When it comes to losing weight, the journey isn’t that bad at all. In fact, it’s empowering and life-changing. Although, like with the most things, starting out is probably the hardest part of it all.
You know, just like with new projects, the beginning can be scary. Not knowing exactly what steps to take to accomplish what you want can even put you off.
Also, the misconceptions we have (and I’ve learned to realize that we have quite a few) can totally hinder you from even starting your weight loss journey.
Where to Start if You Want to Lose Weight
Here 10 tips I’d love to share with your that have specifically helped me to start losing weight. Obviously, we’re all different. Thus, the exact things that worked for me might not for you.
However, I think it’s a good place to start. Especially if you want to get some ideas for your own weight loss journey.
Learn more about how I’ve lost 10 pounds at the very beginning of my weight loss journey here.
However, my real weight loss journey and real progress has started after I’ve figured out the 10 following things.
1. Figure Out Your “Why”
There has been interesting research done on weight loss motivation. It showed that young adults find the motivation to lose weight because they want to improve their appearance much more often than older adults. The latter group does it because of health concerns.
I think that makes sense. As a young adult, I’ve never been concerned with my own health and only wished to lose weight to look good. Yet, that has never given me enough motivation to start a healthier lifestyle.
However, after watching a season of the ‘’The Resident’’ and seeing how painful (and expensive) health care can be, I’ve realized that I don’t ever want to be cut open by another person. I’ve never had serious health concerns. But, the series gave me a chance to look at wellness from a completely different perspective.
I also started seeing wellness as a strength. Being in charge of your body and becoming physically strong is empowering.
I think that came to me when I watched this workout video with Nina Dobrev and saw how strong these women are. For the first time, I didn’t just want to be fit, I wanted to be as strong as these women!
No, seriously, watch it.
What to make up of all of this? Well, you need to find your reason why. If you do think you want to be more fit, look better and yet do nothing to get there, perhaps that’s not good enough reason for you to even start. Try to find the reason why you want to do it!
2. Get Inspiration on Instagram/Pinterest
Sometimes figuring out your ‘’why’’ isn’t so simple. Start with a little bit of inspiration. There are loads of great blogs, Instagram accounts, youtube channels that share beautiful transformation stories.
Educating yourself about weight loss and finding people or stories you can connect to can mentally set you up for your weight loss journey.
Try, you have nothing to lose!
3. Start by Taking Measurements
In order to understand what you exactly need to do to lose weight, you need to first evaluate your physical appearance. Take measurements of your waist, arms, legs, etc.
Also, consider buying smart scales to better understand your body’s water/fat/muscle ratios. They’re not going to be exactly correct but will give you a good sense of what your body is like.
Might even make you feel a little bit better about yourself! For example, my BMI when I first started taking measurements was around 30. Yes, I was obese. Seeing such a number and understanding what it means can be very scary.
However, since I had smart scales, I’ve realized that I had a high amount of muscle. My body type was in fact ‘’thick-set’’. Now that sounds much better!
Anyway, take whatever measurements you have and write them down. You’ll know where you’re starting, and they will help you to measure your progress! Being able to look back and see where I started can be truly fulfilling.
Each week when I update my sheet, I let my boyfriend know how much progress I’ve done so far. It’s truly amazing!
Here is an example of how I’d do it without the smart scales. I’ll keep on filling this page up!
4. Write Down Your Goals
All ideas are first born in our heads. Thus, I truly believe that having a goal in your mind can make any journey much easier. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a goal you have for your business adventure or health. A goal is a goal and it can keep you going on the days when it’s hard to do so.
Thus, write it down. Actually, you don’t even have to write it down if you just always have that number in your head.
I haven’t added a goal number to this sheet because I know that I want to weigh 152 lbs to have a normal BMI. Once I reach that number, my goals might change (I might even want to gain weight and build more muscle).
We change, so do our goals. Thus, it’s best to think one step at a time. 🙂
5. Calculate Your BMR
This is the fun part for everyone who loves Math. For those who’re not big fans of it, don’t worry, we’re going to use tools to make all the calculations.
Now, if you really want to start losing weight, this part is a must. Why? It will help you to get a better understanding of how much work you’re going to need to put into your weight loss journey.
I’ve only truly sat down and calculated all the metrics specifically for my body only later in my weight loss journey. However, the results after that have been truly amazing. Each week since then I’ve been consistently losing 1.65 lbs.
What is BMR?
BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) – how many calories you’d burn if you’ve spent the whole day in bed (and haven’t eaten for at least 12 hours).
How to Calculate It
If you want to get a more accurate measurement for BMR, knowing your body fat percentage can help. If you don’t have smart scales, use this tool to get your body fat percentage from the body measurements I’ve mentioned above.
Here is a tool you can use for calculating BMR: https://www.sailrabbit.com/bmr/ . If you know your body fat percentage, use ‘’Katch-McArdle (Hybrid)’’ formula for your BMR – it’s the most accurate representation of your metabolic rate.
Otherwise, just use the average of all values.
This is how your page should look like now.
6. Figure Out How Much You Can Commit to Exercise
The amount of time you can contribute to exercising will directly affect the number of calories you can eat every day. Try to be practical and understand how much of your time you can spend exercising in the gym or at home.
Do realize that this number will change too. Perhaps you’ll have more availability in the future.
Anyway, it’s important to really think about the hours and minutes you can spend exercising. Figuring out how much you’re going to burn in each session isn’t very hard.
There are multiple resources that will tell you how much you’re going to burn in x minutes of doing an activity.
If you have a smartwatch, record your heart rate during the workouts and use it to calculate how many calories you’ve burnt: http://www.shapesense.com/fitness-exercise/calculators/heart-rate-based-calorie-burn-calculator.shtml
If you’re doing HIIT, strength workout or lifting weights, make sure you multiply the value by 1.4 to take into account the after-burn effect. You’re going to burn calories even after the workout.
So, let’s say, you’re going to have two 80-minute gym workouts and one 30-40-minute workout at home. Thus, we could say that every week we’re going to burn around 1,000+1,000+500=2,500 calories.
Also, we need to remember that just by working (even a desk job) we’re still burning calories.
If you’re working from home, you’re going to burn an extra 16% of your BMR every day. If you have a desk job away from home – that’s around 20% of your BMR every day. You get the idea! For more values depending on your lifestyle refer to https://www.sailrabbit.com/bmr/ .
Here’s how my calculations will look like.
7. Figure Out Your Calorie Intake
Let’s start with the fact that 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of fat is 9000 calories. Thus, if you want to lose 0.5 kg (1.1 lbs) per week, you need to burn 4,500 calories in total.
So, if you wanted to lose 1.1 lbs a week, you’d need to stay at a calorie deficit of 4500/7=643 every day. Thus, the number of calories you would need to consume is (calories burnt a day) – (calorie deficit).
This is basic Maths and it works. However, weight loss isn’t that simple but more about that on my other blog posts. All in all, these calculations should give you a good idea of how much you should eat a day and set you up for a healthy weight loss journey.
8. Start Tracking Your Progress
Since you have all the numbers down, tracking your progress shouldn’t be hard. Choose a day in the week when you’re going to weigh yourself and take other measurements. Do it consistently every week. No matter whether you’ve gained weight or lost it.
Having these numbers in front of you will help you to understand what’s setting you back and what you need to adjust to continue losing weight.
Perhaps it’s your workout routine that’s not working for you. Or it’s the foods you eat that your body isn’t reacting well to. Also, you might just need to increase your protein intake… You get what I mean.
9. Start Tracking Your Food
I used to think that I don’t need to track my food intake to lose weight and be healthy. However, I soon learned that I was wrong. You can eat very healthy and still overeat.
You can eat healthily and gain weight. Why? It’s simple Math – if your intake is larger than what you spend, you end up saving some of that energy in the form of fat.
Now tracking your food shouldn’t become an unhealthy obsession. And no, you don’t need to PRECISELY know how many calories you’re consuming every day. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s impossible.
Use food tracking apps as a tool to hold yourself accountable and understand how much food you’re actually consuming. With time, you’ll become more intuitive about food and have a better sense of what portion sizes you should go for.
Another great thing about tracking your food is the fact that you can see what nutrients you’re missing out on.
For me personally, tracking food has helped to value each meal in terms of how useful it is for my health. Somehow, I stopped craving for pizzas when I realized how little of nutritional value I get out of them. Yeah, it’s not all just about calories.
10. Start Making Small Changes to Your Lifestyle
Hey, if you’re not ready for doing all these calculations, starting a diet, a vigorous workout regime, start small. Here are a few little things you can do to start losing weight:
- Drink more water – studies show that drinking 500ml of cold water can boost your metabolism by 30%.
- Drink green tea – it boosts metabolism too (source).
- Go for walks – moving more will burn calories.
- Incorporate more whole foods into your diet – your body uses more energy to consume these foods, so you’re more likely to burn more calories!
Have any questions? Let me know in the comment section. I’m well aware that some of the steps might sound a little complicated. Thus, feel free to ask me whatever you want!
I’m not a doctor and I know that my tips might not work for everyone. However, you never know until you try. These are the things that I’ve done to actually start losing weight and I’ve never felt better in my life!