One of the biggest struggles people have with losing weight is simply just getting started. There is so much diet and weight loss information available it can become quickly overwhelming. What to eat? What not to eat? When to eat? When to exercise? The options are seriously endless. Now combine that with today’s busy lifestyle and I can see why people throw in the towel before even getting past the first day. I understand because I have been there many times.
To successfully lose weight and sustain that weight loss you need to look at the first 24 hours very differently than you have before. For many people – including myself at one time– a typical first day would include a list of extreme changes. Perhaps you’d join a gym and exercise for a couple hours. Then, on top of that, you’d drastically change your eating habits removing all carbs, sweets, salt, and every other food you love. After a day or two you realize this is not sustainable and you order a pizza and go back to the couch. Yep, I understand.
Of course changing your eating habits and prioritizing exercise needs to happen in order to lose weight but you’re not going to change DECADES of bad eating habits in 1 day. Not going to happen. And if you try to then most likely you’ll just become frustrated. Changes will come over time as you start to slowly creating sustainable healthier habits.
So, if I shouldn’t work out like a mad woman or throw out all the pasta and ice cream then what should I do in the first 24 hours of my weight loss journey?
Great question. I believe the first 24 hours or so is all about laying the groundwork to start rebuilding your foundation.
You want to take this time to really think about and plan out how you will make time and prioritize your healthier lifestyle. Lifestyle changes are the hardest to make and they don’t happen “just because”. You need to make them happen by becoming intentional with your actions and planning.
Below are 5 things I highly recommend doing during in the first 24 hours of your weight loss journey.
This can happen in the next 24 hours or maybe wait till the weekend when you have more time. Personally, I don’t think there needs a be a perfect time to start so don’t wait for one. However, there are better times than others. I suggest taking a day where you have some extra time to focus and really think about the changes. If you are trying to do this in the midst of your busy week or on a day you have a couple birthday parties you might find yourself overwhelmed. However, don’t procrastinate either. You need to make this a priority.
Now don’t get worried or stressed out if you can’t get all these actions done within 24 hours. The whole point is to create a realistic plan and strategy to make your healthier lifestyle a priority. If that takes 2 or 3 days then that’s fine. Just don’t try making any big changes until you have thought it through first.
Get on the scale, take measurements, and a picture
I know getting on a scale is scary and so is taking measurements. But you need to know this information to get started. Without it you won’t be able to set goals, measure progress, and/or identify any issues. Don’t be scared. You can do this. Plus think of it this way – after today – you will never see that number again. YAY!
Also, I HIGHLY recommend taking a before picture along with monthly progress pictures. This is something I did not do and wish I did. I have some random before and after pictures but I really wish I was more intentional with this. As you begin to lose weight your body will transform and it’s awesome to see that progress through pictures. So learn from my mistakes and take pictures.
This entire action should only take about 10 minutes maximum.
Sign up for My Fitness Pal
Many people ask me how to figure out the number of calories they should eat to lose weight. My Fitness Pal does all that for you. After you sign up plug in your height, weight, activity level, and some other information then My Fitness Pal will give you the number of calories you should eat a day to lose weight. You can also use this to sustain weight or gain weight.
Once you sign up play around with it for a few minutes and start getting familiar with the functions. This online tool was a complete game changer for me. It was the one thing that finally helped me get my portions under control.
Signing up for MYP should only take about 10 minutes. Don’t spend more that 20 minutes playing around with it cause you have other things to get done today.
Here are some other resources/links you might find helpful.
Write out a two week menu plan with grocery list
Creating a menu plan and becoming intentional with your food is key to weight loss success. Take some time in the first 24hrs to write out 2 weeks worth of meals with a grocery list. This way you don’t have to think about what to eat every single day because you will already have it planned.
Menu planning can get overwhelming so I suggest keeping it simple. Don’t try filling your menu plan with a brand new recipe 3 times a day every day for 2 weeks. Heck no. Use the recipes you already know and maybe throw in a couple new ones to try. Once you get into the habit of menu planning you can add in more new recipes.
Creating a menu plan might take some time on your first day. I suggest setting aside 1-2 hours to focus on your menu plan. Once you get the hang of it you will be prepare them more quickly.
If you really hate the thought of planning out meals then I recommend checking out eMeals which is an online meal prep service. eMeals offers many different meal plans to fit every eating style. You can sign up for free 2-week trial and see if it’s a good fit. Or if you simple want healthy meals delivered to your door then check out the meal kit delivery companies I recommend for losing weight.
Look at calendar and schedule in time for grocery shopping, meal prep, and exercise
I don’t know about you, but if it is not in my calendar it doesn’t exist. In order for new habits to form you need to make them a priority. Which means you need to make time for them. The only way to do that is to look at your calendar and physically put in the things that need to get done. It might sound silly to put exercise or grocery shopping into your calendar but with busy schedules if it’s not in there as a reminder then other things can easily take precedent without you even thinking about it. Plus, once it is in your calendar you can set reminders to help remember when something needs to get done.
I really try to use my calendar in this way each week. I find it very helpful and motivational to see the reminders pop up on my phone telling me to lay out my exercise clothes or to take out dinner that morning to thaw. Things that I would easily forget about I don’t when I put them in my calendar.
This action should take about ½ – 1 hour to complete.
Clean out and organize fridge, pantry, and freezer
I saved this for last because it most likely will take the longest. Now I am not suggesting you throw out every last piece of junk food – that might be a little too drastic for the first day. What I am suggesting is you start to clear out and make room for the healthier foods you’ll be filling your kitchen with.
Of course, don’t try to organize all three at the same time because that’ll get very overwhelming. Start with one, finish, and then move onto the next. As you create a healthier lifestyle you’ll be spending more time cooking healthier meals. You want a kitchen environment that makes it easy to cook and eat healthy.
Plus, once you have your kitchen clean out and organized you will just feel revived and ready to start your new lifestyle. I know I was.
Another (bonus) tip I recommend is to sign up for my free 7 day Jump-start Your Weight Loss Journey Email Series. In this series, you’ll receive a daily email covering the strategies I use to lose weight, and maintain a healthy lifestyle, along with action steps to get you started immediately. Learn more and Sign up here.
What are some suggestions, tips, or actions you have for people who might need a little help getting started on their weight loss journey?