articles

Top 7 Tips a Weight Loss Coach Would Tell You

top_7_tips_a_weight_loss_coach_would_tell_you_06.09.15What would happen if you gathered a group of nutrition, fitness and weight loss experts together and asked them for their most essential tips?

Together they’ve guided thousands of people through their weight loss and transformation journeys. They’ve witnessed the ups and downs of the process. They’ve tested “book knowledge” against real results. What do you think they’ve learned along the way?

Join seven of our Flourish writers as they share their best strategies for maximizing your success around nutrition, exercise, lifestyle and motivation!

“Make peace with imperfection.” – Paul Kriegler, Corporate RD

You’ll mess up, and you should expect to. The path from today to your finish line is a windy, troublesome, character-building and patience-testing excursion. But, man, that finish line will feel amazing!

The road to success will not be a linear course full of sunshine, butterflies, and unicorns. Sometimes you’ll have fun, and your daily journey will seem ridiculously easy.

Most often, however, your focus and progress can only be earned with a good plan and great execution. Note: there’s a big difference between great execution and flawless implementation. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and your environment as you figure out a new way of living.

The name of this game is progress, not perfection. If you expect to be imperfect, you’ll experience continual motivation with each small sign of progress. You’ll celebrate every second you exceed your expectations and never sweat the moments you stray slightly off the saintly path.

“Challenge yourself to try one new recipe each week.” – Samantha Bielawski, RD

You’ve made the decision to move in the direction of your health and fitness goals. You’re going to give up the junk. If it’s in a box, bag, or package and has ingredients you don’t know or recognize, it’s out. You’re officially on track toward a diet of whole, unprocessed and life-giving foods!

Your excitement and determination are high…until you’re left with the inevitable question: now what do I eat?

While it might sound simplistic, commit to trying one new and fun recipe that fits your healthy way of life objectives each week. Really commit to it.

While steak kabobs and stir fry are great, how long can one person (or family) do plain meat and veggies alone? Get creative, and try out zucchini spaghetti made with a spiralizer, cupcakes made with almond and coconut flour and stevia, or homemade fruited gelatin for a refreshing dessert.

There are loads of delicious, seemingly sinful choices out there that are surprisingly aligned with healthy eating. (Just be ready to find some ingredients or kitchen gadgets you aren’t used to – yet!) The commitment to experimentation now will offer increasing variety that will keep your new way of eating sustainable and enjoyable for the long term.

“The best exercise program is one that you can stick to in the toughest of times.” – Mitchell Keyes, Sr. Program Manager, Life Time Training

You’ll hit roadblocks, no doubt. When devising a weight loss exercise plan, set yourself up for success by making the routine dependent on very few variables. Your exercise plan may even just focus on basic movement or activity for starters.

I’ve had clients fail all too often because they’ve given themselves little to no chance to succeed from the very beginning.

You might start out ambitious, saying “I’m going to work out every day this week!” But then you have to work late on Tuesday, there’s terrible traffic on Thursday, and now you feel like you’ve failed.

Instead, try something like this: “Each day this week, I’m going to be active for 15 minutes.” You should define what being “active” means to you. Is it going for a walk on your break, or is it just completing some of your more active chores or work around the house? You can be active anywhere – work, school, home, etc.

Reframing your vision this way lets you win no matter what obstacle inserts itself this week. From there, you can build off the small victories you achieve and grow your confidence each day.

“Focus on the positives” – Cindi Lockhart, Sr. Manager of Health and Nutrition Coaching

All too often while attempting to lose weight, we focus on our frustrations that the scale isn’t budging.

What we forget to enjoy is the journey we are on and the awareness of all the wonderful health perks that are popping up as we improve our nutrition and lifestyle habits.

Our energy is stabilizing, we don’t have the energy crash mid-afternoon anymore, we’re sleeping better, our skin is more radiant, our mood is happier, we’re looking better in our clothes (suggesting that inches are melting off even if our muscle gain keeps the scale stable).

I encourage you to monitor and journal about all these factors while attempting weight loss – energy, mood, sleep, body fat %, and body circumferences (you just need a flexible tape measure). All of these improvements indicate that our metabolism is getting stronger, which means we are getting healthier from the inside, which will inevitably lead to successful weight and body fat loss in time. We just need to be patient and enjoy the journey.

“Track your program.” – Corey Grenz, Personal Trainer

When people ask me for strategies around both fitness and weight loss, one of the most important tips I recommend is tracking/journaling. Whether you use a spiral bound notebook, an Excel spreadsheet or a smart phone app, recording allows you to decipher what is working or not working for you along the course of your weight loss journey.

Ideally, apply it to both nutrition and workouts. If you’re happy with the progress associated with your current practices, keep doing what you’re doing.

If your progress stalls or isn’t what you’d like, make an appropriate change. Either way, you have the information you need to gauge your specific efforts and their impact on success over time.

Tracking might be the simplest tool for fitness success, but very people use it.

“Focus on ‘adding in’ instead of ‘taking out’.” – Becca Hurt, Program Manager, LTWL

Too often in our weight loss journeys we get caught up in a negative outlook – cutting out the food we shouldn’t be eating, not seeing the number on the scale go down, not exercising enough, etc.

Why not turn that thinking around and focus on just a few simple, daily behaviors that can positively impact your weight loss journey?

There are a few key factors that you should focus on regardless of your health or weight loss goal: increasing vegetable intake, including protein at every meal, ensuring adequate water intake, and moving more.

As you focus on adding these behaviors into your day, the other not-so-healthy foods and habits will gradually be crowded out. Instead of harping on all of the things that you need to eliminate from your diet or quit doing in your day, apply that attention to fostering more positive habits.

Let the good choices you “add in” take care of what you’d like to “take out.” You’ll be healthier and less stressed as a result!

“Take advantage of support in all its forms: structure, relationships and resources.” – Jennifer Wannen, Content Manager, LTWL

No matter what your goal, behavior change requires ongoing sources of support.

Instead of assuming your job is to make long-term success happen right out of the box, try a different approach. Imagine that your job is to each day put in place all the structures and supports that will make it happen. Focus every day on setting yourself up for success.

This includes assembling a structure of daily practices that best encourage your nutritional, fitness and lifestyle goals (e.g. leaving time in the morning to pack your snacks and lunch, taking short movement breaks throughout your day, setting an alarm to go to bed on time).

It also means putting yourself in contact with supportive people and messages every day. Encouragement comes from many corners. Become a regular in one (or more) of our fitness classes. Buddy up for a workout or two each week. Talk to your club staff as well as other members. Get to know people at the gym, which will help you feel more at home.

Engage with members and staff at special events and on our LTWL blog and Facebook page. Take advantage ofFlourish content, LTWL success stories and other encouraging, informative resources that can offer you additional ideas and inspiration for your journey.

Invest yourself in the belief that you can do this today – and that you deserve every support possible along the way!

Thanks for reading, everyone. Would you like more tips and support for your weight loss journey? Talk with one of our registered dietitians or fitness professionals today.

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.