How to Lose Weight Gradually
Learn how to lose weight gradually so you can have permanent success and results without hunger or depriving yourself.
I know, you want to lose all your weight, like yesterday! Instead I want to offer how to gradually lose weight and why this might be a better option for you.
I hear you. But let’s get real. Losing weight quickly, usually leads to gaining weight back quickly.
You’ve done it before. Gone on a strict diet, eating foods and in amounts that leave you hungry and dissatisfied. Then you give up and the weight seems to come back overnight.
That is how old-school diet mentality works. You have to suffer and give food up to lose weight. That is always a lose-lose situation.
As a weight and life coach for women, I recommend a different approach.
When you take control of what you eat, when, and how much, then you will create your own plan that allows you to lose weight gradually and naturally. And still eat foods you actually like!
There are so many advantages to losing weight gradually.
- You make long-term sustainable changes.
- You learn new skills
- Your brain won’t be fighting you
- You eat food that you enjoy
- You develop a great relationship with food and your body
- Instead of being disgusted by how you eat, you will be proud of yourself.
None of that happens overnight. And that is OKAY.
The Rules to Lose Weight Gradually
Here are the rules of losing weight gradually.
- Only eat when you are hungry
- Quit eating when you are just about full
- Eat foods you like
- Eat enough food to satisfy your body
- Gradually remove problem foods
- Add nutritious foods
- Track your data
Eat only when you are hungry
This sounds so simple, right? Don’t put food in your mouth when you aren’t physically hungry. Most of us, eat for many other reasons than being hungry.
- We eat when we’re bored
- We eat to be polite to other people
- We eat because we’re used to a certain schedule
- We eat because we are upset
Eating only when you are hungry is one of the best and most challenging parts of losing weight. For as long as most of us can remember, we’ve eaten based on emotions, schedules, or when other people want us to.
On the other hand, many of us dread the idea of feeling hungry and we try to avoid it at all costs.
Being hungry does not equal being miserable. I’m just suggesting that you start paying attention to whether you are hungry or not when you eat. Hungry—eat. Not hungry—don’t eat.
As you gradually adjust your eating, you will learn to eat enough at your meals that you don’t get hungry for a while and the hunger will come on gradually. It really is a beautiful thing.
Quit eating when you are just about full
At first this might be difficult. Often the amount we eat is based on how much we cooked, what the restaurant served us, or how much we put on our plates.
None of that has anything to do with how much you should eat.
Your body knows when it has had enough. However, you might currently be a little disconnected from the signals that tell you this.
As you learn to trust yourself, you’ll get better at stopping—even if there is still food on your plate.
The goal is to pay attention to your body. Some meals, you may eat less, some more.
When I serve myself or I order food, I estimate how much I think I’ll need. If I get full before I finish my plate, I don’t force myself to finish.
This is not wasteful. Putting extra food in your body that will add fat. That IS wasteful.
Eat foods you like
Yes, you can compose your entire diet of only foods you like.
Here’s the thing. This doesn’t mean eat ANY food you like at ANY time.
What I mean is this. If you have decided that you’re going to have a meal with a protein, a bunch of vegetables, and some healthy fats, pick foods that you enjoy.
Cook your foods the way you like them. As you adjust to eating foods that are more nutritious, your taste buds will change. When you aren’t filling up on junk or fast food, you really will learn to like real foods.
It takes time to convert your diet from processed and fast food sometimes to eating real foods at your meals. Do your best to be nice to yourself and eat foods that taste good to you.
Eat enough food
Most women actually need to eat more real food. They need more protein, more vegetables, and more nutritious fats in their diet.
Sometimes you gotta eat more before you can begin losing weight.
What diet culture tells you is that you need to cut food out.
The problem with that is that, often women aren’t getting enough nutrition as it is.
Instead, they need more of the right kinds of foods.
At every meal, aim for a quality protein, vegetables, and nutritious fats. Extras could include dairy, nuts, grains, and beans.
Gradually remove problem foods
I don’t know anyone that can eat everything they want, anytime they want.
While I hate to call some foods problem foods, there are definitely foods that can cause problems in our body.
For me, wheat causes me problems in addition to causing me to gain weight quickly. I also avoid sugar and foods made with sugar or flour.
If I eat out more than a couple of times a week, I notice weight gain.
Learning how to lose weight gradually, helps you figure out for yourself what your problem foods are.
Problem foods are typically high in carbohydrates and this causes them to raise your insulin and that causes your body to store fat if it’s happening too much of the time.
I am not anti-carbohydrate!
Carbohydrates are a nutrient that we need. However, no one needs processed food or sugary treats to survive. You don’t.
Foods like this, when eaten to excess can cause major problems, not just with your weight, but with your skin and your health. Seriously ladies.
Overeating processed and sweet foods can age you fast.
That doesn’t mean you can never indulge. It just means if you want to lose weight and have great skin, you are better off eating real food most of the time.
Add nutritious foods
After 50, I recommend concentrating on eating real food that provides nutrition. There are three kinds of nutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
With real foods, a protein is a protein, a fat is a fat, and a carbohydrate is a carbohydrate.
When you are eating processed and fast foods, they are a combination of all three.
Not only that, but they are created to be a magic mix of flavor and texture to keep you eating way past when you are full.
For example, I can eat a large bag of chips. That combination of crispy potato, fat, and salt, keeps me snacking way past when I’m full.
Give me a baked potato and I’m usually good with half of it—even if I’ve added some butter or sour cream.
To understand how food affects your body, it can be very helpful to eat simple foods: proteins, carbohydrates (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans), and fats.
These foods make a strong foundation and if you eat enough, you won’t get hungry and you’ll be fueling your body with nutrition.
Track your data
When you make changes to how you eat, it is helpful to keep a journal or diary of what you eat. You can use a notebook to keep track of your data.
I like to track three things: my weight, what I ate, and what kind of exercise I did.
Weighing yourself once a week is plenty. But remember, weight is only one measurement. And it is not the indicator of success or failure.
That’s why keeping track of your food and movement is important. When you track your food daily, you can see where you have made changes.
If you go from having processed food five times a day to once a day, that is a huge win.
If you go from eating two vegetables a day to eating five, that’s a win.
If you begin exercising, that’s a win.
If you add a TB or two of nutritious fats and oils to your meals, that’s a win. (for real!)
Keeping your food diary allows you to see the big picture of your week and can put things in perspective.
It’s easy to beat yourself up after overeating at a meal or having too many cookies at night. But if you can look back on your week and see 10 times that you made some good choices, then you won’t be as tempted to quit.
Sometimes it’s the opposite. You’ll think you did all the things but when you look back, you might see places where you could improve next week.
Remember, it is just information! Use it to support your goal, not beat yourself up!
Mindset for Gradual Weight Loss
Gradual weight loss takes a whole different mindset than going on a diet. As much as we all hate diets, there is something comforting about them.
On diets, someone else tells you what to eat, how much, and when. Diets also promise amazing results if you just follow someone else’s plan.
We know now that diets despite their popularity, do not work long-term at all and they rarely even work short-term.
Here are some of my thoughts on gradual weight loss.
- Your body deserves to be taken care of and fed.
- You are beautiful and worthy at any weight.
- Your weight is not the cause of your problems (no matter what anyone says).
- It is okay to eat food you like.
- Eating real food in the amounts you need is good for you.
- Being thin won’t make you love yourself.
- Being thin won’t make anyone else love you.
Learning to lose weight gradually begins as a leap of faith. You must have faith that you can eat normally and eat food you enjoy and still lose weight.
As you go along, you begin to TRUST YOURSELF to eat food. Food resumes a normal place in your life rather than being the focus.
If food is compensating for a life you don’t love, then you begin to address that.
Some people only want to diet if they can lose weight fast. That is the worst mindset. Who cares how long it takes? Really. If you give yourself as much time as you need, you will get where you want to be.
This can be life-changing rather than just body changing!
Keep showing up my friends,
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Coach with Sara
Hi, I'm Sara Garska and I'm so happy you're here! My Think Big Life began shortly after I turned 50. Big changes can happen with a small start, an adjustment of thought, or a simple process. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a certified life and weight loss coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 50-minute coaching session.