Creating an Effective Weight Loss Plan

It happens all too often. A few extra treats after dinner, or a few extra glasses of wine, combined with a couple of missed workouts result in a couple of extra pounds. Without realising, the extra treats continue and the workouts dwindle, leaving you having to buy outfits two sizes larger. It is all too easy to become complacent and just accept the weight gain as something that happens to everybody. Without combating those few extra pounds or stones, you're setting yourself up for a myriad of lifelong illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease and joint problems. It can often seem like you are powerless to combat your sudden weight gain, but a simple thought process will empower you and enable you to change your life for good.

Before you can begin to embark on a weight loss journey, you must first identify what caused you to gain weight in the first place. A relatively simple way to do this is by keeping a food diary for a set period of a week or two. By jotting down every morsel of food that enters your mouth, along with the calorie content and the time of day you consumed it, you will be able to easily identify your eating patterns. For instance, gorging on sweets and ice cream after a tough day at work could indicate that you are an emotional eater, whereas a late night binge could confirm that you do not eat enough during the day. No matter how bad the diary may seem, do not be disheartened, and continue with the food journal for your target duration.

Once you are armed with your food journal, you will be able to combat your problem areas. If you find yourself eating too many takeaway or microwave meals, find ways to create healthy, homemade alternatives. There are a wide variety of online recipe sites that will allow you to experiment with your favourite foods, or you could borrow a recipe and nutrition book from the library. The key to this succeeding is to clear out your cupboards and head to the supermarket to stock up on low cost, low calories ingredients for your new found love of the kitchen.

Incorporating healthier foods into your diet is the best place to start, but it will not allow you to achieve the best possible results. In order to do this, you will need to begin an exercise programme to fit into your lifestyle. There are a multitude of exercises that you can take up to help you shift those stubborn pounds, but it is vital that you choose the right one for you. If you take up a programme that doesn't easily suit your ability or lifestyle, you are much more likely to become discouraged and quit without seeing any changes.

A busy stay at home mother could start an exercise programme simply by taking her children to the playground and joining in with them. If you have a dog, you'll have a built in personal trainer who will enable you to go on extensive walks several times a week. If you fit into neither of these groups, consider a gym membership, where you will be given the option to speak to a qualified gym instructor who could help you plan a programme. However, if you don't have the funds available to join a gym, or it's not your kind of hangout, there are also options available to you. Check online for reviews of exercise DVDs and pop one in and workout in your living room. Alternatively, head outdoors and pound the pavements with your own, personalised running programme. Whichever routine you settle on, it is vital to ensure that you arm yourself with the correct equipment to prevent injury, and aim for five thirty minute workouts per week.

Now that you have both a healthier diet and effective exercise programme in place, it's time to spread the news. Informing your friends and family that you're trying to make a change for life is one of the best things you can do. It will enable you to receive vital support and encouragement from those nearest and dearest to you, and it will also hold you accountable if you take a week or two off from your new regime. If you would prefer to share your journey with people outside of your inner circle, consider joining a group such as WeightWatchers, or sign up to the many weight loss forums online. Having someone joining you on the journey is much more likely to keep you motivated and will give you the required support.

If you find you are not losing too much weight at first, do not despair. Simply take measurements of your main body parts and measure these fortnightly to truly see your progress. In addition to this, try not to weigh yourself daily, as weight can naturally fluctuate by a few pounds every day. Set a day and time every week to weigh yourself and stick to it. Keep a record of your weight and inch losses, and you'll soon become amazed at your changing physique and health. Losing weight is much more than a quick fix. It is going to take time and dedication to see results but if you stick at it, you will see results that stick around.

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