7 Weight Loss Strategies For a Fresh Start This Spring

Time and again, I’ve found that procrastination stands as the primary obstacle to weight loss. In the wintertime, the dreary parade of sleet, snow, rain, and hail is often what puts us into this slump. But here’s the deal: now is the moment to take back control and finally get going on your weight loss journey. Why? Because we can always blame the weather or various other things for keeping us from starting a plan. Plus, spring will be here soon and you’ll want to soak up the sun with confidence! Let’s dive into some effective weight loss strategies to help get your body ready for the warm weather.

1. Pick a Start Date

The first step to a successful weight loss journey is picking a start date. Linking your start or end date to a specific event is a powerful way to boost your motivation because having a tangible goal always leads to better results. Imagine beginning your journey with the aim to look fantastic for spring and even better for summer. Planning a spring break vacation? Or perhaps there’s an item in your closet you’re eager to wear again? These are all fantastic motivators for getting started on your weight loss journey.

2. Set Realistic Goals

I’ve encountered numerous patients feeling disheartened because they hadn’t lost as much weight as they had hoped, lamenting, “I thought I’d be down more by now!” Remember to treat yourself with kindness. I’m genuinely pleased when my patients lose half a pound to a pound a week—this is what most of our bodies are capable of achieving! If you manage to lose more, that’s fantastic, but the real victory lies in changing your habits and beginning to feel better.

3. Clear Out Junk Food

Clear out anything unhealthy from your home. Don’t make excuses like “Oh, my grandchildren enjoy it” or “my skinny son likes it.” Truth is, that kind of junk isn’t good for anyone and could lead to obesity down the line. Take a good look through your cabinets and fridge. You might discover things lurking there that barely resemble food anymore. If alcohol is throwing you off track, it’s time to remove it from your house and toss it or pass it on. It’s important to eliminate any temptations that could derail your journey toward achieving optimum weight loss. So identify your triggers, eliminate them, and instead fill your kitchen with healthy choices.

4. Exercise, But Not Too Much

During the weight loss phase, it’s crucial to keep active, but having an intense gym routine isn’t as critical as you might think. Remember, the vast majority of weight loss happens in the kitchen, not the gym. Nonetheless, staying active is an important component in maintaining weight loss. Aim for 30 minutes of daily exercise, incorporating a mix of cardio for five days a week and adding resistance training on two days. Now cardio can just be walking, so a great strategy is focusing on increasing your steps week to week with the ultimate goals of 5,000 and then 10,000 steps.  My advice is to adjust your exercise level to match your hunger. If excessive exercise makes it hard to stick to your 1,200-calorie target due to increased hunger, it’s time to scale back. Otherwise, you’ll end up frustrated, battling hunger, and potentially negating your hard work by overeating.

5. Keep Your Goal in Sight

Place your goal somewhere visible—like on your fridge or bathroom mirror. This way, you can see it daily and be constantly reminded of your inspiration for weight loss. Some days will be tougher than others, particularly during those challenging winter months when you’re not feeling your best or might be battling a cold. Having that goal in plain sight will help keep your motivation up.

6. Skip the Cheat Days

When gearing up for weight loss, resist the urge to indulge in a “last supper.” This is a pitfall I see frequently. More often than not, it turns into not just a last meal but a last supper week, leading to an additional seven or eight pounds that you’ll then need to work off. Steer clear of treating yourself to a final feast or cheat days as a reward for consistent dieting. It will only cause frustration and make your weight loss journey harder.

7. Be Careful with Injectibles

Yes, injectable weight loss drugs can be effective but should be used as a part of a multidisciplinary approach including nutrition, behavior, and exercise. Right now, one of the injectables on the market is semaglutide. It goes by Ozempic for diabetes and Wegovy for weight loss. This drug cuts down your hunger and when not used with a solid food plan in place, can cause malnutrition. It slows how fast food moves through your digestive system which can cause other problems to arise such as gastrointestinal issues—aka pooping problems and nausea when eating too fast. 

Tirzepatide, sold as Mounjaro for diabetes and Zepbound for weight loss, uniquely affects addiction pathways and increases serotonin, significantly improving patients’ habits and mood. However, its similarity to heroin in how it boosts happiness raises concerns, especially with the supply chain issues it’s been having which has been making it difficult to obtain certain doses. This leads to withdrawal symptoms, including depression and the return of old habits when the medication is unavailable. I consider these drugs a last resort due to their potential for addiction relapse, rapid weight regain, and mood fluctuations. So while injectable weight loss drugs can be helpful, it’s important to use them carefully because of their serious side effects.

Embrace Spring with a New Perspective on Weight Loss

To kick off a healthy weight loss journey effectively, you should set a clear goal, choose a start date, tidy up your living space, and put your plan into action. Remember not to dwell on the past or be too hard on yourself, because it’s all too easy to fall into self-criticism. So treat yourself with kindness and let the excitement of the changing seasons be the inspiration for your weight loss journey! 

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