Fat loss is a slippery slope, and an innucous negligance or simple mistake can become a downward spiral into the warm baklava your coworker brought into work. The path to fat loss is littered with land mines and roadblocks, yet with some careful maneuvering you can reach your goals with minimal frustration.
Over the years I’ve pinpointed the most important steps to lose fat and keep it off, for good. I narrowed them down to 7.
1. Create and Follow a Plan
If you don’t schedule burst training on your iCal, it’s probably not going to happen, considering mid-afternoon craziness usually usurps any semblance of your fitness routine. Same thing with dinner: if you don’t pre-prep and have a general idea what will on your family’s plates tonight, chances are you’ll succumb to your kids’ McBurgers plea.
Becoming lean and toned doesn’t just happen. You need to plan ahead and make it happen.
2. Write it Down
Maybe you’re too busy to journal your meals. Sorry to be the Debbie downer, but you’re just setting yourself up for failure. A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that people who wrote down every forkful they ate lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t.
If you want to take this to the next level and guarantee you’ll burn fat and stay lean for good, hire a coach who’ll hold you accountable.
You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you started. Buy a good scale to measure and record your weight, body fat percentage, and waist measurements from day one to monitor your progress. A tape measurement also provides a good indication about fat loss. So do looser-fitting clothes.
Whatever you do, write it down. Keeping track provides huge motivation. If you’re not happy with the numbers, you can cross-reference with your food journal for any potential dietary slips or misfires.
4. Get Support
One is the loneliest number, and without encouragement you’re far more likely to slip up. Maybe your personal trainer lovingly kicks your butt when you slip off the rails. Or you know your nutritionist scrutinizes everything you eat, so you stay on course. Maybe it’s just a good friend who genuinely wants your success.
Regardless, don’t attempt fast fat loss alone. A huge reason people in Weight Watchers and other programs succeed involves group support. Even an online support community will keep you on track and accountable for your success.
5. Don’t Let the Hijackers Succeed
Your coworker who’s always doing some faddish cleanse constantly warns you about the dangers of neglecting carbs and your mom lays a guilt trip when you refuse her caramel apple pie a la mode. Even with the best of intentions, some people in your life will try to derail your success. You need to be crystal-clear from the beginning about your purpose, set inspiring goals, continually visualize them, and manage your success.
Don’t let the negativity dominate, and if you feel like someone’s intentionally trying to sabotage your success, call ‘em out on it.
6. Master the Basics
Every plan contains a blueprint to provide the nuts and bolts that help your success. Master those basics no matter how obvious or simplistic they seem. You might be tempted to skip to the more advanced parts of the program, but that would be like learning how to ride a bike without training wheels: at some point, you’re going to get tripped up and fall.
Start with the foundation and build from there.
7. Understand what’s Creating your Resistance
With the right diet and exercise, you should consistently lose one to three pounds of fat every week. Not happening? A number of problems could be hijacking your fast fat loss, including adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues, and gut bacterial overgrowth. An integrative practitioner can pinpoint and help correct what’s creating your weight loss resistance.
Celebrity nutrition and fitness expert JJ Virgin is author of The New York Times Bestseller The Virgin Diet.Celebrity nutrition and fitness expert JJ Virgin is author of The New York Times Bestseller The Virgin Diet.
Featured photo by Alan Cleaver