting body weight is the most important weight loss achievement in terms of lowering health risk. It is also the most important target weight to sustain permanently. For instance, if you weigh 300 lb, the first milestone is to lose 30 lb, with a target weight of 270 lb. Even if do not lose more weight, keeping that 30 lb off forever will have a positive health effects. Celebrate and acknowledge that important and health-changing achievement!

For those of you who are already at a healthy body weight, why are you trying to lose weight? Can a well-designed training program better meet your desire for a change in shape or definition? If you struggle with poor body image, then consider therapy or counseling as a key support system.

2. Make Time for Weight Loss

It takes time and commitment to lose weight. To consume fewer calories, you have to learn how to do that without hurting yourself, without having to eat foods you hate, and importantly, without being too hungry. Also, it takes time to be more physically active. This might mean less time for other activities. Commit to your health and make time for weight loss. It will help if you schedule activities in your calendar - e.g. for shopping, food prep, finding healthier dining out choices, walking around the block, or going to the gym.

3. Find a Weight Loss Plan That Works For You

Many people find it overwhelming to simply eat less and move more. MyNetDiary has published a series of blog posts on weight loss diets and plans here. There will be more posts coming in 2018. MyNetDiary is not paid to endorse diets or programs - these posts are simply for your information.

It is important to know yourself and your needs. If you respond well to group interaction and support, then find a group-based plan that works with your budget. You can track with MyNetDiary and get the benefit from those paid programs too!

Here's a tip for those of you with prediabetes: The National Diabetes Prevention Program is also a weight loss program! To find a program near you, visit the CDC's National Diabetes Prevention Program: Registry of All Recognized Organizations. This program is usually more affordable than commercial weight loss programs.

4. Learn How to Track or Log Your Food & Exercise

Track your food to learn where your calories and nutrients come from, what your calories requirement is for weight loss (as well as weight maintenance), and to discover how your food and beverage choices affect both calories and nutrients. Track your exercise to discover what really helps you burn calories. If you wear a fitness tracker, you might be surprised to learn that being busy or shopping does not necessarily mean you rack up a lot of steps or calories burned. Or, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that vacuuming the whole house or doing yard work actually burns a fair amount of calories.

If you are going to log your diet and exercise to create the needed calories deficit for weight loss, then be sure to read Planning Weight & Calories at MyNetDiary. This is a useful article that explains how settings affect your calories targets. For instance, if you plan to track exercise, then leave your activity level at sedentary to avoid overestimating total calories burned.

I also strongly recommend that you read Tips for Losing Weight at MyNetDiary blog. In this short post, you will find lots of useful links on how to log accurately, how to estimate and measure portions, how to enter custom foods and recipes, and simple meal planning tips.

5. Do Not Give Up

The most important tip is to not give up. You might start a program and find that it does not work well for you. This does not mean that you cannot lose weight. It simply means you need to try something else to lose weight. You might have to do some experimenting to find a plan that works for you. If you have a lot of weight to lose, I strongly recommend that you ask your health care provider for help. There could be medications, programs, and possibly even weight loss surgery options that might be appropriate given your weight and medical history. Ask for help when you need it. And expect ups and downs in your weight loss journey. That is the reality of weight management.

We are here to help support your weight loss journey!

Weight Loss->Behavior Weight Loss->Weight Loss Tips & Quips
Jan 2, 2018

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