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How To Start Your Weight Loss Journey

You’re here because you want to make a change in your life, but don’t know where to start?

You’ve come to the right place.

To reduce this overwhelming process, we’re going to guide you through some super useful tips and tricks to get you started and progressing on your weight-loss journey, suggest some methods to help find what works for you, as well as highlighting some common mistakes for you to avoid. 

 

 

How to set yourself up for weight loss success (and find what works for you)

 

1. Accept this is a long-term venture.

Commit to your health as an ongoing piece of your life’s puzzle, with a whole lotta patience and consistency required to truly achieve success in your weight loss efforts. Ditch the quick-fix-yoyo-diets and read on to learn what it really takes.

 

2. Consider getting some help.

There’s no question that this is an overwhelming process, and there’s no need to go it alone. There are plenty of professionals who can lend a helping hand where you might need it. Whether it be your GP, a dietician, or even a therapist to help unpack your unhealthy relationship with food, you will no doubt find their recommendations, accountability and support to be a valuable resource. Our Crunch staff are also a great place to start.

 

3. Have an air-tight plan.

We’ve all heard that ‘failure to plan is a plan to fail’, an old saying that couldn’t be more true here. To put it as simply as we can, weight is only lost through a calorie deficit, which means you consume fewer calories than your body burns each day. 

 

It really can be as simple as a daily 300-calorie deficit, no extremes are needed especially if you want to maintain muscle tone. It’s best to focus on achieving this mostly through diet, and not through excessive exercise. 

 

Achieving this consistently is going to take a clear plan that you can follow, taking the guesswork out of each meal and each workout. For starters, it’s a good idea to get a clear picture of what your weekly food intake looks like. 

 

This can be done easily with a food diary on your phone/notebook. Take each day as it comes, be radically honest and don’t pass any judgment. This is a great way to spot patterns and gives you an opportunity to understand what goes on at different times of the day and the feelings behind those food choices. Once you have a visible layout of your current diet, it’s time to make some healthy changes.

 

4. Substitute, substitute, substitute.

We’re gonna say it again, get highly creative with your dietary substitutions. This method is by far the easiest way to create a calorie deficit without even really substantially changing your eating habits. Making nutritious and/or low-cal swaps is a great entryway into a healthier lifestyle. The concept is simple, take what you currently love, and look into what can be swapped out to lower the overall calories within the meal, whilst retaining the main flavour/texture/enjoyment. There is a multitude of blogs and infographics available online to give you hundreds of tips and ideas, but just to start you off, here are some of our favourite examples. 

 

OriginalSubstitute
Full-sugar soft drinksZero-sugar soft drinks
Coffee with full cream milk + sugarCoffee with Skim / Almond milk + sweetener
BeerLow-carb / zero alcohol beer
Sour CreamGreek Yoghurt + apple cider vinegar
SpaghettiZuchini noodles
RiceCauliflower rice
ChipsAir-popped pop corn
IcecreamProtein icecream of blended frozen fruit
Chocolate cakeChocolate protein mug cake

 

 

5. Preparation is the key to success.

If you were waiting for us to mention meal or food prepping, you were right. Being (mostly) prepared for the week ahead really will make or break your progress. There are so many variations to fit anyone’s preference, so no, it doesn’t necessarily mean eating the same meal again and again out of plastic containers for the rest of the time. 

 

A great place to start might just be prepping a high-protein breakfast like overnight oats. These can easily be made in a batch on Sunday afternoon and frozen, ready to be heated up fresh each morning. Or if the weather is warmer and you feel like a smoothie on the go, smoothie bags can be prepped in just the same way, simply pop it all in the blender with some water or milk of choice and blend. 

 

After a couple of weeks of this easy morning routine, you’ll never look back and you’re ready to plan and prep another main meal. Again, you might find cooking one large batch on a Sunday and having all your dinners ready for the week works great for you, or you might hate the idea of that repetition. 

 

In that case, it can work really well just to prep your protein and carbs, for example, chicken and rice, and then have different sauces/seasonings and fresh/roasted veggies with each meal for variety. 

 

Meal prepping can be as interesting (or boring) as you make it. Start off slow, be realistic with what you like and don’t like, and create your own custom meal plan.

 

6. Consider a Meal Plan.

Overwhelmed by the idea of trying to figure it all out on your own? Maybe what you need is a meal plan written by someone else for you to follow. These take all the research and guesswork out of the process, and can introduce you to new foods and cooking methods you would have otherwise never known of! Meal plants are a dime a dozen online, so be careful of buying into an unqualified Influencer’s regime. It’s best to contact a dietitian for something custom (but most importantly balanced) to your needs.

 

7. Strapped for time?

So you’re sold on the idea of high protein, clean and healthy meals, but don’t have the time to shop or cook them for yourself? Don’t worry, there are plenty of ready-to-eat fresh and frozen meals available on the Australian market. Check out Macros, MyMuscleChef, YouFoods and Core Powerfoods, just to name a few.

 

Realistically, you might actually utilise multiple strategies at once to achieve your weekly goals. There is nothing wrong with bulk-prepping your own breakfasts, buying ready-to-eat meals for your lunches at work and following an interesting meal plan for your dinners. Switch things up until you find something that works. 

 

Regardless of how you organise your meals, quality lean protein should be prioritised for muscle growth and repair, along with healthy fats for satiety and last but not least complex carbs to support energy production. 

 

Additionally, make sure to eat enough fibre throughout the day, ​​which doesn’t get absorbed or stored but instead expands and slows the emptying of the stomach, sending signals to the brain that you are full. Try adding oats, legumes, fruit, vegetables and seeds. 

 

8. Take it in stages.

Here at Crunch, we’re big on sustainable habits, so if you’ve got a substantial amount of weight to lose, we recommend taking it in stages. It’s far better to reassess how you’re looking, feeling and performing at each 5kg milestone, rather than obsessing about constantly getting smaller. It’s also easier to have a period of maintenance at each interval, to ensure you can keep the weight off. This allows your body to readjust and get used to its new baseline, before cutting the calories again.

 

9. Decide how you’ll track your progress.

There are heaps of other ways to assess your overall progress, both physical and emotional. 

 

Regularly check in with yourself and take note of how you are feeling, are you generally tired or energetic? Motivated or lethargic? Are you maintaining your strength or is increasing or declining? How do your clothes fit? Are you enjoying food or feeling stressed out and restricted? 

 

The number on the scale is one useful metric, but it shouldn’t be the ‘be all and end all’ of your goals. We do not recommend weighing or measuring every day, but if you choose to take measurements like arms, bust, waist, hips or thighs, remeasure and log once a fortnight or so to allow your body time to adjust. 

 

Another useful method is taking progress photos: in the same outfit, in the same pose and in the same lighting. Editing this time-lapse together is immensely rewarding as you will be able to visually see your progress; something that is not otherwise discernible day-to-day.

 

10. Increase your daily activity.

What’s the only way to burn more calories? Simple, you gotta move more. This doesn’t mean running a marathon every morning, but could simply be taking the stairs instead of the elevator, getting off the bus/train a stop early and walking the final distance to work or taking the dog for an extra walk (they will love you for this). This kind of gentle incidental movement will get your steps up and help boost your total daily calories burned. 

 

11. Listen to Nike and Just Do It.

Because there really is no time like the present to take the plunge. At some stage, after all the research, planning and hyping yourself up, you’ll have to just start. It’s always better to be on the journey and tweak as you go rather than waiting till ‘the perfect time’ to start. You got this, we believe in you. 

 

Be sure to get in touch with us for a free day pass, which enables you to come in and smash a workout and chat with our experienced trainers about any questions you’ve got surrounding your weight loss journey.

 

 

Common mistakes people make and how to avoid them 

 

As with anything new, you will inevitably make some mistakes. We’re here to minimise that impact and keep you going strong.

 

1. Don’t be tempted to be highly restrictive or make extreme changes.

Diets don’t work, and here’s why: they are normally unrealistically restrictive (which may lead to short-term weight loss) they are, however, unsustainable, so you will inevitably return to your previous habits, leading to the weight returning just as fast as it was lost. 

 

Don’t totally cut carbs (trust us you need them) and don’t necessarily opt for ‘low fat’ options either (you need healthy fats too). There is absolutely no need to try to live off juices to “cleanse” your body, or to completely skip a meal to put yourself in a calorie deficit. 

 

Don’t label foods as “good” or “bad”, just focus on choosing clean whole foods most of the time, and enjoy treats along the way too.

 

2. There are no quick fixes.

Avoid anything that promises to be fat burning, even the shiny supplements, as there really is no such thing. Don’t buy that ‘skinny detox tea’ (low-key just a laxative) or get sucked into a sweat-inducing body wrap. Patience is key.

 

3. Going too hard too soon.

We all know how doms (delayed onset muscle soreness) can quickly derail a new fitness programme, so take it easy and slowly ramp up the physical activity over the coming months, instead of going 1-100 in your first week. Your body takes time to adapt, trust the process.

 

4. Not focusing enough on Recovery.

Rest and hydration are the most notable factors to start off with, but it’s also worth incorporating a mobility/stretching routine into your week as you progress. Your body will be in a highly stressed state if it’s dehydrated and exhausted, so up your water intake and make sure you’re sleeping at night. 

 

5. Not staying focused.

Decide why you want to make this lifestyle change, and don’t lose sight of that. Don’t rely on motivation to get you through, as motivation is fleeting and unreliable. Instead, focus on cultivating a disciplined mindset. But never forget, Having a slip-up or making a mistake doesn’t, in any way, make you a failure. Get back on the horse straight away and keep on going. 

 

 

Every journey starts with a single step

 

You will be successful with your weight loss if you spend the time finding out what works for you and nailing the basics. 

 

There is no need to try to tackle everything at once, and getting some professional help early on can help you set realistic goals and reduce the overwhelm. 

 

Focusing on starting small and adopting healthy lifestyle habits like nourishing your body with fruits, veggies and water, getting enough sleep and moving daily (and not just looking at what the scale reads) will keep you happy and healthy throughout the journey. 

 

It’s vital to not be too hard on yourself when you fall back into old eating habits, move on and take the very next meal as an opportunity to get back on track. 

 

And rest assured, our Crunch Fitness professionals are always here to help you along the way, wherever you’re at. 

 

 

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY

Crunch Fitness Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the lands across Australia as the continuing custodians of Country and Culture. We pay our respect to First Nations peoples and their Elders, past and present.

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