Want to lose weight? Planning is everything.
There are so many quotes about the importance of planning:
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
“A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
That last quote is my favorite, because it’s so true!
In this post I will give you some ideas on how to plan to lose weight. You can also download my free printable daily planner to help you plan your days.
I already wrote a little bit about the importance of planning in Lose weight – just do it, but here is a list of things you can do to plan your weight loss:
1. Think about your framework
First you need to think about your framework. What can you do at this point in your life to lose weight? Be realistic and ambitious at the same time. If you know in your heart that you will not have time – and won’t be able to make time – for gym everyday, do not plan to do so. On the other hand, if you have a family to feed and worry about the kids not eating vegetables, this is where you can be a bit more ambitious. Choose to make a healthier diet for the whole family a part of your weight loss plan. Summertomato has come up with a great list of ways to get kids to eat more vegetables.
2. Choose a method
Now that you’ve got your current situation figured out you can choose how you plan to lose weight. You have several options, you can:
- Choose a weight loss program
- Decide to start counting the calories
- Become more active by adding exercise
Choose a weight loss program
There are several weight loss programs to choose from. I just started Whole30 again and can recommend it, have a look at my results. The good thing about a weight loss program is that some of the planning has already been made for you. The program has probably a list of foods that are allowed and instructions on how often and how much you should eat.
Decide to start counting the calories
This is another great option, especially if you don’t want to restrict your diet too much. In my opinion though you have to keep your carbohydrates low or moderate in order to lose weight even when counting calories.
Become more active by adding exercise
If you do not want to change your diet then it is possible to lose weight by simply adding more exercise. It is important to remember that if your diet is poor then no amount of exercise will help you lose weight. If however your diet is OK (in which case you probably do not have a lot of weight to lose), you have been a total couch potato and you are willing to add a lot of exercise to your days then you certainly will lose weight as you add exercise. Slowly, but surely. It is important to notice though that adding exercise will probably also make you hungrier.
Whatever method you choose, you have to be specific about it:
- If you choose a weight loss program, decide how long you’ll follow it for (for example 30 days, 2 months, 6 months)
- If you count the calories, set yourself specific calorie goals
- If you decide to add exercise, don’t decide to just be more active, be specific: I will walk to work and back home each week day from now on, whatever the weather.
3. Plan your goals and track your way there
Now it’s time to plan your goal. It is OK to think of your weight loss journey the same way as companies build their business plan 🙂 Vision, strategy, values etc. There’s a reason businesses do it, to be successful! We plan to triumph as well.
Think about your ultimate goal, your vision, for a moment. Write that down. I’ve started my beach body project and I’ve got my ultimate goal set for next summer. Be realistic about the schedule. Don’t plan to lose 20 kg/44 pounds in 2 months.
Now think about mini goals that will lead to that big goal. Don’t be discouraged if you won’t make it to your weekly or monthly goals, look at the big picture. Progress, not perfection!
Ok, now you have a vision (goal) and a strategy (how you plan to do it). Now it’s time to measure and monitor your progress. Read more about this on how you can document your weight loss.
4. Find the tools and motivation
There are a lot of tools out there that will help you when it comes to weight loss. You can download daily planners (there’s one template for you at the end of this post), purchase a diet or exercise journal or use online trackers such as SparkPeople or MyFitnessPal. They both have a lot of additional information about nutrition, exercise and weight loss, and active message boards for inspiration and motivation.
Internet is full of success stories and before and after pictures if you want to get tips from other people, how they have done it.
Also look for motivation within yourself. Take a look at your own before pictures and take new ones. Documenting the weight loss and seeing progress is a great way to motivate yourself.
5. Plan daily to lose weight
Planning to lose weight isn’t only about planning before you start the weight loss journey, it’s about planning daily.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Make a grocery list and stick to it. Only make exceptions if you see delicious looking vegetables that you simply have to buy 🙂 This is good for your diet – and your budget.
- Plan your meals beforehand – either a day before or already on Sunday for the coming week.
- Prepare your meals beforehand – for example you can cook your lunches already on Sunday for the coming week.
- Write or track down all that you eat if you count the calories, every bite counts.
- Plan your exercise and when you do it. Write it down in your calendar/planner.
- Keep only healthy food in your fridge and pantry.
- Have healthy snacks with you in your hand bag for emergency snacking.
- If your weight loss program allows it, have a cheat meal a week. This way it will be easier to fight the temptations during the week.
- If you slip – eat something you shouldn’t have eaten or skip exercise – get over it. Don’t punish yourself by skipping the next meal or by thinking that you have failed. You haven’t. Just jump right back to your program.
- Plan your portion sizes. Plate it and eat it, don’t go for seconds.
6. Reward good work
Reward yourself when you’ve done well and/or achieve your (mini) goals. Buy something you like and have wanted for a while: a movie, a new dress, a massage. Plan something really big for when you reach your ultimate goal like a dream vacation.
Using a diary, calendar or printable daily planner is a great way to plan and structure your days. Not only are they great help when it comes to weight loss, they are wonderful tools in planning other areas of life as well. It all supports weight loss: when life is better organized in general, it is easier to make good choices when it comes to diet and exercise.
Here’s your free daily planner: