6 Small Steps to Successful Weight Loss

by Suzanne Hiscock
If you’re caught in a cycle of gaining and losing weight, the approach you’re using might be the wrong one for you.

One of the most common ways for people to lose weight is to go on a diet. And that diet? Is usually a drastic one.

​I bet you've done it before. You try to change all your “bad” eating habits at once.
  • You stop eating your favorite foods.
  • You cut out entire food groups.
  • You eat foods you don’t particularly like
  • You let yourself get so hungry, you want to stuff your face pasta.
I get it.

The problem with this all-or-nothing approach is that the change is too drastic for most people.

You have trouble “sticking” to the diet (not your fault).

You might even be unsure of what you’re doing or you’re full of doubts (again, not your fault).

And then the call of your old lifestyle becomes too strong, leading to failure yet again.

Say it with me, people: not your fault.

There is an entirely different approach that’s been helping 100,000 people lose thousands of pounds over the years.

Forget The All or Nothing Approach

If you have trouble with drastic changes to your diet, the best way to lose weight and be successful at it is to take things one step at a time.

When you change just one small thing into a healthier habit, you find that you don’t feel so deprived -- and you’re more likely to stick with it as a regular habit.

And here’s the real trick: the change you make is one you should be “ready, willing and able” to do.

On a scale of 1 to 10, the change you want to make should be at least a 9 out of 10. That’s right, a 9 or 10. An 8 won’t do.


Ready, Willing and Able Worksheet

Here’s a worksheet you can download to help you turn a change you want to make into a 9 or 10.

Ready, Willing and Able Worksheet

By the way, this is the same kind of worksheet used in my online nutrition coaching program.  Learn more about online nutrition coaching.

Here are some examples of small steps you can take to lose weight.


1. Look at your beverage choices.


If you drink nothing but sugary sodas, coffee, and energy drinks, you may want to take a look at how many calories you’re consuming. These drinks have virtually no nutrition and “cost” you many calories. If you’re not ready to completely give up these types of drinks, try switching to diet or gradually decreasing the number of sugary drinks you have per day. This alone can help you to lose weight.  Ditch or reduce alcohol, too.  Alcohol can stall your weight loss.

See:  Are Your Liquid Calories Making You Gain Weight?
 

2. Exercise 30 minutes, 3 days a week.


While most doctors recommend getting 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day, this can be daunting for people who don’t exercise at all. If you try to do too much at once, you may hurt yourself or get too tired. Instead, take things in small steps—start by exercising just 3 days a week, for example, and work your way up.

See:  How Often Should You Exercise?
 

3. Eat more veggies.


Maybe you’re the type of person that has a burger and fries for lunch and spaghetti for dinner. This doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for your veggies. You should aim to get five servings per day. If you’re not, try gradually sneaking them in—add them to your pizza or make a pasta with lots of veggies. Your taste buds will start to change and you’ll start to want more.

See:  How To Eat More Vegetables to Lose Weight
 

4. Decrease your grains - especially your processed grains.

This is probably where you can make the most progress towards your weight loss goal.  We usually eat too many grain products -- and we rely on them way too much.  How easy is it to pop in in a bagel or a couple of slices of bread in to the toaster.  Or what about cereal for supper?  I bet many of you have done that.

The problem with grains is they're not very nutrient dense.  And if the grains you're eating are processed (Hello, bread!) it can cause a spike in your blood sugar.  And that can translate into cravings.

A breakfast of protein and fat (plus veggies) will get you through the morning without even thinking about a morning snack. So, you end up eating fewer calories -- without being hungry.  And that breakfast will contain more nutrients.  It's much better than, say, toast with jam.

Same with lunch.

Supper time is a good time to add in a bit of grains.  (Another time is after a heavy-hitting workout.)  Grains like bread, pasta, rice should *not* be the star of the show.  A cupped hand is usually all you need.

See:  Learn More About Hand-Size Portions
 

5. Don’t take away your favorite food.


Ah—there’s something you want to hear, right? Undoubtedly, you have some type of favorite food that ends up being “forbidden” when you go on a diet. Because it’s your favorite, you end up craving it and eventually go back to your old ways. You don’t have to give this food up. But you also shouldn’t eat it every day. Plan to eat it, keeping within your calorie deficit, and you won’t feel deprived. 

See:  Making Room for Ice Cream (video)
 

6. Get back on track.


Hey, we all slip up sometimes. That’s a part of life. When some people slip up, however, they stay that way, going back to their old lifestyle. If you overindulge, don’t beat yourself up over it, but also don’t use it as an excuse to keep overeating. Get back on track starting with the next meal.

See:  What do Do After 'Cheating' on your 'Diet'

How to Put This Into Action

  1. Think of a small change you want to make that can help you reach your goals. It doesn’t even have to be about nutrition. It can be anything you want.
  2. Use the Ready, Willing, Able worksheet to score yourself on a scale of 1 to 10.
  3. Break the change down into smaller pieces if you’re not scoring at least a 9  on the scale. (The worksheet helps you do this.) If you’re having a lot of trouble breaking it down to a 9 or 10, go back to Step 1.
  4. Once you score a 9 or 10 for each question, then it’s time to execute! Do whatever you need to do to make this change.

These things are all small things that you can start doing today. By taking things just one step at a time, you’ll find that it is much easier to lose fat and become healthy.

If taking things slow resonates with you, this is how I coach my weight loss clients.  We take things one step at a time.  No quick fixes here!  If you're stuggling on your own, I can help.  Learn more about personal weight loss coaching and what it can do for you:  Personal weight loss coaching with Coach Suzanne.

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About the Author

Suzanne Hiscock is a PN1 Nutrition Coach, ACE-certified Health Coach, as well as an ACE-certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist. For over 16 years, she has been helping people lose weight and get fit through her website, FitWatch.com. Whether it's with one-on-one nutrition coaching, nutrition programs or courses, and tools or calculators, she can help you to eat better, move more and believe in yourself.