If you’re committed to losing weight, you know you need to adjust your eating plan to include more whole foods, increase your daily movement, find healthy ways to deal with stress and get enough sleep. With all of these changes on your plate, “a steadfast commitment and patient mindset are essential for you to stick with it for the long haul,” says Liz Wyosnick, a Seattle-based registered dietitian.
In this spirit, here are three ways to become more patient and learn to enjoy your weight-loss journey:
Set Realistic Goals
Make sure you’re starting with healthy weight-loss expectations that are fair to you and your body (Think: 1/2–2 pounds per week or about 2–8 pounds per month), says Dr. Lowden. Setting your goal weight in an app like MyFitnessPal and logging your food helps keep you motivated as you watch your weight trend downward long-term, even if day-to-day ups and downs pop up on the scale.
“Instead of focusing on how far you have to go in your weight loss, focus on what you can do today, and then what you can do tomorrow and so on,” says Wyosnick. Because the way you eat to lose weight should be sustainable, aim to make simple, consistent tweaks rather than eliminating or avoiding certain foods entirely. For example, try halving the cream you add to your coffee, swapping sparkling water for soda or following the 80/20 rule.
Think Beyond the Scale
If you’re feeling impatient with the number on the scale, make it a point to regularly list non-scale victories you can celebrate. For example, “consider the way your clothes fit differently, the ease with which you can hurry up the stairs or how much energy you have,” suggests Dr. Lowden.
You can also find other ways to measure your weight loss that motivates you beyond the scale, like regular progress photos or measurements of your waist and hips, which are especially helpful when you’re exercising more and building muscle.
Are you patient when dieting or do you want to attain your goal as soon as possible?