Today is Part 6 in our multi-part blog about strategies to kickstart your weight loss journey.
1 Shift your mindset
2 Create a supportive environment
3 Prioritize Self Care
4 Increase Output
5 Decrease Input
6 Self Monitor/Track Progress
Another great way to jump-start your weight loss journey is pretty simple! You need to schedule your perfect routine, monitor your behaviour, and track your success. It is so important that we all hold ourselves accountable to our own behaviour. We all must own our behaviour.
Ask yourself: How do I lose weight or reach my fitness goals if I have no idea what I am doing each day? And if you don’t really know what you are doing, how can you possibly know if it is working? We can’t make progress if we are totally unaware!
1. Schedule and Track Attendance
To lose weight or change your body composition and lead a healthy life you must prioritize certain behaviours like exercise, healthy eating, sleep, stress management, and daily movement. It isn’t easy, but it is necessary! You must prioritize you. I’ve said this many times before, you need to schedule it in your calendar. Treat your wellness tasks like important appointments and keep track of your attendance. When you complete the wellness task, you can mark it off the list and have a record of your accomplishment.
Your wellness routine is such an important part of your all-round health so why not treat it as important as other things you do put in your calendar. When you need to reschedule, make room somewhere else in your weekly calendar. Don’t just delete it.
Research has shown that self-monitoring is associated with better exercise adherence and improved fitness outcomes. In my Ph.D. dissertation, for example, I ran a walking program for sedentary inactive adults. Those participants who self-monitored walked more and had better outcomes, like improved decreased BMI and aerobic fitness.
2. Self-Monitor and Track your Behaviour
You should also consider tracking other variables related to your health and fitness. This information will help you to learn more about yourself and your behaviour and be more self-aware. Awareness is necessary for change.
Ask yourself, what did I eat, or drink a few days ago? Do you remember in any detail? I know I don’t unless I have tracked in My Fitness Pal. Generally, we aren’t very good at this. We can often really underestimate our intake and miss out on our extra trips to the fridge for a snack or our second servings of dinner. So, it can be a really eye-opening experience to simply track your food intake, even if it is just for a few weeks to learn more about yourself and make adjustments.
Although some people track their food religiously (calories and macros), I personally fluctuate between times where I do and times where I don’t weight and track depending on my goals. If you have strong nutrition habits and you want to up your game, flexible eating (IF IT FITS YOUR MACROS) where you weigh your food and track your macros and calories is the way to go. But it isn’t necessary if you haven’t mastered basic nutrition skills! Start simple and consider calorie and macro counting down the road. Instead, unless you are an elite athlete or figure competitor, track your behaviour for a few weeks or so to learn more about your behaviour.
The degree to which you should track depends greatly on your goals, preferences, and personality. Tracking doesn’t mean you must take photos, measurements or jump on the scale every day, but it can be useful to do so periodically through your transformation or fitness journey. There is no need to promote obsessive behaviour if you know you have a tendency to go in this direction.
However, to truly make change in your life, you need to know what you are doing. Are you aware of those handfuls of nuts you munch on every time you pass by the pantry? Did you know you only slept for 7-8 hours 1 night last week? Did you realize you didn’t drink any water yesterday? At some level, you need to monitor your behaviours, mood, energy level and maybe, body composition measures (photos, weight) to now where you are at and where you need to go.
- Food Journaling or Tracking Eating in an App like My Fitness Pal
- Measuring weight or taking measurements and photos
- Tracking behaviours like sleep, workouts, physical activity, meditation, etc
- Wearing an activity monitor, like a Fitbit or Apple Watch.
- Monitoring other non-fitness related outcomes like mood, energy, stress, etc.
Use tracking to guide your journey and figure out what is and isn’t working. Or better yet consider hiring an expert coach to guide you through your journey.
Do you have concerns about life being cut short or being made difficult by poor health or disability? Do you struggle with managing your weight? Do you have pain that limits your ability to complete your everyday activities? Dealing with chronic health conditions, pain, or being overweight/obese can be taxing; adding a fitness routine and healthy lifestyle changes to your life may seem impossible. However, we have Kinesiologists and Exercise Physiologists that specialize in working with clients who are challenged with dealing with pain and with chronic diseases, like hypertension, diabetes, cancer, MS, arthritis and obesity; we help individuals with chronic disease safely incorporate exercise and other healthy habits into their lives. We help individuals improve their health and fitness, have more energy, limit their pain, improve their quality of life, take their lives back and have fun doing so.