Here is a guide of tried and tested habit-based change to get yourself started losing weight and getting healthy, without fad diets. Hooray!
These habits work! There is a lot of focus on what you eat and think because these will give you the most leverage at the start. 70% of your results will come from what you choose to put into your body. 30% of your results will come from your activity. 100% control over what you choose to eat or do is in your MIND.
Why you MUST start small
It is critical to start with small habits that you think are almost too easy, so that you begin building your faith in your own ability to DO what you say you will do. You need to build the habit of keeping promises to yourself.
If you have struggled with your weight, you probably have a long history of making big promises to yourself and then flaking out on them shortly after. Pick one habit and master it for a MONTH, before moving on to the next one. Yes, it seems slow, but the motivation and results will very quickly snowball. You’ve tried to change everything all in one go and it hasn’t worked, right?
This method is meant to change your habits slowly, so you can integrate them into your natural lifestyle, without feeling like you are making a massive change or doing a diet. When you are focusing on the one habit, only focus on that, forget about the rest. Bookmark this page or print off the habits for later.
Crowd out, not kick out.
All of the habits will focus on things you can DO. This is not about stopping you from doing what you want to do, rather training you in better options so that when you have the choice between a Mars bar and some nuts and an apple, you have the experience of knowing which one feels better, so you can make an informed choice. Deprivation feels like a chore. We want to make building a healthy lifestyle, easy, fun and enjoyable. It should build you UP, not tear you down!
Beginner Tasks – to get you started.
- Take a before photo. Take your waist, hip, bust, thigh and arm measurements.
- Create a health motivation mantra. Something that inspires you that you can repeat to yourself whenever doubt strikes. Use it relentlessly, all the time, something like “I can do it. I choose health and happiness!”
- Find a group of online motivation and mentoring that you like to learn from and keep you inspired.
- Set your goal and visualise it clearly. Create a vision board in your room or a screensaver for your computer and use it for inspiration.
- Write at least 100 reasons why you want to achieve this goal. What will it do for you? How will it improve all the areas of your life that you really care about?
Beginner Habits – Build your healthy lifestyle.
- Read and visualise your goal daily. Look at your vision board every day to remind you where you’re headed.
- Take a multivitamin & 10 grams of fish oil per day.
- Drink 2L of water each day. 8 glasses. You are thirstier than you think you are.
- Shop for healthy, whole food each week. Have or find healthy food options in your house and work every day.
- Eat breakfast every day.
- Eat lunch every day.
- Eat dinner every day.
- Eat 2 green vegetables with your lunch and dinner.
- Prepare a large green salad on the Sunday night for your lunches.
- Eat a green rainbow salad each day. At least 3-4 different colours.
- Do 5 mins of activity each weekday.
- Build up to 20 mins of activity each weekday. Exercise DVD, walk around the block, swim, sport or activity that you enjoy, (or at least don’t hate). Anything that gets you puffing.
- Learn 1 new healthy recipe, cook it each week.
- Eat mostly whole foods.
- Sleep a least 7 hours per night.
- Do some deep breathing exercises daily. 3 deep, slow breaths morning and night is a good start.
- Slow down your eating.
- Stop eating at 80% full.
DO NOT: Count your calories. Start a strict diet. Try and cut out all of your favourite foods. Attempt to lose 20 kgs in 3 months. Join a gym (yet). Do not buy or take weight loss shakes, pills or fat burning supplements. They are a waste of money, and you are not ready for the very few that work. Do not change anything more than this until you have mastered ALL of these habits.
It doesn’t matter what breakfast, lunch or dinner at first. Just make sure you’re eating regularly. If you already do one of the habits above regularly without thinking about it, awesome, just move on to the next one. Remember one habit, per month!! Master it before moving to the next one.
Intermediate Habits – to burn that fat and ramp up your results.
Keep doing all the beginner habits, and add in these…
- Measure your progress against your goal. Celebrate having mastered ALL of the above habits. You will be many months into your program now, and you will have already achieved some great results!!
- Eat some carbs, protein & fat with every meal. Breakfast might be oatmeal, full fat yoghurt & berries. Lunch might be a green salad and salmon, or a salad sandwich with cheese. Dinner 3 veggies & some meat, egg, tofu or beans.
- Record what you eat, no need to measure, just write it ALL down in a journal.
- Eat 5 at least 5 servings of veggies each day.
- Carry healthy snacks in your handbag & desk at work for hunger strikes, almonds, apples, cheese, celery & carrot sticks are all good for this.
- Eat 1-2 small snacks per day. 11am & 3pm are great times for a healthy snack.
- Increase your activity to 30 – 60 minutes 5 times per week.
- Vary your activities to include 1 day or more of strength training & at least 1 day of yoga, pilates or stretching. Now you can join a gym or get a program from a personal trainer, after at least 2-3 months of doing some basic activity 5 times per week.
- Each month vary your activities slightly, try a new class, learn some new moves, get a new program from your PT. Keep yourself interested and your body guessing.
- Weigh and measure yourself once a week only, to track your progress.
- Learn how to make healthy versions of ALL your favourite foods. Pizza, pies, quiche, lasagne, fish and chips, chocolate truffle balls can all be made in healthy versions. Learn how to make the stuff you like.
Advanced Habits – to get you lean and buff.
- Celebrate that you’ve already lost the majority of your body fat, you are a freaking legend!! Give yourself a pat on the back, I bet you’re feeling awesome.
- Get a DEXA scan to measure your body fat accurately and get a specific reading of how many calories you need to eat to get to your ideal weight, maintaining your muscle mass.
- Reassess your goal and write 100 more reasons why you want to get lean, fit, and reach your ultimate health goals. Discover your reasons that go beyond how you look and feel, that really make you choke up with emotion, and get you fired up with your vision for what’s possible.
- Read up on nutrition and training to get lean while maintaining muscle mass with health industry leaders like Charles Poliquin, Tom Venuto & Dr John Berardi
- Talk to a dietician, nutritionist or exercise scientist who has achieved themselves the kind of results you want to achieve to get a tailored eating program for your lifestyle and goals.
- Follow their program, measure your portions, count your calories, keep a food diary, get really specific.
- Measure your results weekly.
- Adjust your program to ensure you are moving towards your goal.
- Get a personal training session from a trainer who has achieved the results you want to achieve at least once per week to ensure you are training at the right intensity to get the results you are after.
I hope this habit based program of tips will help you to know where to focus your energy and what will get you moving from overweight and stuck, to lean, buff, and feeling awesome.
If you need any help with self-sabotage or you really just loathe your body and can’t stand the idea of doing just one small change, please get my Kickstart Program, or book yourself in for some Transformation Sessions, that is a mindset problem that you need to sort out first.