We'd like to throw some impressive statistic at you, like 80 percent of weight loss is mental, but when it comes to getting down to your goal weight, all we can really tell you is that being prepared mentally is what will give you the drive and motivation to get there. Being able to run 5 miles, or bench pressing a perfectly respectable 100 pounds are wonderful physical accomplishments, but at one point or another they were mental obstacles that we had to overcome first. Weight loss, and then weight maintenance, are lifelong struggles, so getting your head in the right place is absolutely essential to sticking with it and staying strong. Take a look at the top tips below to learn more.
1. Put your goals on paper. Knowing your goals isn't enough. When you put pen to paper, you are constructing a permanent, visual agreement with yourself that you will have a much harder time ignoring when times get tough. Be specific with what you want out of your training and dieting. Write about your health concerns, what kind of foods you want to avoid, and most importantly, how you feel about yourself. Compare it to how you would like to feel about yourself 6 months or a year from now. Writing all this down will help you get excited about your aspirations!
2. Create a meal plan. Whether or not you decide to hire a dietitian is up to you, but you definitely need to take the time to write down a detailed meal plan each week. Not only will it help you avoid cravings, but it will also help you gain a deeper understanding of what foods you should be eating on a regular basis. You'll have a go-to guide for grocery shopping, and it will keep you on track when you have to dodge the not-so-healthy options at your favorite restaurant.
>> Read more: 10 Tips to Eating Healthier at Restaurants
3. Consider hiring a personal trainer. We're not saying you need a full-time trainer every day of the week, but it definitely wouldn't hurt to spend a session or two with an exercise expert who can help you map out your workouts and answer any of your fitness questions. Exercise is a critical part of the weight loss process, so don't let inexperience get in the way of your goals! Just like with your meal plan, a trainer can help you write down your weekly routines so you can visualize just how frequently you should hit the gym.
4. Train yourself to be realistic. Transformation doesn't occur overnight, and you need to be able to accept that before you step forth on your weight loss journey. There will be days when you just can't drag yourself to the gym. There will be moments of weakness when you eat an entire pizza by yourself. While those times may seem like the end of the world, the truth is that weight loss is all about plodding on, day after day, and taking the minor mistakes in stride. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, recognize that you aren't going to accomplish that in a matter of days. Concentrate on the smaller victories, and count 1 to 2 pounds at a time. You will improve; just have faith in yourself.