Weight loss can be hard. Not only is it difficult to lose weight, but it’s also even harder to maintain your ideal weight.
As we get older, it becomes even harder to get rid of excess body weight and belly fat for several reasons. Belly fat is when extra fat accumulates around the stomach and abdomen.
When you have excess body fat, it makes you vulnerable to several health problems.
Research predicts that 50 percent of adults will be obese by 2030. And this makes the problem of weight gain more worrying.
But here comes the good news:
You can take simple actions over time to lose weight and achieve your desired weight. It will require disciple though. And like most disciplines in the world, there are some helpful rules.
In this article, you’ll learn about the important weight loss rules you should not ignore.
Let’s get started.
1. Don’t start unless you have a goal
Goals always represent the gap between what is and what could be.
If you want to lose weight, ask yourself a simple question: if you achieved your goal, what would success look like?
This project should include some timeline and be realistic as well. You don’t want to set ridiculous fitness goals that will increase your stress.
Examples of how goals can look like:
- Lose 10 pounds in 3 months
- Increase lean muscle by 3 percent in 3 months
- Lose 2.5 percent of body fat in 2.5 months
These are all examples but they illustrate how specific your goal needs to be. So why is it important to identify how success would look like?
You can’t improve what you cannot measure. And it’s certainly why it’s our number one on the weight loss rules list. And so the specificity gives you a good opportunity to improve, and track progress.
Here’s something else:
To be able to close that gap, you will firstly need to have the mindset that losing those pounds is possible. A growth mindset accepts that possibility.
However, if you blame genetics and other factors outside your control and accept that you cannot change your weight, then you have a fixed mindset.
2. Don’t obsess with checking your weight
No matter your fitness goal, keeping track of your progress is critical. The popular saying you cannot improve what you cannot measure rings particularly true.
If your goal is to lose weight, one way to check your progress is to measure how much you weigh.
But you don’t have to obsess every single hour or minute about checking your weight. Make it a point to only check your weight once a week, preferably at the same time.
In general, weighing yourself, right after you wake up is ideal.
This is because if you wait during your waking hours, your bodyweight could fluctuate dramatically. Especially based on your intake of water or other fluids.
3. Don’t underestimate metabolism
One of the cardinal rules of weight loss is working with your metabolism – not against it. Let me explain.
Metabolism is the process by which our bodies convert what we eat and drink to energy.
Our bodies constantly depend on this process to keep functioning, even when we’re resting. Think about it, even at rest, your body still needs to breathe, circulate blood, grow, and repair cells.
The amount of calories you need for these life-dependent activities is called the basal metabolic rate. This rate varies based on your age, sex, and body type.
When your metabolic rate is high, you’re able to convert food to energy faster. And that, in turn, helps you lose weight, feel refreshed and healthier.
4. Don’t ignore sleep
Contrary to what people think, you can’t catch on sleep. If you’re compromising your sleep quality, your health ends up paying for it.
Poor sleep and sleep deprivation make you more vulnerable to diseases and bad decisions.
In one study, researchers enrolled 12 men and only allowed them 4 hours of sleep. This sleep deprivation caused them to eat an average of 559 more calories the next day.
Sleep deprivation increases appetite. When not checked, raging appetite can lead to making bad food choices.
In another study, researchers investigated reduced sleep and weight gain in women. The researchers observed 60,000 non-obese nurses over 16 years.
The findings were compelling.
Nurses who slept five hours or less each night were 15 percent more likely to be obese than those who had at least seven hours of sleep.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, consider making little changes to help you sleep better at night. For example, keep a regular sleep schedule or even adjust your sleeping position.
5. Don’t forget to exercise
Several studies have linked regular exercise to weight loss.
Exercise increases our energy expenditure by increasing our metabolic rate. Intense exercises are really helpful in this case.
When your exercises are intense, you burn calories faster within a short period.
A study published in the Journal of Core Strength and Conditioning Research weighed the number of calories burnt when performing 30 minutes each of HIIT, weight training, running, and biking.
6. Don’t ignore hydration
A study in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research suggests that drinking increases the thermogenic effect.
This effect that helps to produce heat in the body increases metabolism.
The researchers observed 50 overweight female participants for eight weeks. The participants drank 500 ml of water, three times a day.
The finding showed a significant decrease in body weight, body mass index, and body composition.
Also, researchers in Switzerland reported a link between water and energy expenditure.
They found that drinking cold and room temperature water increases energy expenditure. This enhances thermogenic effects. All this helps to increase your metabolism.
7. Don’t compare your weight with others
Remember that we all have different body types. And it’s okay to understand your body type and love your body, even as you continue to work toward the weight you want.
As an example, assume that you have a mesomorphic body type. This means you have a natural larger body frame.
It doesn’t make sense for you to compare yourself with an ectomorph. An ectomorph is more likely to have a leaner body frame.
Avoid comparison with photoshopped models. Or people you see on social media who may have completely different body types from you.
Love your body and also embrace the challenge to be the better version of yourself.
8. Don’t forget to track what you eat
Did I already mention you cannot improve what you can’t measure? Of all the weight loss rules, this is what will help you track your progress.
A key part of measuring is tracking. If you’re serious about weight loss, you’ll need to make an effort to keep a log of what kinds of food and how many calories you eat.
I use the app Lifesum to log all my meals for the day. But there are lots of these apps around and you can find one that works for you.
9. Don’t forget to move
Weight gain can occur as a result of living a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting in the office all day and sitting at home on the sofa all night doesn’t help.
Instead, find every opportunity to move your body.
Instead, find every opportunity to move your body. Standing is a good option. It helps reduce that occurrence as it burns a lot of calories while doing so.
10. Don’t ignore small wins
Find time to celebrate small wins. This is perhaps the most important of all the weight loss rules. Here’s why.
The part of our brain responsible for changing our moods based on substances is dopamine. Dopamine is critical in rewarding our actions.
If you want to achieve your ultimate weight loss goal, find small milestones. And pair those milestones with a reward.
For example, let’s say your overall goal is to lose 10 pounds. Small milestones will be every time you lose 2 pounds. When that happens, reward yourself with something you like. Maybe even a cheat meal.
Over time, you’re conditioned to associate the reward with achieving incremental small milestones and wins.
If you not losing weight even after exercising regularly, try this reward system to change your mindset.
There are 3 things to be mindful of when choosing the reward:
- Convenient. Choose a reward with close enough proximity. A reward too far out becomes less attractive.
- Affordable. Choose a reward you can afford. The goal is to be able to sustain this habit over time. Expensive rewards can drain your wallet over time. Nobody wants an expensive habit.
- Sustainable. does the reward have a positive effect on the long run? Think 3 to 5 years from now. If you can sustain that paired reward and habit, skip it.