How to Actually Keep Your New Year’s Resolution to Get in Shape – Part 2: Lose Weight

woman using workout ropes in gym

Adam Riemer |


So you’re ready to finally lose that extra weight, huh?

It’s a great resolution to have for the new year for many reasons, including improving your health, energy levels, and sex life while preventing sickness and disease. Losing excess weight has an amazing to improve your life in countless ways.

But what exactly does “lose weight” mean to you?

As we stated in Part 1 of this series, it’s important to set a specific goal with a deadline and have a reason why that resolution is important to achieve. So, before we dive into how to “lose weight”, make sure you know what that means for you! woman measuring waist


It’s important to set realistic expectations before you jump into a weight loss plan. If you want this year’s resolution to stick, follow these tips:

  • Focus on body fat %, not just weight - Choose a percentage of body fat that you want to lose, or a clothing size you’d like to fit into. Weight can fluctuate greatly based on amount of water, sodium, muscle and fat you’re carrying on any given day, which means the scale alone is never the most accurate form of measurement. Those ups and downs when you weigh yourself can play mind games that may undermine your motivation.

Many weight loss plans are focused on weight alone, but if that’s all you measure, you could be losing mostly water, or even worse, losing muscle (such as during a detox or extreme diet). You may think you’re succeeding at your goal, but are actually hurting your body in the process which will hinder your long-term success.

  • Get a baseline – Get an accurate measurement of your starting point so you can track your progress. When you see your measurements go down regularly, it can be extremely encouraging to keep going. This includes:
    • Body fat – You can get this measured via calipers or bioelectrical impedence devices at almost any gym for free (you can also find out your starting weight during this test.)
    • Take measurements and photos – Measure your right arm, chest, waist, hips, and right Just note exactly where and how tight you measured so the numbers are accurate every time. Also, take photos from the front, back, and side in a bathing suit. At times, you may not see your weight change much, but these measurements will show you that things are changing!
  • Be realistic – Write all of your starting numbers down to reference. Then keep in mind that safe, sustainable weight loss takes time. Don’t fall for fad diets and programs that promise to get you in shape in a too-good-to-be-true timeframe. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

To lose one pound of fat, you have to burn 3500 calories. For reference, a 135-pound person will burn around 250-330 calories during a 30-minute run, depending on their speed. Even if you did that seven days per week, you’d still need to eliminate 1,000 calories through exercise or diet. It’s safest to aim to lose 0.5-1 pound per week.

Now let’s get into the practical ways you can lose that weight for good. In this blog we’ll look at mindset and nutrition, and in part 3 we’ll continue with exercise and what to do at the gym.

woman assisting man with sit ups

Assess Your Mindset

Why do so many people fail to keep their resolutions to “get fit”? Because they never take time to think about how they got out of shape in the first place. If you think a diet is the only answer to a weight loss problem, you’re wrong. Our mental and emotional state are usually what lead to weight gain. Common causes for overeating and weight gain are:

  • Stress
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Lack of control
  • Boredom
  • Sadness
  • Mindless/distracted eating
  • Need for comfort
  • Feeling happy or celebratory meals

Take some time to assess your emotional/mental state and what led you to this point, because if you want lasting change, you need to address your relationship with food and exercise so that you can make the necessary adjustments.woman eating junk food

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help in this process.

  • What triggers you to overeat?
  • How does indulging in unhealthy foods make you feel?
  • Which situations make you feel unable to say “no” to food?
  • What emotions are you typically feeling when you find yourself overeating?
  • Do you enjoy exercise? Why or why not?
  • What prevents you from going to the gym or working out?
  • Did a certain situation/experience occur that started your weight gain?

Once you have answers to these questions, you can make corrections, determine which situations you need to avoid, find other ways to cope with emotions, and find motivation.


What you eat is approximately 70-80% of weight loss success. You can’t outwork a bad diet. Food fuels your workouts, helps you recover, and has a major impact on the way you look and feel. A diet full of sugary, processed foods is not going to create the muscle tone you’re looking for, nor will undereating. Healthy, natural foods will help build muscle, make it easier for your body to lose excess fat, and will improve your energy, sleep, and sense of well-being.

Follow these tips to get the most out of your meals:

  • Determine your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and caloric needs (try an online calculator like this to get a rough estimate). Your BMR will tell you what number you should not go below each day. Your body needs this many calories just to function properly at rest. Your caloric need is what you need to maintain your current weight.
  • Figure out how much you’re currently eating – track everything you eat in a journal or app like MyFitnessPal for 3-5 days to figure out how many calories you’re actually consuming so you can compare to the previous two numbers.
  • Cut calories (if needed) - once you know your maintenance number, you can decide how many calories to cut for weight loss. It is not recommended to reduce more than 500 calories at a time. For the best, safest results, consult a nutritionist or qualified fitness professional for exact calorie reduction amounts.
  • Don’t drink your calories – one of the easiest ways to lose weight is by eliminating liquid calories like soft drinks, juice, and smoothies. Eat your fruits and vegetables to get the fiber that keeps you feeling full longer with less sugar.
  • Get junk food out of the house – if it’s there, you’ll eat it. Throw out the packaged snack foods, candy, and junk food so you won’t be tempted to eat it.
  • Cook your meals and pack your lunch – eating out regularly will cause weight gain, because you never really know how much oil, salt, and sugar it’s being cooked with, and many restaurants don’t list calories. Cook your food at home so you can control what goes into it, and pack your lunch so you always have a healthy option with you.

healthy vegetables on cutting board

  • Don’t forget snacks! Along with your lunch, pack snacks for work or when you’re running errands on the weekend so you’re not tempted to whatever junk is available. Keep things like protein bars, trail mix, fruit, celery and hummus, and apples and string cheese with you for when that afternoon hunger strikes.
  • Eat healthy fats and protein – protein and fat keep you satisfied for a long time. Make sure to include both at every meal (olive oil, nut butter, chicken, eggs, Greek yogurt, avocado, turkey, tuna)
  • Avoid sugar – the less sugar in your diet, the easier it will be to lose weight. Besides candy, desserts, or sugary drinks, watch out for hidden sugar in sauces/dressings, and packaged foods.
  • Drink LOTS of water – the body often mistakes thirst for hunger. Make sure to drink at least 90-120 ounces every day, especially between meals to prevent hunger.
  • One change at a time – if you’re not the “When I’m in, I’m ALL in” kind of person and have trouble with change, then pick one bad food to get rid of at a time, rather than attempting to change your whole lifestyle at once. Cut out candy one week, chips another, processed carbohydrates another, etc. Once you’re used to one change, it becomes easier and more mindless to incorporate another without feeling deprived.

Ready for change? Let’s recap and start with these tips:

  1. Decide how you use food to cope with emotions and what habits need to change
  2. Get your baseline measurements and calorie intake
  3. Choose 2-3 changes to implement this week (ex: more water, more protein, throw out junk food)

Make sure to read Part 3!




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