IdealShape’s Definitive Guide to Weight Loss
If you need the go to, number one source of information and weight loss plan, this is it!
I’ve been a personal trainer and nutritionist for over 10 years and have helped thousands lose weight and find their ideal.
When you starting out on your weight loss journey, all the information out there can seem super overwhelming.
I want to help you through all of the challenges of weight loss. Regardless of the stage you’ve reached in your weight loss journey, this guide can help you move forward successfully.
Plus you’ll get access to my FREE weight loss program so you’ll have a solid plan moving forward.
You’ve decided that it’s finally time to take action, take charge, and take back your life.
It’s time to lose weight once and for all.
This time, it’s going to work and it’s going to stick.
You’re not going to give up and you’re not going to back down.
You feel like jumping in with both feet: you want to hit the gym this afternoon, and you want to start that trendy new diet immediately.
Who cares about a detailed plan? The time is now! You’re feeling motivated and it’s going to work! Maybe you’ll even skip dinner tonight. What a great start, right?
Before you begin your weight loss journey, you need to prepare mentally, not just begin physically.
Lack of preparation is one of the reasons why the majority of people who begin diets quit them before they’re effective, and why those who lose significant amounts of weight usually fail to keep it off long-term.
One study conducted in the UK found that 2 out of 5 people quit their diets within the first week, and only 20% make it through three months of their diet and exercise plans.
Twenty years after a major weight loss, only 4.4% of people managed to stay at their goal weight!
You’ve probably seen people in your own life tire of their diets and quit before they even get close to achieving their fitness goals. Maybe you’ve even done it yourself. Maybe you’ve done it yourself two or three or even ten times. I’ve seen it many times in my years as a personal trainer.
So if you’ve ever quit a diet, you’re certainly not the only one.
As the statistics above show, one thing most diets have in common is the dieters’ inability to stick to them.
And lack of preparation is one reason why so many people find it next to impossible to keep going, whether it’s after just a couple of days or after several months.
It doesn’t matter how long you stick to your plan if you quit before you reach your goals: your diet has failed you, plain and simple.
You need your weight loss plan to work for you, not against you, and careful preparation can make this possible. Mental preparation is a big part of the IdealPlan, and one of the keys to its success reasons it works so well for so many.
By approaching your weight loss journey mindfully and crafting a plan before you embark, you can maximize your chances of success. To get your body right, you have to get your mind right first.
In this section, we’ll walk you through five necessary steps of weight loss preparation:
- Finding your “why.”
- Setting your goals.
- Motivating yourself.
- Choosing your plan.
- The fun part: shopping!
Finding Your “Why”
Besides deciding that you want to lose weight in the first place, this is the first step towards weight loss. It’s also one of the most important. Your why will become the bridge between your desire to lose weight and your ability to consistently make weight loss happen for yourself.
So what is your why? It’s the answer to this big question:
WHY do you want to lose weight?
Think about your answer to this question. Not just for a couple of minutes, but for a couple of hours. Maybe even a couple of days. Sleep on it.
Your answer is what will continue to motivate you when nothing else has the power to get you back on the treadmill or out of the McDonald’s fast food drive-thru line. There are so many important reasons to lose weight, both mental and physical, but your reason should be personal. Think about what is most important in your life, and what you visualize when you see yourself at your goal weight.
- “WHY do I want to lose weight? Because I want to set a great example for my kids.”
- “WHY do I want to lose weight? Because good health will mean better finances for our family.”
- “WHY do I want to lose weight? Because I watched someone dear to me suffer from obesity.”
Your why is what will prepare you for and push you through the massive mental challenge that a weight loss journey presents. When you’re struggling, it’s what you’ll reflect on to get you back on track or help you work your way successfully through a difficult workout or a tough day of nutrition temptations.
The examples above are deeply personal, and that’s a good thing. What motivates you better than something so close to your heart?
This great article will walk you through the process of choosing your why step by step.
Setting Your Goals
Everyone starts their weight loss plan with a goal: everyone wants to be thinner and more fit! There are a few problems with most people’s weight loss goals:
- They’re too vague.
- They’re too long-term.
- They’re too unrealistic.
Let’s see how you can avoid these pitfalls and set goals that will actually serve you on a daily basis as you journey towards them.
First of all, your goals need to be specific. The Mayo Clinic recommends including specific details when you formulate your goals, and they give a great example:
A goal to exercise more is not specific, but a goal to walk 30 minutes after work every day is specific. You’re declaring what you will do, how long you will do it, and when you will do it.
See how it works? Just saying that you’re going to “lose weight” is so vague that it isn’t motivating, and what’s more, it isn’t reachable!
When have you accomplished that goal? At 1 pound lost, or at 50 pounds lost? When can you check it off of your to-do list?
But if your goal is “lose 2 pounds in 2 weeks,” you have something to work towards. That’s a goal that can be crossed off of a sheet on your refrigerator.
Your success in reaching this “mini” goal will motivate you to strive towards your next one. Your goals should be reachable and sustainable for maximum efficacy.
As you can see from the example above, time management is an important component of your specific goals.
Your long-term goal might be to lose 35 pounds, but that goal will seem far-off and nearly impossible when you’re struggling with something short-term, like whether or not to finish those French fries, or if you can drag yourself out of bed for your morning workout.
It’s a good plan to have both long-term and short-term goals. The short-term goals might seem useless before you begin, but those 2 pounds every 2 weeks are the chips you’re hacking off of that big 35 pound block. You’ll get there!
Finally, let’s be real. You’re probably not going to lose 10 pounds by Friday. Your weight loss goals should be reachable and realistic.
If your goal is unrealistic, you’ll become discouraged trying to accomplish something impossible! If you set goals that you can’t reach, you’re being unfair to yourself. You’re even sabotaging your own weight loss! By setting realistic goals with realistic timelines, you support yourself and make your weight loss plan work for you.
This is the fun part! There are so many great ways to motivate yourself, and we’ve selected 5 of our favorite and most effective motivators:
- Take a “before” picture. Okay, maybe this one isn’t the most fun when we aren’t feeling super confident about our weight. But it will be fun to watch your progress over the weeks and months to come! Our Certified Nutritionist and Trainer Lindsey recommends taking a “Saturday Selfie“ every week to track your progress, and we already know how important trackable goals and accomplishments are for weight loss success!
- Visualize your fit life. You already did this when you thought about your why. What do you see when you think of yourself at your goal weight? Visualize your fitness goals and you’ll increase your chances of reaching them in real life. Instead of getting yourself down with a negative internal slideshow, visualize success!
- See others succeed. Watching other people’s weight loss transformations is a great motivator. They’ve been there. They’ve struggled. They’ve felt discouraged. They’ve almost given up. But they’ve reached their weight loss goals, and that means that you can, too. Each one of them is different and has faced unique challenges in their weight loss journey, but they have all succeeded by taking it one day at a time.
- Buy exercise clothes. As the writer of this article puts it, “There’s a weird connection between dressing like you kill it at the gym and actually killing it at the gym.” Once you’ve got that cute new workout tank on, you’re more likely to actually work out. And sure, you have an old t-shirt you could wear, but how will you feel when you’re rocking that in public? The gym can be an intimidating place for some of us, and trendy, attractive workout gear can actually make you feel more confident on the treadmill or in the weight room.
- Tell your friends or buddy up. Everyone needs support during their weight loss journey, but you won’t get it if no one knows that you’re trying to get healthy! Even though your weight loss success comes down to you in the end, a little help from your social circle can’t hurt. Tell your friends that you’re embarking on a diet and exercise plan, and even see if someone wants to buddy up with you and lose weight together. Social support can keep you going when nothing else will.
Choose Your Plan
You may have tried weight loss plans before, and if they failed you, this time you might be tempted to strike out on your own without any plan at all. But don’t do it! Having a plan makes weight loss so much easier.
But most people have concerns when choosing a weight loss plan. They want efficacy, safety, convenience, and a great price, and you probably do, too.
My 15 day challenge gives you a plan to follow and really has everything you need to lose weight in only 15 days!
- It’s proven to be effective.
- It’s safe and fits any activity level.
- It’s convenient and easy to follow.
- It’s 100% FREE.
Some weight loss products may have harmful side effects that could affect your health in the future even if they help you drop weight right now.
We all want our weight loss plan to fit easily into our everyday life. Although prepping healthy meals is a big part of the IdealPlan, most of us don’t have time to prep every meal every day.
We need a convenient, healthy alternative to fall back on when we’re busy.
This is where products like the IdealShake meal replacement shakes can help out. They provide complete nutrition and they’re fast and easy to whip up when you’re dashing out the door or staying at your desk for a working lunch.
And not just for clothes!
You’ll also want to hit the store before embarking on your weight loss journey.
- Read up on how to shop healthy.
- Make a list to bring with you (remember the importance of planning?).
- Stock up on ingredients for some healthy meals.
Writing a shopping list and sticking to it will make it easier to avoid impulse purchases of soda and chips, and it will give you the opportunity to plan several meals in advance, which saves time and makes meal prep much easier!
Luckily, my 15 day challenge comes with a delicious and easy to follow meal plan so you know exactly what to buy and what your meals should look like. No guessing here!
Once you’ve got all of your supplies, you’re ready to get started. You’ve planned, prepped, and started to feel motivated: it’s time to begin your weight loss journey.
During Your Weight Loss Journey
If you’ve been thinking about starting a weight loss plan for a while now, then you’ve probably been reading around online and maybe even talking to friends about it. You may already know a lot about weight loss… in theory.
But which weight loss strategies are the most important in real life? Which ones actually work? How can you make them effective in the midst of your busy life?
We’re here to show you 7 workable strategies for weight loss and how to implement them every day. By following these tips from my 15 day challenge in conjunction with IdealShape products, you can stick to your weight loss plan and live your life at the same time.
In this section of our guide, we’ll cover these 7 effective weight loss strategies:
- Eat 5 meals a day.
- Drink water.
- Allow a treat.
- Manage bites, licks, and tastes (BLTs).
- Plan ahead.
- Get active.
- Stay motivated.
Let’s get started!
5 Meals a Day
That’s right: FIVE, not three!
You might be freaking out right now, because what weight loss plan requires you to eat more food?! But think about it: What’s the reason why so many people “cheat” on their diets? They’re hungry!
And here’s the thing: eating 5 meals a day could actually result in consuming fewer calories, not more of them! Switching to 5 meals a day helps solve 2 of the biggest issues with most weight loss plans: hunger and calorie consumption.
By eating more frequently, you avoid ever feeling the intense hunger that might drive you to run into the gas station for a honey bun or raid the fridge for leftovers right before bed. If you never feel like you’re starving, you’re less likely to binge on foods that aren’t part of your plan. You stay in control of your hunger, and that means you stay in control of your cravings and what you eat.
That level of control leaves you the option to eat healthy. Instead of giving in to cravings for burgers and donuts, you’ll be able to stick to your healthy recipes and to your hunger-busting IdealShakes at mealtimes.
Keeping yourself from feeling too hungry has another great benefit, too: eating more frequently can boost your metabolism, which burns more calories.
When you get that “I’m starving!” feeling, your metabolism plummets because your body actually wants to conserve energy in case you don’t have access to food!
But the last thing you want when you’re trying to lose weight is for your body to stop burning calories. By eating small meals throughout the day, you keep your energy levels stable and your metabolism running fast.
Check out these healthy snack ideas for some great options.
Are you the person who always has a water bottle in her purse or on her desk? Or are you the one who has to be reminded to drink water at all?
If you’re the former, then you’re lucky, because drinking plenty of water has been shown to help you lose more weight more easily! If you’re the latter, then you have some work to do.
Most sources recommend that you drink at least 8 8-ounce glasses of water every single day. I’m going to recommend even more: at least 12 to 16 8-ounce glasses of water every day! Why so much? There are several reasons:
- Improves metabolism
- Suppresses appetite
- Fuels exercise
- Reduces other beverages
Water improves your metabolism by flushing out the toxins that your body needs to eliminate, and helps you balance your own blood sugar and cholesterol.
Your body needs plenty of water because that’s what it’s primarily made of! Drinking more water will not only help you lose weight, it will also give you more energy, improve your digestion, and keep your mind sharp throughout the day.
You can stave off hunger by drinking a big glass of water when you feel a craving creeping up on you. Sometimes your body gets its signals crossed, and you feel hungry when you’re actually dehydrated!
If you still feel hungry 15 or 20 minutes after drinking a large glass of water, try adding some IdealBoost to your next glass to get you through to your next meal.
We all know that we should drink water while we’re exercising, but the water you drink during the rest of the day helps fuel your workouts, too. Not only does it help give you the energy you need to hit the gym in the first place, it also speeds your recovery enables you to push yourself harder to reach your fitness goals.
If you struggle to keep up with your water intake when you’re not working out, try these great hydration tips.
If you’re a soda addict, you have all the more reason to start meeting your daily water needs. The more water you drink, the less room you’ll find for other sugar-laden, caloric beverages! The sugar in sodas, juices, and other caloric drinks can totally sabotage your weight loss plan.
You could be drinking hundreds of extra calories every day, and they’re not even filling you up! Switch to water instead.
Allow a Treat
It might sound counterintuitive, but giving yourself a “cheat” or treat every week is actually good for your weight loss.
But how does it help you to indulge in foods that aren’t part of your healthy eating plan?
For one thing, a cheat meal gives you a chance to enjoy your social life, which you shouldn’t neglect. We all love to get together for a favorite meal with friends, and you shouldn’t always have to opt out of the pizza or the wings.
But perhaps most importantly, your cheat meal makes it easier for you to control your cravings at other times during the week. If you know that you can indulge guilt-free on Friday night, you’re less likely to indulge when you get a craving on Tuesday afternoon.
But what if your weekly treat gets out of control? What if you can’t stop after a normal serving of spaghetti or one scoop of ice cream?
Here are 3 important tips for making your cheat meal work for you:
- Set a start and end time. This means that Friday night’s treat begins at 6:30pm and ends thirty minutes later, instead of lasting far into the night. If you have a time limit, your treat won’t expand to include several snacks and a couple of desserts, too.
- Set a plate limit. This works best when you’re at a friend’s house or a buffet. If you only get one dinner plate and one dessert plate, your meal will stay reasonable and won’t turn into a binge.
- Go out for dinner. A restaurant meal (not at an all-you-can-eat buffet!) is the perfect way to control your portions, because you get one plate of food and then it’s gone. Unlike that box of cookies from the grocery store, you can’t keep going back for more. Sure, restaurant meals are often high in fat and calories, but that’s what your weekly treat is for. If your willpower needs a serious workout, you can even have half of your meal boxed up for tomorrow’s dinner.
Getting your 5 healthy meals every day requires some advanced planning. It’s no surprise that the USDA has found that planning is an important key to weight loss!
If you don’t plan well, then you can’t stick to your meal plan, and if you don’t stick to your meal plan, you won’t see the results you’re looking for during your weight loss journey.
If you’ve planned and prepped your meals in advance, you won’t have to rely on your willpower alone to keep your from eating unhealthy food.
If you’re using recipes directly from my 15 day challenge, then your prep will be easy! Try cooking and portioning your proteins in advance, and chopping and portioning your fruit for smoothies to store in the fridge.
You can also double or triple your 15 day recipes so that you not only have dinner tonight, you also have lunch or dinner for tomorrow!
Try keeping your blender bottle and shake mix in your car or gym bag so that you’re never missing a meal. And don’t forget to pack your meals and snacks in a lunchbox or cooler the night before so that your mornings are never rushed.
Manage Your BLTs
“BLTs” are how our Certified Nutritionist and Trainer Lindsey refers to some sneaky weight loss saboteurs: bites, licks, and tastes.
Think for a minute about how often you indulge in “harmless” little BLTs. It’s just a bite of the donut, so it doesn’t even count! You only had one lick of your kid’s ice cream cone! Just one taste of that cheese fondue won’t make any difference!
Unfortunately, they all count, and they really add up! You could be consuming an unbelievable extra 300 calories every single day, just from taking those little bites, licks, and tastes of forbidden foods.
Just a few bites of cereal from the box in the pantry could be 40 calories. Tasting your kids’ dinner as you cook it could be 75 calories. And licking peanut butter or cookie dough off the spoon while you’re making sandwiches or baking? At least 35 calories.
This is a problem that your weekly treat can really help you with. When you’re tempted to mindlessly eat a few chocolate chips or finish someone’s pizza crust, remember that you have a delicious cheat meal coming in just a few days. Indulge then without guilt, not now with tons of guilt!
No matter how fantastic your weight loss meal plan is, exercise should always be an integral part of healthy weight loss.
But you don’t have to become an Olympic triathlete to reach your weight loss goals. You don’t have to spend hours in the gym. All you have to do is get moving every day to boost your metabolism and set yourself on the path to better fitness.
Ideally, we would all spend an hour at the gym every day of our lives. But realistically, we don’t all have time, and we don’t all have a gym to go to. Your goal to start should be to spend 30 minutes every day simply being active: walking, jogging, riding your bike, doing yoga, lifting weights, taking an exercise class, swimming… whatever you might enjoy.
And make sure that you change it up! There’s no reason to be bored with your workouts.
With my free 15 day challenge, you’ll get a variety of workouts so you’ll never be bored. You’ll get to improve you strength, flexibility, and endurance all while blasting fat.
This might be the hardest part. Lack of motivation—or more accurately, fading motivation—is a major reason why so many people quit their weight-loss plans and never reach their fitness goals.
When you feel your motivation to keep exercising and keep sticking to your meal plans starting to wane, that’s the time to go back to the beginning of this guide and revisit your why.
Why did you begin this journey in the first place?
Why do you want to lose weight?
Revisit the answer you wrote down to that question, and think hard about what makes all of this effort worth it. You can’t stop now!
If you’ve been keeping up with your Saturday Selfies, this is the time to print them all out and line them up where you can see them: on the fridge, over your desk, on the bathroom mirror, wherever you think they’ll make the biggest impression on you.
Celebrate how much progress you’ve made already… and be motivated by how much farther you have to go.
Be sure to read this great article about how to get back to your why. There are 4 excellent suggestions about reminding yourself what motivated you to begin this journey in the first place:
- Take time to reflect.
- Throw a progress party.
- Update your why.
- Stick with your routine.
You should also read some pep talks. Don’t be too hard on yourself; it’s perfectly normal to feel discouraged when you’re partway through such a challenging journey.
Think again about all of the health benefits you’ll reap when you’ve reached your goal. Think about the new activities you’ll be able to participate in, the new clothes you’ll be able to wear, and the great example you’ll be setting for your friends and your family members.
If you need some inspiration right away, check out these transformation stories!
Maintaining Your Ideal Body
You’ve done it: you’ve reached your weight loss goals.
It’s been a long, difficult journey, and the last thing you want to do is start over! That’s why maintaining your ideal body is so important.
Not only is it discouraging to gain weight and lose it time and time again, that yo-yo pattern may also be harmful to your body in the long term. Since the whole point of your weight loss journey has been to improve your health, it’s in your best interest to maintain your new weight and never have to travel that long weight loss road again!
Although maintaining your ideal body is certainly easier than achieving it, that’s not to say that weight maintenance is a cake walk. In fact, there might not be much cake at all in your new, fit life!
But it will be worth it for the health benefits and body confidence that you’ll experience, and we’re here to show you how to maintain your goal weight in the simplest ways possible.
Here are our 4 effective methods for maintaining your ideal body:
- Combat Temptation
- Manage the Everyday
- Keep Improving
- Adjust Your Diet
Let’s get started on the final, lifelong phase of your weight loss journey.
After spending so much time on a strict meal plan, reaching your weight loss goal can make it feel like you’re finished: now you can return to your old diet, right? Wrong!
That’s how people regain all of the weight they’ve lost during the central phase of their weight loss journey. Now is not the time to indulge every craving, it’s time to maintain your healthy eating and keep the body you’ve worked so hard for.
Unfortunately, this can be tough, especially when your family, friends, and coworkers know that you’ve reached your goal.
You’ll want to combat workplace diet sabotage by keeping your willpower strong. When you’re amongst friends and coworkers, don’t feel guilty turning down their offers of an extra-large slice of cake, a lunchtime trip to McDonald’s, or a snack from the vending machine. They shouldn’t be offended by your commitment to a healthy lifestyle; don’t feel ashamed!
They probably don’t even realize that their generosity could sabotage your weight maintenance.
And if you’re becoming your own enemy when it comes to temptation and sabotaging your own weight maintenance, revisit the motivational sections of this guide and think again about why you worked so hard over the past weeks and months.
It’s a fact that we almost all engage in self-sabotage sometimes, but boosting your confidence, your willpower, and your visualization techniques can help you stop.
Manage the Everyday
Managing the everyday obstacles to your weight maintenance is part of combating temptation, but this issue deserves its own discussion.
Reaching your weight loss goals can make you feel fantastic, but achieving your ideal body doesn’t necessarily make life perfect. You’ll still face all kinds of potential pitfalls when you experience everyday stresses and time crunches.
There are 4 big issues that most people face in maintaining their weight:
- Time Crunches: When you’re pressed for time, you may find yourself tempted to start some unhealthy habits, like swinging through the drive-thru or skipping breakfast. Remember that you can always rely on your IdealShakes and IdealBars for a quick and convenient healthy meal. They aren’t just for losing weight, they also work for weight maintenance!
- Stress: A busy life and the anxiety that comes with it can wreak havoc on your efforts to maintain your ideal body. Constantly rushing and worrying through life can result in decreased immunity, bad sleep, and susceptibility to skipping workouts and snacking. Brush up on techniques for healthy stress management. One of the most effective is regular exercise!
- Vegging Out. And we don’t mean on vegetables. Sitting in front of the TV every evening can take its toll on your fitness, especially when an hour spent absorbing that great new drama series means an hour spent consuming salty snacks or “just a few” M&Ms. Think of some healthy alternatives for relaxation: go for a long evening walk, pick up a new hobby like coloring, or get into cooking elaborate (and healthy!) meals during the hours you’d usually spend on the couch.
- Lack of sleep. Getting a great night’s sleep could be more important than you think for weight loss and weight maintenance. Not only does sleep help you lose weight and keep it off, it also fuels your entire day, including your workouts! You’re less likely to stay active if you’re exhausted before the day is done. Check out these 6 tips for getting a full recharge every night.
Just because you’ve lost the weight doesn’t mean that your body is exactly where you want it! There’s always room for improvement even after weight loss. Now is the time to start firming, toning, and improving your fitness for a healthy life.
Your next fitness journey is to build the body you want now that you’ve revealed the weight you want!
The benefits of building muscle can’t be overstated. Building lean muscle mass will:
- Boost your metabolism for better fat burning and a little more diet leeway.
- Increase your bone density for protection from osteoporosis.
- Improve your functional strength for excellence in your everyday life.
- Build a firmer, sleeker, sexier body with great definition.
And ladies, don’t worry about “bulking up”: women’s hormone levels don’t make it possible for them to build muscle like a man. Try some of these great exercises to get started toning up.
The Weight Loss Guide Wrap-Up
Breaking up weight loss and looking at it in stages will help you feel less overwhelmed as you tackle each stage–and the challenges that come with it–separately. The great news is we can help you in each step of the way.
Sign up for my FREE 15 day challenge and I’ll be with you every step of the way.
In this challenge you’ll get…
- Fun and effective workouts anyone can do
- A delicious, easy to follow meal plan for maximum weight loss
- 24/7 support from me, your trainer
Sign up now! I’m so excited to take this journey with you!