Losing weight does not have to be a torture. I’m talking to YOU, baby food diet and extreme cleanses! Weight loss can be achieved in a healthy, natural, and, most importantly, in a sustained way. Many of us who are struggling, and I mean real pain here, with ditching the extra pounds, fall into a vicious cycle of the eat-no eat regime that causes frustration and short lived moments of happiness.

To all of that I say: STOP THE MADNESS! Follow these tips and forget about crazy dieting and actually start losing and living.

Eat

Didn’t expect that one? While portion control is an important aspect of weight loss and maintenance, eating is an even bigger factor. Eating like a bird (ok magic juice, meal replacement shake, or whatever other names it has) is not the answer. Nutrition, on the other hand, is.

The key to a successful weight loss regime is to understand food and make sure that every meal has a balanced intake of the right carbs, protein and fat (yes you read it right – fat). Your body does not total up the calories at the end of the day. It works based on what you give it in one setting. So make sure you get 50% of your calories from healthy sources of carbs, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, 30% from lean protein such as organic chicken breast, low fat plain yogurt and cottage cheese and 20% from good fat sources such as seeds, raw nuts and avocado.

Exercise

I’m not talking about running like hamster or bench pressing 100 pounds, unless you like that of course. Many magazines tell you to walk for 20 minutes – but you already do that and you don’t know why it’s not working! Others tell you do these crazy “easy” workouts that you can barely sustain for 5 minutes, let alone the full blown 30 they recommend. So what is the secret then?

The secret: Up your movement. If you already walk, start running. And try interval running (commonly described as HIIT – which stands for High Intensity Interval Training). Transform your 20 minute walk into short bursts of running followed by fast paced walking. My “magic” formula is: 1 minute run + 2 minutes walking for a total of 20 minutes. It is the easiest way to get in an effective workout into a super busy day.

But you already do that, you say? Well, up your movement by switching your routine. Have you been postponing getting some weight training, a kettlebell or exercise ball in your workout? Now it’s the time! Your body gets used to and bored of doing the same thing over and over again so you need to keep it entertained. Think of it as a customer whose business you want to keep. You need to provide entertainment so that he or she keeps your services (to be read: to get results, you need to diversify – my former Finance professors would be proud to hear this one).

Relax

I get it. You want to get rid of the extra weight and you want it yesterday. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they did build an empire!

I know the feeling and I experience it often with my clients. The phrase I hear most often is “I feel good, but I haven’t lost any weight yet. Why?” and this is the typical question I get in day 2 or 3 of starting a healthy body transformation program. As I said, we want it yesterday!

We all want fast results with minimal efforts. And while it’s possible to get one or the other, the combination rarely exists. Healthy weight loss takes time (so from now on if you see “drop 10 in 1 week” – PLEASE be very skeptical). However, it is possible to achieve a balanced, healthy body that you can maintain with a few lifestyle changes and a bit of patience.

How can you do that? Think big picture, but break it down in smaller tasks and celebrate achievements! Being stressed will not help. Instead of focusing on: “it’s day 3 and I haven’t lost a pound,” why not focus on “it’s day 3 and I’ve ditched refined sugars, unhealthy fats, and I’m eating twice as much fruits and vegetables.” That’s a whole lot to achieve in only 3 days, don’t you think?

Better yet! Get yourself a calendar and every time you complete a day where you have achieved a goal, color that day in your favorite color! At the end of the week or month, you can look back at your calendar and visualize your successes. Plus, it’s also a great way to track the days that you can’t keep up your routine. It’s a great tool.

So remember to eat, up your movement and celebrate achievements and you will be that much closer to your healthy weight loss and total body transformation goals!

What is your healthy routine? What do you do to stay focused, motivated and celebrate successes? Let’s chat below!