How Weight Loss Anchors Keep Me on Track
Do you have any weight loss anchors to hold you in place when life’s storms come at you on all sides?
To keep you from drifting too far when you stray from your diet or from your exercise plan?
We often make weight loss seem more complicated than it is. But successfully losing weight and keeping it off mostly just comes down to basic stuff.
Replace some of those drive thru meals, processed snacks and sweets with salads, fresh fruits, steamed veggies, lean protein, legumes and whole grains.
Spend a few minutes less on the couch in front of the TV, computer or phone and instead spend those minutes lifting weights, playing fitness games on the Wii or Xbox Kinect, walking, gardening or riding a bike.
My Weight Loss Anchors
I’ve learned tons of stuff about health and fitness and nutrition over the years – and spent literally thousands of hours in the gym, on the bike, on the track and in the water.
But consuming all those books and magazines and blogs and videos didn’t take a single ounce of fat off my body.
Books gave me knowledge, but they didn’t teach me how to apply it.
The only times I made progress in my weight loss journey were when I got back to basics. Most of the credit for my weight loss progress in recent years comes down to a handful of basic daily (or almost daily) habits.
- ½ cup of oatmeal and fruit for breakfast
- Raw veggie sandwiches for lunch or a snack
- Reasonable portions of low fat starches and canned food for dinner (something hearty but still low in fat, like veggie chili w/ rice)
- A 2-minute walk
- 10 air squats (bodyweight squats)
- 1 set of 10 reps of dumbbell shoulder presses
- 20 reps of standing pushups, leaning against the countertop while my coffee is warming up in the microwave
These are my weight loss anchors.
They aren’t necessarily a list of things I do every day. I’d like to. I probalby should. But these are just simple, single actions that get me back on track. I’ll pick one and do it. Maybe I’ll do two or three (or more) in a day.
But the point is that any one of these can act as an anchor to help me from spiraling out of control and get me right back on track.
The beautiful thing about weight loss anchors is that they are super stupid simple things that take 2 minutes or less to accomplish. They take nothing out of me. They require almost no willpower.
Sure, they’re easy to skip.
But they’re also easy to NOT skip.
And best of all, once you get past that speed bump of hesitation and just do that one little thing, it easily snowballs into one more little thing.
That one set of dumbbell shoulder presses almost automatically leads to a quick set of dumbbell curls followed by a quick set of bent over rows and then a quick finishing set of dumbbell shrugs.
Boom, boom, boom.
In just two minutes, I did a giant set of dumbbell exercises that hit the major muscles in my shoulders, upper chest, back and arms.
And finishing that first superset makes it much more likely that I’ll do another set just like it a few minutes later.
It’s stupid easy to go walk for two minutes, especially if I link it to another habit like taking out the trash. But when I do, I almost always continue walking for another 5, 10, or 20 minutes on top of that.
Might as well.
I’m already outside.
One little bowl of oatmeal and raisins for breakfast makes me feel pretty good about myself too. It works every time.
No matter what happened the day before – and no matter what crap I might eat later on – at least today started out on the right foot with only 200 calories or so. But starting my day like that often boosts my mood and makes me more likely to go for a walk, hit the weights or opt for a salad or veggie sandwich instead of something greasy when lunch rolls around.
When life gets me stressed out and I binge on everything in sight late at night, it’s my weight loss anchors that get me back on track the very next day and help me to take that recently gained weight right back off.
This is what helped me level off my weight gain in 2019 and again here in 2021 (no need to talk about 2020 tho lol).
I gained weight almost every year over the past couple decades. But by working in these simple weight loss habits (which didn’t happen overnight btw), by creating these little weight loss anchors, I’m slowing down my years-long trend of gaining weight and getting my numbers rolling in the right direction.
Today Is a New Day
When I have a bad day of eating junk food or just gorging on everything in sight, I go ahead and let myself feel bad for a bit.
But not for too long.
A few hours, maybe the rest of the day at most.
Then I wake up the next morning and remind myself, “Today is a new day.”
It sounds a little cheesy, a little trite, maybe even a teeny bit annoying – kind of like an old worn-out meme on Facebook that your mother-in-law just discovered and shared with you.
But it’s true.
And it helps, if you let it.
No matter what happened yesterday, today is a new day.
No matter how badly I screwed my diet yesterday, today is a new day.
I am just one choice away from getting right back on track.
This is where my weight loss anchors come in.
This is where that one little good habit can keep me from drifting and drifting and drifting.
Just Get Back to Basics
So what are your weight loss anchors? Do you have any? Do you have one or two that have been sitting on the shelf, collecting dust?
Why not dust one off and put it back in play.
If you can’t really think of any weight loss anchors of your own – at least, not any that you like or that seem simple enough – feel free to steal one of mine. Or use mine as a template to build your own.
Maybe you can’t stand oatmeal. But maybe you can start your day with something else that is simple, quick, tasty enough and only has 200-300 calories?
- 1 slice wheat toast
- 1 hardboiled egg w/ salt + pepper
- 1 banana
This little breakfast has less than 300 calories, takes only 1 minute to make (if you pre-boil several eggs ahead of time and refrigerate them) and only costs about a dollar. It might not be very exciting, but that’s the point. It takes no thought or effort or time commitment. It’s just a simple grab-and-go breakfast that helps you lose weight on autopilot without feeling starved.
Idk, it’s your anchor.
Just try not to overthink it. You can try something, and if it doesn’t work out, you can always replace it with something else.
The idea is to pick something that is simple, fast and convenient.
Sure, it might be easy to skip.
But choose something that is also easy to NOT skip.
Same with exercise.
You don’t have to think of exercise in massive blocks of time like hours or half-hours. If the thought of going to the gym for an hour seems too easy to blow off, then start with a 1-minute micro workout at home. Just a little something to get your heart pumping.
Something that might be easy to skip but that is also easy to NOT skip.
You can always bump up the time or number of reps later on. But for now, just start with something simple to help you get over that mental speed bump.
Start by creating some basic daily habits that can help you lock in just a little progress today. You don’t have to overhaul your whole lifestyle. Just pick one little habit and use it. Those little weight loss anchors might not seem like they can do very much to help you lose weight. But they can really add up over time.