Problem: You don't like what you see in the mirror. But you're not sure how or where to start. In this article, we will provide you with four invaluable tips to initiate lasting change in your body shape, ensuring a healthier and happier future. So, if you're ready to embark on this transformative journey, let's explore these tips together.
Initiating change in any aspect of your life is never easy. Whether making changes around lifestyle to accommodate chronic pain or dealing with shifts in a relationship, it can be hard to deal with change. Generally, we are creatures of habit, and we develop comfortable routines in which we feel safe and secure.
When it comes to health, sometimes change is needed. That’s never been clearer than right now, as an obesity epidemic sweeps Canada. In some parts of the country, up to 42% of people in the country are classed as obese, which puts them at serious risk of health complications. High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes are all conditions that are exacerbated by obesity, which means if you’re suffering, you may need to make lifestyle changes.
How can you spark change in your diet and health successfully? What tips can you follow to ensure that if you are suffering from obesity, you can target your weight and begin to put fears of serious health complications aside?
Here are a handful of tips to help you along the way.
Take small steps
The first thing to do is set an achievable goal and take small steps towards that goal. This can be both literal and metaphorical. In terms of the literal, if you want to move some weight, you will have to use more calories than you take in, and that means exercise. Setting a step target for the day is a good place to start, and begin to work up incrementally – perhaps count your steps using a smartwatch on the first day of your health kick, and plan to add 10% each day thereafter.
Metaphorically, the small steps are important. If you do 2,000 steps a day and immediately plan to do 20,000, you’re setting yourself up to fail. The same goes for everything on your weight loss journey – make it achievable, and ensure you have small wins daily to keep you focused.
It starts in the kitchen
There’s a common belief that weight loss must begin in the kitchen, something worth bearing in mind when you start out. You don’t need to clear your cupboards of the food you enjoy and fill it with salads and pulses – you can take small steps to make long-lasting changes in your eating habits. Start small, substituting products such as cheese for a low-fat version or cutting out excess sugary drinks for a sugar-free variety. Small changes daily are more likely to stick with you, and eating healthily is imperative to sustaining your weight once you've got down to your target.
The key is to make your change sustainable. There’s no point throwing yourself into a 30-day fad diet because, on day 31, you won’t have the tools you need to keep the change going. Make little changes to your diet, moderate adjustments to portion size, and ensure they’re sustainable.
Get help and support
If you’re still at a loss where to start, you’re going to need some support. You might have a good family network, but like-minded people can be more beneficial on your journey. If you fire up your laptop and search for ‘weight loss groups near me’ you’ll find a wealth of support and resources in your neighborhood that you can access.
That might lead to a weight loss partner, someone you can lean on for support during tough times, or someone to exercise with and keep you motivated. The support group might be able to suggest recipes and dietary tips or just give you another social group to become involved in. Either way, help and support are hugely beneficial in shifting excess pounds and making long-lasting changes.
Don't be a slave to the scales
Finally, making change is all about long-term sustainability. That means that sometimes, from day to day, progress won’t be obvious. That’s never more the case than when stepping on the scales, and the best thing you can do is to put them in the attic out of the way. Judging whether you’re a success by stepping onto scales every day is the wrong way to be – you might turn some fat into muscle, and therefore your weight doesn’t change. Water retention can affect weight on some days as well – there are too many variables to make a daily weigh-in effective. Indeed, it can be demotivating to put the effort in, only for the scales to say you’re making no progress.
Put them out of the way and pick an item of clothing you’re just a bit too big for right now. Each week (never daily), try that item on until it fits. It’s the best barometer of how you’re doing, and it gives you a small, achievable goal to work towards.
The best route away from obesity is one that takes small steps, sets achievable targets, and involves the help of others. They’re simple changes, but hopefully, the points we’ve raised can help you effect long-lasting change, so once you become healthier, you stay healthy. Good luck!