So you want to lose weight?!?
Hooray! That is the hardest part, making the decision to create change.
But what’s next?!?
I know the feeling. When I set out to lose weight after my first pregnancy I had no dern idea what I was doing. I literally slashed my calories to bare minimum and did the same exact exercise for weeks that lead into months on end. Until I started educating myself and growing through my pains. This start led me to where I am today, but good for you, your journey doesn’t have to be filled with some many boo’s boo’s and bumps in the road.
Today I am going to share with you the steps you should take when you don’t know where to start in your weight loss journey, especially as a new or busy mom.
First things first, you have to determine your why. Yes you have made the decision to start losing weight. But why exactly are you doing it? Your why will decipher whether this is a short term or long term investment. For example, if you are losing weight for a vacation or class reunion. Once that date of your trip or reunion comes and goes your initiative and drive may potentially go right along with it. When you are making a conscious decision to lose weight for the long goal then your why must be attached to YOU. “I want to lose weight to live a healthier lifestyle”, “I want to lose weight to look and feel more confident”, or “I want to lose weight to be an example for my kids and family”. That way you have a reason that keeps you motivated during challenging times and it’s not attached to a specific destination.
Now, what is your why? Struggling with this, check out my “Mom Guilt to Mom Goals Guide” to help you define your why and learn how to look and feel confident in the choices you make for a healthier you.
The next place that leads people astray is nutrition and their diet. Let’s set the record straight, a diet, by my definition, is not a restriction of food but defines what you will eat to provide energy for your body. Many times people have this idea that a diet means to restrict foods, which is not what a diet is. You can still lose weight without restricting food. Your diet is defined by the type of foods that you readily eat to survive.
Now that we have that straight, when it comes to your nutrition you want to be sure that you are choosing a diet that meshes well with your taste buds, lifestyle, and goals. For example, if you chose to follow a keto diet, but you can’t live without carbs and truly hate eating fatty foods then why put yourself through the ringer just to drop pounds. Or, let’s say you are someone who has a fantastic social life, choosing to go on a 1000 kcal diet without carbs and sugar may be pretty difficult for your lifestyle and can actually impact you mentally and emotionally. Why? Because that diet is not allowing you to be who you are- a social butterfly that likes to go out and have a great time. Let me be the first to tell you, there is nothing wrong with you. You can very well find a weight loss solution that works for you and your lifestyle without jeopardizing your taste buds. And this is simply by tracking your food and macros. It puts you in charge of what you eat with the only restriction of staying within your allocated macros/calories for the day, dassit! But if tracking isn’t your thing, find a meal plan or diet routine that you can follow for at least 6 months without losing complete pieces of you and feeling like it is more of a chore than a lifestyle change. Don’t just pick a diet because others have seen results, you aren’t others. You have to find what works for you, just like they found what worked for them.
If you need help figuring this out, simply ask yourself: Will the meal plan help me reach my goals long term? Is this diet or meal plan sustainable for at least 6-12 months and are the intended results attainable for ME and MY lifestyle?
Now that you have your diet down, you now want to make a list of foods that will help you stay within the parameters of your diet. Do your research and find out what food will help you maintain your diet without jeopardizing your taste buds or lifestyle. You can start by making a list of 3-5 go to proteins, 2-3 go to carbs, and 3-5 different vegetables that you are willing to eat with your main course meals. You can also make another list for 3-5 fruits and snacks that will keep you within the parameters of your diet, but will still be enjoyable to your palate. Once you have this down, you are ready to go! Start looking for recipes that match these ingredients and go for what you know. I used Pinterest earlier on to find recipes, but there are a ton of resources out there on YouTube, Instagram, and inside my Planned Eats membership.
Alright now, don’t just head to the dinner table and start eating. You need to be sure that all of your meals and snacks are in the right portion. Remember, a caloric deficit of ~500 calories can lead to weight loss. So you need to be sure that all of the foods that are in your new found diet, actually will be the magic number of calories needed to keep you in a caloric deficit. Eating at the same amount or above the calories your body uses to maintain your current weight (TDEE), will lead to weight gain or maintenance. So start tracking your food to be sure that you are eating to maintain a caloric deficit.
Let’s talk exercise! This is a big one, because many moms don’t know what to do to workout when they truly want to lose weight. We hide from the weight, stick to cardio, or stick to no exercise routine at all due to the responsibilities, low energy, or lack of motivation. So let me help you out. In my opinion, if you are a mom who is crunched for time you want to start with using high intensity interval training (HIIT exercises). These exercises incorporate high intensity exercises with very little rest between sets so that you can burn fat and calories in a shorter period of time (~ 20-30 minutes). Now don’t be like me and do the same HIIT workout for months *blushing*. You should aim to do 2-3 HIIT workouts a week and add in 2 days of resistance training (one upper and lower body workout each).
Resistance training is key to lowering your body fat percentage, because the more muscle you gain the more calories/fat you will burn during your workout. Plus both HIIT and resistance training have an added advantage of the post-burn effect which means that your body will continue to burn energy (calories) up to 36 hours AFTER your workout. Now if HIIT isn’t your thing the best thing you can do is find an exercise style that interests you. Working out should be enjoyable and shouldn’t feel like something to check off your to-do list, you should enjoy going to release stress and relax your mind away from your day to day. So do your research on google, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, magazines etc. to find some exercise styles that interest you and give it a shot. You should aim for at least 2-3 days of resistance training and a total of 4-5 days of at least 30 minutes of moderate resistance activity. Now if all else fails, the best thing for you to do is to start by walking a mile, then move it to 2, 3 miles etc. Then once you do that progress to running that same distance. Bottom line: You simply need to move your body to burn more calories than you are eating to keep yourself in a caloric deficit. How you do it is totally up to you.
Finally, don’t start your weight loss journey without checking your mindset. You want to find words that will affirm you and your decision to lose weight so that you can remain confident in your choice to make a lifestyle change and to remain consistent and motivated on the journey. There are different ways you can work on your mindset, but it all starts with a willingness and openness to create change. Once you are willing and open to create change you then need to find someone or something to keep you motivated and to hold you accountable. This could be a family member, friend, significant other, coach, diary, app, whatever it is that you need, define what that is now and take immediate action to get the support you need to curate a mindset that will welcome the change you desire to be.
Hopefully if you were stuck in a place of not knowing what to do or where to start this helps you. Have question, shoot me a message or DM, I’d love to hear from you!