Prep your mind
You need a healthy mindset before you can get a healthy body! Firstly, lose any negative dieting associations you may have. So what if you’ve fallen off the health wagon a few times? This is a new beginning – and you’re doing things differently this time.
Set clear and achievable goals
You need a combination of short-term goals, such as 'I will eat a healthy breakfast/lunch/dinner/walk to work’, as well as long-term goals, such as ‘I want to lose 10 kilograms by December 1’. Small daily and weekly wins will help you reach your ultimate long-term goal and keep you motivated, inspired and committed.
Organise your fridge and meal plans
Your meals make up a large chunk of your weight loss journey (as does physical exercise and getting your optimum sleep requirements, which helps your body rest, recover and digest food), so evaluate the contents of your fridge. Is it chilling?!
Bin any kilojoule packed or unhealthy tempters – chocolates, sugar-packed juices (empty kilojoules), chips, processed meats like sausages and bacon, and fill it with fruits, vegetables and lean meats and proteins. Replace kilojoule-rich drinks (juices, your four full-cream lattes…) with water – ideally 6-8 glasses a day.
There are lots of great meal plans and recipes available for free online, so ensure you have a weekly meal plan set. This will also help ensure you only shop for the ingredients you need. Remember to have healthy breakfasts (even if you’re not hungry when you wake up) to kick-start your metabolism for the day and provide energy. Make lunch your biggest meal and eat smaller dinners at least three hours before you go to sleep (your digestive system needs time to digest food, and should be ready for rest and recovery phase during sleep hours).
Create an exercise schedule
If the thought of high-impact cardio, a weights training session or swimming laps is enough to make you want to throw in the towel immediately, relax. You don’t have to do any physical exercise you loathe. Aim for 10,000 steps a day initially and keep it simple. If that means getting of your bus two stops earlier and walking an extra 10 minutes home, do it. You need a plan – and you need to commit to it if you’re serious about fitting into those jeans again!
Get a health check
Your GP and a health professional are always a great place to start before embarking on any weight loss journey. They can assess your health, guide you on a manageable kilojoule reduction plan specific to your physical needs and lifestyle, suggest a range of cardio and low impact exercises according to your needs and give you the all-clear before you start. If you have had negative dieting experiences in the past, your GP can also investigate possible medical issues that could be preventing weight loss, or alternatively, prescribe weight-loss aides that could help you reach your goals.