How to jump start your weight loss plan - part 1


If you've gone on, and off, a million diets in your life, maybe it's time to change your approach. Trisha Calvo of Shape Magazine has advice that will keep you moving in the right direction.

How to jump start your weight loss plan - part 1 When you are ready to lose weight, you have to go from the mindset of 'I can do it' to 'I am doing it.' Trisha Calvo has some great tips on getting your head in the game when jump starting your weight loss plan.
  • The first thing you have to do is mentally prepare yourself to lose the weight. Create a feasible strategy that you can stick to. Setting unreasonably high weight loss goals, like 20 lbs in one month, won't actually help you reach the goal.
  • Write down all the reasons you want to lose weight. Include the vain and the virtuous: you want to look good in a bikini and you want to get healthy. Keep the list with you as a motivational reminder.
  • Get a notebook and for three days write down all of your food and drink intake. These three days should be typical days, not when you go to a holiday party for instance. By keeping a food diary, you become aware of what you are actually consuming. This is a great way to understand your dietary habits.
  • One of the most important things you can do when jump starting your diet is to commit to at least two things a day that get you closer to your goal. For instance, make sure you get that extra 10 minute walk every day. And decide that every morning you will have a serving of fruit instead of just coffee.
  • Don't get defeated if you slip up. If you dive into a box of doughnuts for breakfast, don't feel like you've totally blown it and might as well eat pizza for dinner. Even if you've made a bad decision five minutes ago, there are countless opportuities in front of you to make healthier choices. Each healthy choice moves you closer to your weight loss goal.

JENNIFER: Hi I'm Jennifer Morris for howdini. Okay so you're thinking about losing weight or you really want to lose weight or need to lose that weight and you just can't seem to get started. So Trisha Calvo, executive editor of Shape magazine is joining us today to tell us how to jumpstart our weight loss. Hi Trisha. Thanks for being here.


JENNIFER: How can you make this the time that you really lose that weight?

TRISHA: Well the first thing you have to do is get your head in the game. I cannot emphasize more how important it is to be mentally prepared to lose weight. A lot of people say, oh I want to drop twenty pounds, but how are you going to do that? What's your plan? What's your strategy? Is it a good time for you? So you really do sort of have to get your head in the game. And one terrific way to do that is to really think about the reasons why you want to lose weight. Write them down. Keep them in your purse. Include everything. Include the vain: well I really want to look good in a bikini, and the virtuous: I want to be healthy. I want to lower my cholesterol levels. I want my back not to hurt. Whatever the reasons it doesn't matter, you're the only one who's going to see them. But when you put them in your purse, you have them there. They're a visual reminder. When you sit there and say, oh I really want to head for the vending machine. I really am craving a few chocolate cookies. You can pull that out and say what's more important to me is losing weight for these reasons.

JENNIFER: Yeah so set those goals.

TRISHA: Yeah and I think that that mental preparation really puts you on the path--

JENNIFER: Mmm-hmm.

TRISHA: To success.

JENNIFER: What about keeping a food diary. Do you recommend doing that?

TRISHA: I do. I think that's very important too because--how many calories do you eat a day, do you know?

JENNIFER: I have no idea!

TRISHA: Most women don't. But you have to know in order to figure out where you need to make changes and most people have absolutely no clue. So when you keep a food diary it does help you figure out what you're eating, how many calories you're eating, why you're eating them. So here's how you do it. You just get a notebook, doesn't matter what kind, doesn't have to be special, just write down three days worth of your food intake. They should be three normal days--

JENNIFER: Not when you're going to a Christmas party.

TRISHA: Exactly. Or a wedding. Or a day you're traveling if you don't normally travel. What happens is you look at your food diary. You write everything down for three days. You then take a couple minutes looking at it at the end of that three day period. You go, okay, here for breakfast I have fruit and coffee. But when I have fruit and coffee for breakfast, in the afternoon I'm eating all day. But look when I have oatmeal for breakfast, I'm not eating so much in the afternoon. I'm not so hungry and these are just the little clues that will help you figure out a strategy to help you lose weight. It doesn't matter what kind of diet you've decided to follow. Whether you want to go high-protein, low carb, low GI--

JENNIFER:You get to look at your habits.

TRISHA: Low-fat, it's just good to look at your habits and figure out what you're eating.

JENNIFER:Do you also tally up the calories at the end of the day?

TRISHA: Yeah I think it's important to kind of when you write down the amount of food to check back on the food label. USDA has a website that helps you figure out how many calories are in different portion sizes for a variety of different foods. And you can find that on the web pretty easily.

JENNIFER: Do you have any tips for staying on track?

TRISHA: Yes I think that one of the most important things you can do is to do at least two things a day that get you closer to your goal. And all this means is you're trying to go from a mindset of I can do it to I am doing it. So you need to add more exercise to your day, just take a ten minute walk. Even if you can't get to the gym. Just make sure that you just take that ten minute walk because at least you're moving towards the goals. You're moving forward. You can also eat more fruits and vegetables. You know maybe you've had a bad day. Maybe you had doughnuts for breakfast in a meeting. But in the afternoon you can eat more fruits and vegetables. You have the opportunity to make a change. Even if you've made a bad decision five minutes ago, this is a whole new five minutes.

JENNIFER: Right, right.

TRISHA: And I think that's really, really important because people often go Oh I blew the whole thing, I blew the whole day--

JENNIFER: I'm going to have that pizza.

TRISHA: It's like I had doughnuts for breakfast, I might as well have pizza for dinner. But that's really wrong-headed thinking. You just want to say everytime I make a choice to eat, everytime I make a choice to exercise, it's a new opportunity to meet my goal and to eat healthier and to move my body.

JENNIFER: Excellent thank you so much Trisha. I'm Jennifer Morris for howdini.

meet theexpert
  • Trisha Calvo

    Trisha Calvo Executive Editor, Shape Magazine Trisha Calvo has been a health and nutrition editor for more than 15 years, joining Shape in 2005 as deputy editor for health and nutrition and became the executive editor in 2006. more about this expert »

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