A new year, a new you, right? At least, that’s the "how to lose weight fast" thinking behind the most popular New Year’s resolution. “Staying fit and healthy” and “losing weight” are always among our top goals each January, according to Nielsen. They’re also the pledges we most often break, as we deal with the ebbs and flows—and highs and lows—of our busy lives.
In a perfect world, you wouldn’t worry about losing weight, because you would have followed our plan to prevent weight gain in the first place. Maybe next year. In the meantime, let’s deflate your spare tire. We asked three Spartan SGX coaches to reveal the strategies that will keep you motivated and seeing results all year long.
How to Lose Weight Fast: Spartan Strategies that Work
Strategy #1: Think Kitchen, Not Gym
You’ve heard that abs are made in the kitchen, and it’s true. “Focusing on your nutrition will yield results quicker than any exercise session,” says Taylor Walker, a Spartan SGX and nutrition coach from Miami Beach, Florida.
Walker suggests targeting lean protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains as part of a well-balanced diet.
“You will be amazed at how quickly your body responds to healthy food,” she says. “When you start to reap the rewards of healthy eating, you’ll be more likely to reach your goals.”
Strategy #2: Write Down Three Food Changes You’ll Make
Identifying your need to lose weight is the first step, but planning how you’ll do it is what’ll get you through the next 100 steps, says Matt Kalanz, Spartan SGX coach and a manager of the adult programs at Warrior Tech in North Carolina.
Sounds obvious, but few do it. In fact, a 2015 Nielsen survey found that of the 43 percent of Americans who resolved to lose weight by making healthier food choices, 76 percent said they didn’t follow any sort of program or plot out how they’d do it.
A healthy eating plan doesn’t need to be complex. It could be as simple as ensuring that your grocery cart is at least half-filled with whole foods, and that the rainbow is well represented. Then use a weight loss app or calorie tracker to watch your progress.
“Seeing where your calories come from helps you adjust your intake accordingly,” Kalanz notes. “In addition, apps like My Fitness Pal show basic macros for each meal you enter. This is a great tool for getting to know the breakdown of the foods that are being put into your bodies, and where you may be lacking.”
Strategy #3: Break Big Goals into Small Parts
“One of the biggest keys in successful weight loss is setting smaller, attainable goals that contribute toward your main goal,” says Kalanz. “You will feel a sense of accomplishment when you reach these milestones, and the larger goal won’t seem as daunting.”
Kalanz suggests setting monthly benchmarks. “For example, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds by the summer, aiming to lose a few pounds every month before you reach your end goal adds some extra motivation and accountability to stay on track.”
Strategy #4: Schedule Everything
Put your workouts on your calendar and treat them like meetings with your boss, says Walker. Which is to say: Don’t cancel, and don’t be late. “We all claim we don’t have enough time,” Walker notes. “But by scheduling 30 minutes to an hour at least three days a week will show you that you actually do.”
Do the same for grocery shopping, meditation, sleep, and whatever else is part of your personal reinvention plan.
Strategy #5: Institute Checks and Balances
Going it alone when you’re trying to shed pounds can be tough, says Walker, who suggests buddying up. This can be a pal who’s also trying to drop a few, or a loved one who has your best interests at heart.
“Find someone who will continually motivate you to fit in those extra sweat sessions, push you through another rep when you are exhausted, or simply offer encouragement,” she says. “It can make all the difference.”
Strategy #6: Don’t Dwell on Your Mistakes
You missed a workout. You dove into a pint of ice cream. You had a little too much fun with your buddy Jim Beam.
There are plenty of potholes and detours on the path to good health, says Tim Scott of OCR Proving Ground. “But as with life,” he adds, “80 percent of success is just showing up.”
When you stumble, don’t compound the problem by beating yourself up, says Scott. “Be honest with yourself,” he says. “Ask, ‘Did I do my best today?’ If the answer is no, that’s fine. Do better tomorrow.
“If you fail going forward, at least you went forward,” he adds. “Pick yourself up and keep moving.”