Every New Year, thousands of people resolve to spend the year to come losing weight. And yet, so many of us don’t quite know where to start. The process of losing weight is difficult, and in a world where we want to see immediate results, the long-term nature of this process can be disheartening. 

So, where do you begin if you really want to dig into your weight loss journey? The process looks different for everyone, of course. If you choose solid ground to get started on, you’ll be able to carry yourself forward past New Year and into the months to come. 

Here’s where to start. 

Identify Your Goals

Ask yourself, early on in the process, why it is that you want to lose weight. Do you want to fit into some of your old clothes? Are you concerned about your health? Are you going on a beach vacation and want to break out a bikini? 

There are very few bad reasons for wanting to lose weight (though they do exist!). Understanding your goal early on will give you something to work toward. These sorts of goals will motivate you on the days that you don’t want to go to the gym or you want to forgo vegetables in favor of a glass of wine. 

Assess Your Fridge

Once you’ve set your goal, head on over to your fridge. What kind of foods do you normally eat? If you’re going to lose weight, you’re going to need to clear a few staples out. This means high-calorie ice cream, food with excessive fat, and many of the pre-made meals that so many busy people rely on. 

Let it be said: losing weight is not about starving yourself. Nor is it even about denying yourself.  

Throughout your weight loss journey, you’re learning to love yourself and celebrate what your body can do. So, as you’re cleaning out your fridge, know that you don’t have to get rid of everything. You can save the ice cream, if you want, for a day when you need a boost. The trick is keeping one pint instead of an entire gallon. 

Create a Meal Plan

Once you’re satisfied with the state of your fridge, sit down at your desk and determine what kind of healthy meals sound good to you. Dieting isn’t about eating salads for every meal!  

Instead, use your imagination to create a meal plan for the next week. Intersperse your week with new and delicious meals, while also allowing yourself one or two cheat meals. 

Again, losing weight isn’t about denying yourself – it’s about learning to control your cravings. 

Start Walking

Anyone looking to lose weight is going to have to learn how to exercise. This can be difficult, especially if you have little to no experience in the gym. What do you have experience doing, though? Walking. 

Start out your weight loss routine by walking at least one mile three times a week. Typically, this means spending thirty minutes on your feet. It may not feel like a lot, but you’ll be warming your body back up and preparing it for something grander in the future. 

Build Up Your Exercise Routine

As you grow more comfortable in your own skin, you’ll need to start pushing boundaries. This means exploring what your body is capable of. That’s what exercise is, after all – celebrating the things that you can do with your body. 

So – did you ever want to learn how to kickbox? What about move back and forth across a set of monkey bars with your kids? They may seem like silly goals, but both activities get you out of the house and moving your body, all while remaining fun. You’ll be able to push yourself and your strength without having to stress about going to the gym or looking cool. 

Starting to lose weight is a mental task as much as a physical one. Remind yourself that you’re trying to lose weight to better celebrate your body, and you may find it easier to step outside of your comfort zone.