Every weight loss journey is unique and presents its own sets of challenges, frustrations and setbacks. The important thing to keep in mind is that embarking on a fit life is just that -- a lifestyle.
It’s not something that’s accomplished overnight, and it’s not something that’s supposed to be here today and gone tomorrow.
Nevertheless, there are times when we all get sidetracked or derailed from our routines, whether intentionally or not.
Here are 8 ways to get back on track with weight loss no matter how long your layoff has been!
Top 8 Ways to Get Back on Track With Weight Loss
#1 Set SMART Goals
SMART is an acronym that stands for:
Too often, individuals embark on transformation challenges with amorphous goals, such as “I want to lose weight” or “I want to get healthy.”
While these are admirable goals, they lack definition and structure, which reduces the likelihood of success.
Using the SMART method for setting goals helps you to define, refine, and orchestrate your approach such that you achieve success.
For instance, instead of saying “I want to lose weight”, say “I want to lose 15 pounds in 12 weeks.” The latter satisfies all of the requirements for a SMART goal.
#2 Find Your “WHY”
Having a goal is fantastic, but when the going gets tough, sometimes merely having a goal isn’t enough to see you through the tough times (setbacks, plateaus, etc.). Quite often, there needs to be something more primal, emotional, or evocative that drives you.
It could be wanting to lose weight because you want to improve your health, be able to play with your kids (or grandkids), etc. It could also be something like wanting to look good for an upcoming social gathering (wedding, reunion, etc.).
Whatever your “why” is, take some time to think about what it is when setting your SMART goal. And then, when you feel like you may be losing your way or going off track, remember your why and it will rekindle your passion and fervor to see your goal to the end.
#3 Share Your Goals
Support is essential to success in any venture in life, be it professional, relational, personal, fitness-oriented, etc.
In fact, several studies indicate that support not only helps individuals to lose weight but to maintain their weight loss results as well.[1,2] FYI, weight loss maintenance is often more challenging than losing weight for most individuals.
As such, if you’re riding the struggle bus with no other passengers, reach out to family, friends, and loved ones for support and encouragement. In times, you feel tempted to go off your nutrition plan and/or skip your workouts, give them a call or send them a text. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or share your struggles.
Note: this can also be especially helpful when in social situations -- restaurants, parties, mixers, etc.
For added support and encouragement, you can also download the FREE 1UP Fitness App, where you’ll get access to our private Facebook group for updates, ultimate motivation and support from team 1UP and other participants embarking on their own transformation challenges.
#4 Focus on Home-Cooked Meals
Managing calories in versus calories out is absolutely essential weight loss success.
Far too many individuals rely on establishments and entities outside the home (meal prep services, restaurants, etc.) to prepare their food.
However, relying on others to prepare your food means you really don’t have any idea (or control) over what goes into the food you’re eating.
Sure, they may list calories on their menu/website, but it’s a well-established fact that calories counts on menus are an estimate (at best). Often times, they can deviate by as much as 20-30% of the listed value.
As such, if you find yourself stuck at a plateau and can’t seem to figure out why, maybe start with taking a more “hands-on” approach to your nutrition by relying less on outside meal prep options and cooking more of your own food.
You’ll have a better selection of the quality of ingredients used to prepare your meals as well as a tighter control on the overall calorie content of those meals.
Plus, being able to cook and prepare your own meals is a skill that never goes out of fashion, and it might help you land that special someone, too!
#5 Dine-Out in Moderation
After reading the previous tip on how to get back on track with weight loss, you’re probably surprised to see this pointer, but the truth is you can still go out to eat and lose weight.
As is the case with most things in life, you just need to do it in moderation.
Going out to eat is an enjoyable experience as much for the food as the social interaction. Just remember that restaurants, counter service, and take-out joints tend to have more calorically dense fare than what you’ll prepare at home (that’s a big part of the reason restaurant food tastes so good!).
#6 Do Your Restaurant Research
Building off the previous point, when you do go out to eat (and you’re keen on sticking to your weight loss goals), do your research.
Many restaurants these days (especially national chains) publish the calorie and macro contents of their meals on their website as well as at the physical location of the restaurant.
If you’re going to such an establishment, you really have no excuse for not being able to find something that fits within your calorie and macronutrient goals for the day.
And, if you need help figuring out what to eat (whether you’re at a restaurant or at home), you can always log onto the 1UP Fitness App, for suggestions on what to eat or enter what you’re going to eat so that you can stay on track with your goals.
#7 Enjoy the Process
Like we said at the outset of this article, weight loss (and really fitness, in general) is something which you’re in for the long haul. It’s a long-term commitment, not a one-night stand.
Along those lines, while you can have an end-goal in mind (e.g. lose 15 pounds in 12 weeks), it’s also important to be cognizant of what you’re doing along the way to reaching your goal and find the joy in it.
Dieting (and life, in general) can be stressful...at times. But it’s not a misery 24/7 like some would have you believe. Learn to enjoy figuring out how to eat/cook healthier options. Get excited about adding a few reps or pounds to the bar. Look forward to stepping on the scale and seeing your weight decline over the weeks.
This brings us to our final point...
#8 Remember Previous Successes
There will be challenges and plateaus during your transformation challenge. It could be a disheartening or mocking comment from unsupportive family or friends. It could be that your lifts in the gym are stuck for a week. It could even be stress at work or on the home front.
Each and every one of these could be a stumbling block...if you allow it to be.
But, remember...YOU have the power to adapt and overcome!
When you feel unmotivated or dejected, look back at your training journal, progress photos, and bodyweight measurements over the past weeks and see just how far you’ve come.
It can be hard to notice the subtle changes that happen on a day-to-day basis, but looking back over the course of 3, 4, 5, or 6 weeks can show a tremendous difference in your physique, which can instill confidence and boost motivation to keep on charging hard during your transformation challenge.
And, remember, if ever you feel stuck or looking for an extra helping hand, all you need to do is log onto the 1UP Fitness App, where you’ll find advice, suggestions, and a whole lot more to not only help you “survive” your transformation challenge but crush it!
- Kalfopoulou E, Anastasiou CA, Avgeraki E, Kosmidis MH, Yannakoulia M. The role of social support in weight loss maintenance: results from the MedWeight study. J Behav Med. 2016 Jun;39(3):511-8. doi: 10.1007/s10865-016-9717-y. Epub 2016 Jan 22. PMID: 26801339.
- Institute of Medicine (US) Subcommittee on Military Weight Management. Weight Management: State of the Science and Opportunities for Military Programs. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2004. 4, Weight-Loss and Maintenance Strategies. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK221839/