Setting unrealistic weight loss and fitness goals will lead you to probable failure.

For example, if you need to lose 100 pounds, how will you get it done? Having no plan will get you nowhere. Having a bad plan will leave you frustrated and ready to quit. And, following someone else’s plan might not give you the results you need. Two people following the same program can get different results.

So, here are 7 practical steps to help you reach your weight loss goals and keep the weight off:

1. You may need to change your attitude about weight loss in general. You have to burn fat if you want to drop pant and dress sizes for good. If you just lose weight, you will probably regain the weight because you haven’t changed your body’s composition (burn fat, build muscle) to lean and toned. You can have normal body weight and still be fat. Its called normal weight obesity and your health will suffer.

Quality of life is what really matters. Make your long-term fitness commitment based on quality of life and you have a great chance of succeeding with your fat loss and weight loss goals.

In a Prevention magazine article, researchers found that 34% of women ages 40 to 60 were more likely to stay with an exercise program if the goal was “overall well-being.”

2. Have you really ever exercised for an extended period of time? If you have no experience to draw from, you will need to take baby steps, like starting with walking.

3. How long have you been inactive? If its been awhile since you exercised, you won’t be able to do an intense circuit training workout right away.

4. How quickly do you want to lose 100 pounds? Although you may lose pounds quickly at the beginning of your exercise program (like 10 pounds the first week), it will be tougher to burn fat and lose weight in the weeks and months ahead. For example, losing 2 pounds and burning .5% body fat will be good progress during many weeks. So, it may take a year or longer to lose 100 pounds the right way.

5. You may have health problems that slow your progress. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, you will need your doctor’s clearance before beginning an exercise program. You will have to start out slower than someone who is more healthy. The good news is that these two conditions can be reversed with exercise and healthy, managed nutrition.

6. You have to work to get a healthy eating plan that works for you. You may need guidance from a nutrition expert. You must burn more calories than you consume on most days in order to burn body fat and lose weight. This is the law of thermodynamics.

Even if you are a “workout warrior,” the law of thermodynamics still applies. You cannot eat as much as you want (or maintain daily calorie surpluses) and still burn fat and lose weight. On the opposite end, you can’t starve yourself and expect to succeed long-term with weight loss and fat loss.

Find out your basal metabolic rate (BMR). Your BMR is the amount of daily calories your body needs to maintain itself in a resting state. You will use this amount, your daily activity level and goals to set your daily menu.

If you use severe calorie restriction (i.e., don’t eat enough), your body will store fat because it will think you are starving. And, you don’t want to lose muscle, you want to lose fat.

7. Short, intense weight training workouts help you burn more calories and fat during and after your workout. Thirty minute sessions, three days a week will shape your lean body.

On some days, it helps to split up workouts into 2 separate workouts—such as doing two 15-minute strength training workouts (morning and evening) instead of one 30-minute workout.

Similarly, short interval cardio sessions of 20 minutes will burn major fat and spare muscle mass loss. Aim for 2-3 sessions a week. Mix it up with exercises such as sprints, incline stepping and jumping.

Since exercise is something you will continue to do for life, it helps to change it up:

  • exercising outdoors can be a refreshing change from exercising indoors.
  • doing something fun and different works too—such as playing soccer, basketball or tennis (these are 3 of the best natural interval cardio exercises).
  • exercising in a totally different place works sometimes—such as running on the trails at the lake.

Be sure to take a day off from working out each week—sometimes even on a scheduled workout day. Its always important to listen to your body to avoid over-training injuries.

Also, don’t make the mistake of laying around as much as possible until your workout. Research proves that your fat-burning enzymes shut down when you sit down. Keep your metabolism ramped up all day and burn more calories. Walking helps you lose the weight and keep it off because it helps you maintain an active lifestyle. Walk at least 30 minutes every day.

Set your attitude and sharpen your focus to reach realistic and measurable goals. Train hard and smart.

Burn fat and shape your curves leaner and meaner. You will look and feel great!

Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist
Certified Nutrition Coach and Nutrition for Metabolic Health Specialist. Since 2006, I have helped thousands of clients and readers make lifestyle habit changes that helps you to achieve better long-term health, which includes body transformation and ideal body weight.
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