10 Tips on How to Get that Diet Started!

Now the year has started and the holiday festivities are slowing losing momentum (at least until the Chinese New Year) let’s all start the year out being fit and healthy! A lot of people start the year with a resolution to lose some weight and be healthy. It often works for a couple months and then somehow the goal gets lost amidst all the work and whatever life brings us and we end the year having gained weight rather than having lost weight. That was me for probably more than a decade or so. No more. It still feels surreal having lost 15kg (32 lbs). This time last year, I was still working on my last few kgs. Wow.

This year, for the first time, my goal is to just maintain my weight and I tell you it feels WONDERFUL. It’s amazingly less stress and I don’t have to start the year with a guilty feeling knowing I didn’t make it happen last year and so I have to do it again this year. I can move on with my life and work on other goals.

Yes, it feels good. And I want everyone to feel good. So I urge anyone whose goal this year is to lose weight, to MAKE IT HAPPEN and have a NEW Life.

Here are some basic tips to get started:

1. Buy a weigh scale: Don’t be in denial about your weight. Weigh yourself everyday and face the facts. It also helps you understand how much eating, and exercise affects your weight.

2. Get a calendar and plan out your exercise routine: The most effective weightloss routine for me was running in intervals. Walk 5 min warm up, run 3 minutes fast, walk 3 minutes. Alternate like this 4 times. After a week or so, increase the speed and the number of minutes.

3. Keep a food diary. A lot of people tell me, “I don’t eat that much and I exercise three times a week, but how come I don’t lose weight?” When I start digging in and ask them about what foods they eat, a sudden realization comes.. They do eat a lot.

4. Drink lots of water: Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger. Common belief is to have at least a liter a day. Before I was always dehydrated and my body went into “starvation mode.” It stored water for later use. When I started drinking, I started losing weight. It might involve many trips to the bathroom, but after awhile you will find yourself drinking more and visiting the loo less frequently.

5. Cut down on sugar: Sugar slows down your metabolism! Avoid it! If you must, have some carbs instead.

6. Take the stairs: If you need to contact someone a few floors up or down, take the stairs. It keeps you active and it helps preserve the world’s energy. It’s a win win situation! Every little calorie counts!

7. Make your goal PUBLIC! Once you start announcing the fact that you are dieting to everyone, you will feel pressured to make it succeed. It really works, trust me. It also lets friends understand you when you have to forgo that delicious but unhealthy lunch of burgers and fries.

8. Plan your meals: If you know you are having a big dinner party you can’t get out of tomorrow. Make sure you eat light the day before and get your exercise before the meal and make sure you exercise AFTER. This way you can be sure you don’t pack on the pounds after that party.

9. Portion control: Eat delicious food, but have small portions. If you are craving for some chocolate, have dark and don’t have an entire bar. If you crave some pasta, have some, but don’t over indulge. This made my diet sustainable. I could not completely forgo eating foods I love, but I would not let it stop me from reaching my goal either. Have milestones and reward yourself with little treats, but don’t have it all the time and every day.

10. Remember it’s only for a few months: Remind yourself that you only have to be strictly disciplined for a few months. It might sound awful having to restrict what you eat and exercise, but hey, after you reach your goal your life is SIGNIFICANTLY better. Maintaining your weight is much much easier!! I’d rather suffer for a few months than suffer the rest of my life with weight problems!

Also make sure that you lose weight healthily. That means roughly 2kgs (1lb) per month. It’s not much, but its better to go slowly but surely. Little by little, keep it sustainable and keep it going! This year is your year to be healthy and FIT! You are doing it for YOU, for YOURSELF and no one else. It’s the greatest gift you can give yourself 🙂

I hope this helps and if any of you successfully lost weight, please share your tips and ideas on how you did it. I’m sure it will be of great help to those dieting.

(Check out my previous posts focusing on weightloss tips which can be found in March and April 2010)

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