How to Make a Weight Loss Routine — and Stick to It

Setting Up a System for Success is Easier Than You Think

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Losing weight is hard. There’s no sugar coating it. No beating around the bush. But if you want to get results, you need to put in the work. And that means showing up day in and day out and doing it.

If you’ve already made the decision to lose weight, you’re past the hardest part. Choosing to start is the biggest obstacle. But once you do, weight loss doesn’t have to be overwhelming. No matter how many pounds you have to lose, setting up the right system will help you accomplish your goals.

Weight Loss Should Be Routine

When you get down to it, weight loss isn’t about dieting. It’s about building new habits to shape a healthier lifestyle. Those habits should carry you, not just through weight loss, but through your whole life.

When people talk about weight loss being a “lifestyle change,” what they really mean is that your habits need to change. You can’t look at weight loss as just a temporary, quick fix. It’s a long-term transformation of your whole way of life.

But before you get too overwhelmed, just remember that all you need to do is switch up your habits.

Habits vs. Willpower

Habits are the things you do every day without thinking. You make the bed in the morning. You brush your teeth. These are habits. It’s part of your way of life. And you can do the same thing with weight loss.

Willpower can only last you so long, and when you rely on it for weight loss, eventually it will run out. But by building habits, you’re building a weight loss routine, and soon those healthy habits will become second nature to you.

Daily Habits for Your Weight Loss Routine

1. Eat breakfast

Are you one of those people who skips breakfast? You’re probably rolling your eyes at me, saying that you’re never hungry in the morning and that by skipping, you’re saving calories. But the truth is skipping breakfast is counterintuitive. Maybe you don’t need to eat breakfast the minute you wake up, but you should start your day off with a healthy meal.

Eating breakfast sets the whole tone for your day. If you wake up, take the time to make a healthy breakfast and eat it, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on the day. Breakfast jump starts your metabolism, helping you to lose weight, and will also give you the energy to continue making healthy choices throughout the day.

2. Drink water

If there’s one thing that’s helped me lose weight the most, it’s water. When I drink a lot of water, my skin is clearer, I’m less bloated and I’m less likely to give in to temptations because my belly is already full of water.

Experts recommend drinking at least eight glasses, or 64 oz of water a day, but I tend to drink more than double this. That’s just what works for me, but you need to find the right amount for yourself. Start with the recommended eight glasses and see how you feel.

I’m lucky because I like drinking water, but if you feel like you’re forcing it, try to think of ways to make drinking water fun. Consider putting your favorite fruits or veggies in your water to flavor it. Get a cute water bottle that you love and carry it with you all the time.

3. Meal prep

Meal prep ideas are all over Pinterest and Instagram, but they can seem super overwhelming. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. The key here is to plan ahead. Each week I plan out what I will eat for each meal. I start by taking a look at what I have in the fridge already, see if there’s any new recipes I want to try, and then make a list of groceries that I’ll need.

Don’t worry about cooking fancy meals or making sure your food looks Instagrammable. Focus on the foods you like and how you can make eating healthy more convenient for you. The point is to build a habit that you can stick to.

One of the foods I tend to prep every week is chicken. I take a huge batch of boneless chicken breasts, season them a bit and cook them on the stove or in the oven. This way, I have chicken ready to go for salads and other meals. Other foods I like to make ahead of time are rice, hard boiled eggs and roasted veggies.

4. Make lunch the night before

This goes along with meal prepping, but one of the biggest tips for weight loss is to pack your lunch the night before. By getting everything ready the night before, you won’t have to scramble to put things together in the morning and you’ll already be prepared with healthy choices for the day. You also won’t be too tempted to order out if you’ve already made yourself a nice healthy lunch.

5. Plan workouts

Along with planning your meals, you should also plan your workouts. Set a goal for the week — maybe you want to exercise three times. Then, look at your schedule and see where you can fit it in. Will you work out in the mornings, afternoons or evenings?

You should also plan what type of exercise you will do. You can’t just walk into the gym and flit from machine to machine on a whim. Make a plan ahead of time to maximize your time there. With a plan, you can get a better workout in less time.

I like going to classes at my gym, especially Zumba, because they’re already at a set time and I won’t have to decide what to do on my own. The class will take me through the workout, and I usually end up working harder than I would’ve on my own.

6. Track and measure

If you only develop one habit from this list, make it this one. Tracking what you eat is so important for weight loss. You may think you’re eating healthy, but if you don’t know how much you’re eating, you won’t lose weight.

I use an app called MyFitnessPal to track the foods I eat every day. You can also use good old pen and paper if you prefer. I also use a scale to weigh my meats and measuring cups to portion out other foods to ensure what I’m tracking is accurate.

Tracking also helps with meal planning. I usually fill out my tracker the day before so that I have a full plan of what I will eat and how much. This keeps me on track and on plan. So if you’re not already doing it, make sure you track, track, track!

Put Your Weight Loss Routine in Action

With these healthy habits, you’ll be able to build a weight loss system that works for you. But remember it doesn’t happen overnight. Focus on building one habit at a time and add more as you go.

If you don’t follow your plan perfectly or you mess up, don’t beat yourself up. Weight loss isn’t about perfection; it’s about making that lifestyle change one step at a time. Your current lifestyle wasn’t developed in a day, so why should your healthy lifestyle?

So starting now, sit down, take out a piece of paper (or the notes app on your phone) and make a plan. Write down what you will do and when. Set goals, choose habits and start building your routine. And with that routine, you’re sure to find weight loss success.

What habits have helped you stick to your weight loss plan? Share in the comments!

For more like this, follow me on Medium or check out my blog, Maria in the Making, today!

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