The Best Way to Build a Weight Loss Plan

Nutrition // Nigel Bartlett // 18 June 2015

“You’ve gotta have a plan, man.” It’s a favourite saying for Michelle Bridges – and with good reason. That’s because if you set out on a journey with no plan for where you’re going, how will you know how to get there? You might set off from Sydney to Cairns, but without planning your route you could end up in Perth!

It’s exactly the same with weight loss. A lot of people think they can just wing it and hope for the best – but that’s why they usually give up, feeling defeated. What they need is a clear plan that they can follow and which will lead them to their weight loss goal.

1. Where to Start With a Weight Loss Plan

So, you know you want to lose weight, but do you know how many kilos you want to drop? If not, that’s the first thing to decide. But how do you know what a healthy weight loss goal should be?

The best way for most people to do this is to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is a really useful way of working out whether you’re overweight, because it’s based on both your weight and your height. (A healthy weight for a person who’s 180cm tall is very different for someone who’s only 165cm!)

To be in a healthy weight range, you need to have a BMI of between 18.5 and 24.99 – use our BMI calculator to work out what yours is. Then, if you’re higher than 25, keep reducing the weight in the calculator to find out what your healthy weight should be – and that’s your goal.

Now, you’ll also need a realistic timeframe for your weight loss. A healthy amount of weight to lose is between 0.5 and 1kg per week, so if your BMI shows you need to lose 15kg, that would give you a timeframe of 15 to 30 weeks to do so in a realistic, healthy way.

(Having said that, the heavier you are, the more likely you are to lose more weight each week. But setting a realistic goal of 0.5kg to 1kg a week will stop that feeling of disappointment if you set too high or rapid a goal.)

2. Plan Your Meals for Weight Loss

Once you know your weight loss goal, the most important thing is to establish a healthy meal plan. A lot of people try to lose weight using fad diets, but while those might offer a short-term quick fix, they’re unlikely to be a long-term solution. As soon as you quit the diet, most people simply put the weight back on.

A more realistic alternative that offers long-lasting weight loss is to look at making lifestyle changes that you can stick to long-term. This involves ditching unhealthy ‘junk’ food that’s high in calories and low in nutrition and replacing it with meals based as much as possible on healthy whole foods. It’s no coincidence that many of the healthiest foods around are also the lowest in calories.

If you’re confused about where to begin, 12WBT’s Meal Plans are carefully thought out by our team of amazing dietitians and nutritionists, based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines. So you can rest assured they’ll meet all your nutritional requirements while helping you lose weight. And with more than 900 meals in our Recipe Index, you (and your family) will never get bored.

3. Create a Weight Loss Exercise Plan

As well as eating fewer calories in your healthy meal plan, you’ll also need to burn through calories with exercise. If you’ve not done any exercise for a while, it’s important not to do too much too soon, and it’s vital you see your doctor first before starting on any fitness program. But you’ll be surprised by how quickly you can build up the amount of exercise you’re doing each day – and by how much you’ll enjoy it!

Take it from experienced 12WBTer Bella, who once weighed 112kg and has now lost 45kg. She describes her former self as being an “anti-exerciser”, but now she loves moving every day.

You’ll need to include exercises that raise your heart rate and get you sweating. Aim for a combination of strength training (using weights or your own body weight) and cardio (such as home workout videos, classes at the gym, running or cycling) to get the best results. And make sure you incorporate some core work to tone up your abs, as well as stretching at the end of every session.

12WBT’s Exercise Plans are created to help you reach your goal. For weight loss, we offer six different programs, each one combining strength training, cardio days and core work and each program tailored to your level of ability and experience. 12WBT does all the thinking for you!

4. Keep Your Mind in Check

One of the biggest hurdles for most people wanting to lose weight is what goes on between their ears. Yep, we can be our own worst enemies, telling ourselves things that simply aren’t true: “I can’t do this,” “I’m not good enough,” “I’ve always failed at losing weight,” “I might as well resign myself to always being this way,” or even “Life’s all downhill from here.”

Any of these ring true for you? Or maybe you have your own devilish little tapes that replay themselves constantly in your head.

It’s important to recognise that none of the negative things we tell ourselves are facts. But that’s easier said than done. So it’s vital to find ways to deal with all those ways we sabotage ourselves and derail our weight loss plans.

That’s where 12WBT is different from other health and weight loss programs. Mish’s Mindset Lessons are an essential part of the program. From the power of Pre-Season to the twice weekly Mindset Videos that every Member receives during the Round, Mish makes sure she delves into every possible excuse you might have been telling yourself and every way you might have sabotaged yourself. And she reveals surefire ways to combat a lack of motivation and how to deal with those intense food cravings.

Think you can do without getting to grips with your Mindset issues? Take it from Mish, and her 25 years of experience helping people get fit and lose weight, dealing with those issues is what leads to permanent change.

Join 12WBT and get a weight loss plan that works – for good. You’ll receive weekly Meal and Exercise Plans, Mindset Videos, expert support and access to our Member Zone and loads more. 

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Denise Gray Reply

    Hi Michelle,
    I have a daughter who constantly eats junkfood. Pizza, McDonalds milkshakes brownies chips etc she doesn’t eat what the family has for dinner. She never cooks anything or prepares any food for herself She is about to turn 20 and has put on about 12kilos in the last year. if I try to talk to her about it she gets angry and aggressive, and will not talk to me about it. I exercise everyday and try to eat well. I pay for a gym membership for her but she very rarely goes. Do you have any suggestions on how I can get through to her I know she is unhappy with her weight and would like to change it. my heart aches for her when I see her. I took her jeans shopping2 months ago and she was devastated to find she is size 14 when 18 months ago she was size10. She refused to buy any jeans till she loses weight but still hasn’t done anything about it. I would love her to do your program but if I suggest that to her she would do the exact opposite. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Denise.

    1. Tanya Paolucci Reply

      Hi Denise,

      I can tell from your message that you are clearly very stressed about your daughter’s health. Although that stress is no doubt difficult for you to experience, it’s heartening to hear of your concern and desire to help her to be as healthy and happy as she can be. As frustrating as it is, the only person who can make the changes here is your daughter. You know that old saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink”? That applies exactly here.

      Perhaps you can talk to her about other things going on in her life. Your daughter is most likely well aware of the fact that she is not eating well, not exercising and is overweight – you don’t need to remind her of that. Instead of talking about her weight, the food she eats, etc., ask her about how she is feeling, what else is going on in her life, is she happy, what does she want, how you can you help, etc. Approach this with lots of love and patience… she may not yet be ready to open up to you about this but as long as she knows you are there to help, with love and no judgement, with time, she will. Just knowing that you’re there may be enough for her to look into 12WBT all by herself!

      We do empathise with you, it is very challenging to watch someone you care about, self destructing in front of your eyes and we wish you luck in your conversation with your daughter – a hard conversation but a potentially life changing one, and we’re backing you all the way!

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