Listen up: there’s no such thing as one ideal weight. Yours will depend on a myriad of factors, including your hormone levels, current weight, height and body frame, medical conditions and more. If you and your doctor have determined that it’s best for you to part ways with 50 pounds or more, though, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed.
If 50 pounds is your goal, the road ahead is going to be bumpy at times, sure, but the destination will be so worth the trip. Not only will you be slimmer and fitter, you’ll also be at significantly less risk for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and many of the other not-so-great byproducts of being obese or overweight.
As with any great adventure, this journey begins with a roadmap. Use these nine tips from fitness trainers and weight-loss experts to navigate the ups and downs, roadblocks and victories that you’ll experience along the journey to being 50 pounds lighter.
As the old saying goes, you didn’t gain the 50 pounds overnight, so don’t expect it to disappear in a flash. Instead of focusing on the total amount, which can be overwhelming to say the least, take it one pound at a time.
Sarah Ann Kelly, fitness trainer with Mom Trainer, recommends shedding no more than one to two pounds per week for safe, sustainable weight loss. “Keep in mind that you will likely see the most weight loss in the first couple of weeks, and it will get harder as you get fitter,” Kelly says. “Try not to get frustrated, but make adjustments as needed.”
And don’t be seduced by the drastic and immediate results you see on reality shows—in most cases, those participants have a lot of weight to lose and are under strict medical supervision. In the real world, trying to shed major pounds in an abbreviated timeframe is a recipe for gaining it back later, or even jeopardizing your health.
“Slow weight loss is sustainable weight loss,” says fitness trainer Julia Buckley. “You can’t, and shouldn’t try, to reach your goal weight in a matter of weeks, or even months. Once your body adjusts to your new lifestyle, the weight will come off. It’s not a race.”
Find an inspirational mentor.
Any tough endeavor becomes easier with a support system. Try to find a friend who is just as committed to exercise and nutrition as you’ll need to be to reach your weight-loss goal. “I highly recommend reaching out to someone who is in the same boat as you, even if they have less [weight] to lose,” says Kelly. “You’ll need someone to help if you’re feeling stuck, and you can help them stay on track, as well.”
Ideally, try to choose a supporter who can also serve as an ongoing source of inspiration. For instance, if you’ve always admired a co-worker’s dedication to her lunchtime workouts and healthy prepped lunches, a fitness instructor’s motivational pep talks or even a celebrity’s uplifting social media posts, make them a daily positive influence—while keeping in mind that they may have different goals and fitness levels.
Know exactly what you’re eating.
A bite of your son’s macaroni and cheese here, a sip of a milkshake there—all of those extra calories add up over the course of a day, week and month. Nutrition coach Kristy Stabler suggests using an online food tracker or smartphone app to log everything you eat and drink for seven days to get a clear picture of your normal intake. Take care to note snacks and “just a nibble” items, too—soon you may notice a pattern developing, and you can use that knowledge as you plan your next move.
“Once you know what your maintenance diet looks like, you can choose a direction to go for weight loss,” she says. “Yes, I know, logging your food is no fun, but if losing 50
pounds is your goal, this is a must.”