Make Weight Loss Work this Time with These 4 Steps

If you know the start-stop, try-fail weight loss routine a bit too well, you should read this.

You’ve let your weight climb, pound by pound, over the years. When you wake in the morning, you’re begging for another hour of sleep. You sit at a desk all day and by time you get home each night, you’re exhausted.

It’s not about losing five, ten, or fifteen pounds. It’s more like fifty, seventy-five, or a hundred pounds.

The idea of starting a weight-loss program is exhausting. In your heart, you know it’s the right thing to do, but you’ve started and failed a hundred times…and with each failure, the belief that you can’t accomplish, can’t do, can’t win has swelled in pace with your waistline.

But the fact is, you can. This time can be different. And the difference starts with these four essential steps:

1. Make the Commitment 

There’s a little flame of intimidation inside you, but here’s what you need to know: It’s alright! Your frustration, your weight, your anger, and your inability to manage your health and fitness are a thing of the past. Why? Because today is a new day. That little picture of yourself? The one you keep tucked away in the back of your mind? The healthy and fit one?

It’s so possible.

Mike Hartshorne says that commitment starts in your mind. And he should know: he’s head trainer/owner of Burn Boot Camp just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina where he’s helped countless people change their lives.

“This really is changing your way of life. You have to hit that switch in your head, where you realize that whatever you’ve been doing in the past isn’t creating or generating change,” he explains. “It isn’t producing happiness and joy. It doesn’t matter if it’s poor diet, lack of exercise, or a sedentary lifestyle because the end result is poor self-esteem or a lack of self-confidence.”

2. Determine Your Goals

Your ambitions might be high, and they’ll certainly evolve over time. However, most people work better with manageable goals and concrete increments. So, break your goals down into six-month blocks. Do you need to lose a hundred pounds? Then set goals by ten or twenty-five pounds. Celebrate each victory and move to the next hurdle.

When you have a lot of weight to lose and the road ahead is so very long, there are a thousand reasons why you might fail or get sidetracked. But by taking each one as it comes, you can reach your destination. “This is about your goals and figuring out what holds you back,” says Hartshorne. “What things are preventing you from succeeding? You have to tackle each thing and come up with a plan to overcome. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it really can happen.”

3. Make A Plan of Action

Hartshorne says exercise is only 20% of a healthy life change; nutrition makes up the other eighty. “Working out is the easy part,” says Hartshorne. “It’s when you go out the door and a trainer doesn’t have control anymore, that’s tough.” Coming up with a plan and logging your daily food intake is crucial.

As far as your exercise routine? The person who weighs 400 pounds cannot do the same workout as someone who weighs 150 pounds—but everyone can have the same intensity.

“You want to be challenged every time,” says Hartshorne. “For example, at our gym, you’re never going to beat the workout. It’s designed to test you! Progression doesn’t necessarily mean you tackle a workout. It means you can go longer, further or harder. Progression is showing strength.”

“I see a lot of people who doubt themselves. They hit a threshold, they’re out of breath and they think they need to stop. But, do you really need to stop? Take a second, catch your breath and jump back in and say, I can do this! Everyone gets out of breath. The first time you push yourself, your body isn’t going to like it, but the more you can keep your body accustomed to hitting that target heart rate, the more comfortable you’ll get with exertion.”

4. Gather The Troops

Surround yourself with positive people! On any journey, you’ll require people who can lift you up and motivate you, friends who can share their wisdom, and mentors who have stood where you are today. Think of it as a group of back-up singers: they help fill in the gaps when you can’t.

This is where a "gym family" and personal trainer can come into play. “You need mentors and people to help hold you accountable,” explains Hartshorne. “A trainer can help you figure out your goals.”

Hartshorne’s own gym, with a modified boot camp atmosphere full of high-intensity cardio and strength training, has created a unique environment for women and men to hold each other accountable as well as lift each other up. Accountability isn’t someone standing over you with a ruler to slap your hand when you make a mistake: It’s someone encouraging you to keep going when you hit a rough patch. 

Remember: You Can Do It!

In today’s culture of pressure, our own self-imposed ideas about the process of losing weight can have a negative impact on our ability to succeed. But by having a thought-out plan and not getting bogged down by the task ahead of you, you can attain your goals for good this time.

Make it WayBetter

At the beginning of any weight loss program, especially if you have a long road ahead, it helps to remember WHY you're doing it. Take some time to write down the reason or reasons you want to lose weight, and turn to them when your motivation flags.