If I had to lose 20 lbs. starting from scratch, here is exactly what I would do as a sports dietitian with over 10 years of experience.
If I had to lose 20 lbs. AGAIN, starting from scratch, what would I do first? I’m sharing my full step-by-step process with you as a sports dietitian with over 10 years of experience.
If this is your first time landing on the blog — welcome!
I’m Andres, a registered dietitian and coach who teaches busy professionals and parents how to lose weight and improve their life performance. Today, I’m going to share what I would do if I had to start my weight loss journey from scratch without following a restrictive diet.
A few years ago, when I was just starting out in my career, I gained about 20 lbs. because I completely put my health on the backburner. I had been studying nutrition for YEARS at this point, so I knew exactly what I should be doing…
But I just couldn’t seem to make it happen for myself. I even resorted to a few trendy diets to try and get the results I wanted. It wasn’t until I found a way to combine the science of habit change with sports nutrition strategies, that I saw a HUGE change in my body (as well as energy levels, gym performance, and confidence).
Looking back at the mistakes I made and the process that finally worked, I’m going to answer this question for you:
If I had to start over TODAY with weight loss…
And lose 20 lbs. AGAIN…
What would I do to make it easier and more sustainable?
It can be so hard when you first start out with weight loss. When you’re feeling uncomfortable in your body, the hardest thing to do is start making changes when you feel like you have so far to go. But a tiny bit of progress each day can add up to huge results.
So, here is exactly what I would to to get started, step by step.
So, I’m going to break it down for you. If I was starting over and trying to lose 20 lbs, here is exactly what I would do, step by step.
Most people focus on trying to hit the gym every day and follow a perfect workout schedule. Going to the gym is great, but if you’re going from 0 to 100, it’s likely you’re going to burn out and lose motivation pretty fast. Instead, the first thing I would do is just walk more. This is especially helpful when you’re not feeling very comfortable in your body, because it’s a low impact movement. It also has mental benefits and can help reduce stress, which often has a huge domino effect on everything else you’re doing in a day.
The second thing I would do to start losing weight is I would eat out less and cook more food at home. Many people overcomplicate what they’re putting on their plate. But the reality is, if you’re currently eating out several times a week and you replace a few of those meals with home cooked options, you’re going to naturally cut back on hundreds of calories. A great goal here is to try to eat 3 meals or less out each week.
Next, if I was starting again with trying to lose 20 lbs. I would start tracking my food using an app like Cronometer or MyFitnessPal. This is because awareness precedes change. If you don’t know how much you’re eating right now or where the biggest sources of excess calories are coming from, it’s going to be hard to start making changes to your diet. After you’ve tracked your current diet for a couple weeks and you start to see patterns, you can start to make tweaks to reduce your calorie intake in small ways, like cutting back on high calorie drinks or excessive snacking.
The final critical step if I were restarting my weight loss journey would be to celebrate small victories and stop being so hard on myself. I know it’s hard to look in the mirror and not like what you see. I’ve been there and I get it. But hating yourself into a healthy body is never going to work. The best thing you can do is appreciate every stage of the journey and celebrate the small wins each day, like getting out for a walk, eating a healthy breakfast, or drinking enough water each day.
For the first few weeks of weight loss, the 4 steps above are all I would focus on to start the journey to lose 20 lbs. Most people try to sprint when it comes to their weight loss goals, and maybe that means they reach their goal quicker, but ultimately they can’t sustain it. Once you’re consistently moving, cooking from home, tracking calories, and I’ve cut the negative self talk, I would start adding in a few more healthy habits. But I would only do this once the other habits were in place as a foundation.
There are 5 habits I would prioritize every day:
Adding protein to your meals will help make them more filling and satisfying, to naturally reduce overeating. This will also help you preserve lean muscle mass while losing weight.
Second, I’d focus on adding vegetables and or fruit to most meals, to make sure I’m getting enough micronutrients. This is also important because fruits and veggies contain fiber, which is helpful for managing hunger.
Sleep is so important for regulating appetite and for overall health, and I will probably make a whole blog post on this, but for now I’ll just say that most sleep deprived people struggle to lose weight!
The next habit I would prioritize is to start adding a form of exercise I enjoy, at least 3 times a week. This could be anything, for example, running, lifting weights, biking, yoga, group fitness classes. Anything that gets you moving.
Water helps keep all the processes in your body functioning properly and it can help you manage your appetite and prevent overeating. 64oz. is the minimum, and make sure to have extra if you’re exercising!
Embarking on a weight loss journey doesn’t have to be overwhelming or restrictive. If I had to start over and lose 20 pounds again, I would focus on building sustainable habits that promote a healthier lifestyle. By incorporating simple changes like sitting less, moving more, cooking at home, and celebrating small victories, you can set yourself up for success. Remember, progress takes time, so be patient with yourself and stay consistent. As you establish a solid foundation, prioritize adding protein, fruits, and vegetables to your meals, getting enough sleep, and staying hydrated. These habits are simple. I know they’re not that exciting or revolutionary. But if you follow these steps and repeat them consistently, you will see results, and they’ll probably come a lot more easily than you expect. So take that first step today and start your transformative journey!
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