What can I do to get started with my weight loss?

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Answered by: Wes, An Expert in the Weight Loss 101 Category
Setting a goal for yourself is one thing. It's the first and most important step on your journey. But now that you have something to shoot for, how do you make sense of the literally millions of different pieces of information without getting totally overwhelmed? Well I had the same problem before I started doing some hardcore research. Of all the things I found, these seemed to have helped me out the most, so if you find yourself completely at a loss, here are a few things to get started.Reddit:

Reddit is a social bookmarking community, which means that users post links for discussion with other users. On Reddit, links are sorted into different categories called "subreddits." The topics of these subreddits can range anywhere from philosophical and political discussion to pictures of kittens, pretty much anything you can think of. Great way to kill time if you're not looking for anything in particular, and an excellent resource if you are. One day I just happened to stumble upon one subreddit, r/loseit. You can see that it's an entire community devoted to weight loss, with members of all different sizes and skill levels. Seeing all these success stories is the first thing that really got me motivated . So I started digging deeper, checking out all the success stories and tips, seeing how everyone lost their weight. My digging around eventually led me to r/fitness, which has ended up being my main personal resource for all things fitness. Member skill ranges from barely being able to lift a dumbbell to competitive powerlifters who can deadlift a PT Cruiser, but everyone is super friendly and supportive.

Fitocracy:Another fitness community (are you noticing a pattern here?), but unlike Reddit, Fitocracy is more similar to Facebook in that you can make friends with people, share status updates, comment on other workouts, etc. But what really sets Fitocracy apart is its tracking and "leveling" system: from your dashboard, you log whatever kind of workout you did that day and receive experience points for it. You start off at level one, but when you accumulate enough experience points you level up. Having a higher level doesn't do anything other than promote friendly competition among the community.

If you don't know where to start with your workout, Fitocracy has plenty of suggestions, called "quests." Each quest is a workout or challenge, and completing them will get you more experience points and bragging rights. You can find quests for any skill level to help you get started, or give you something to mix up your workout with. You can join groups to connect with more people and get more quests. Connect Fitocracy with Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr for maximum showing off, and download the iPhone and Android apps to log any workout, anywhere!

Zombies, Run!:

If you're like me, you're not the biggest fan of running. If you're like me, you love a good zombie game. If you're like me, Zombies, Run! will not only get you off your ass and our for a run, but you'll actually enjoy it and look forward to when you can go again. I know, I sound like a crazy person, but bear with me.

Zombies, Run!, available for $7.99 on the App Store, Google Play, and Windows Phone, is an interactive story game that immerses you into Abel Township, a small colony of human survivors established after some sort of zombie apocalypse. You are among a group of Runners, citizens whose job it is to scout the surrounding areas and gather supplies while outrunning zombie hordes.

The overall story is broken up into a few dozen episodes, each lasting 30 minutes to 1 hour, and the narrative mixes with music from your own library to keep you from losing interest. Sometimes I like to make a Beatles playlist and call it British Infestation. Each mission will get you items which you can use to build up Abel Township. The more you run, the more items you get. You can also add sprints to your run by choosing the "Zombie Hordes" option, which will force you to up your speed to outrun an exceptionally fast group of zombies.

The best part is that it works with all skill levels, so even walkers can enjoy the game. There's even a 5k training version for $3.99, perfect for beginners!

myfitnesspal:

The single most important part of fitness is watching what you eat. And if you hate math as much as I do, it's also the part that sucks the most. Hell, one of the reasons I got my degree in public relations is because of how little math is involved. Which is why I love myfitnesspal. Just make your fitness profile (height, weight, activity level, and how much weight you want to lose), and it'll give you an idea of what and how much you should eat. All you have to do is punch in what you eat, and MFP organizes everything into a nice, easy-to-read spreadsheet. That's it, no math.

League of Legends:

When all I was doing was working and going to the gym I had a lot of free time, so I was playing a lot of League of Legends. What does this have to do with fitness? Absolutely nothing. Which is exactly what makes it such a good fitness resource. Now stay with me here, it'll make sense soon.

Downtime is important. Your resting time is just as important as the time you spend in the gym. Your muscles need time to recover so they can get stronger and sexier. Don't feel guilty or think you aren't spending enough time in the gym. Enjoy your downtime!

Set rules for yourself. In order to actually meet my weight goals, I had to make a deal with myself. I could only play League after I did some sort of workout that day. It kept me motivated through the days I really didn't feel like going to the gym and kept me from skipping workouts.

Sometimes you just need a good distraction. When you're cutting calories, especially when you're first starting out, you need some time to get used to the change. Which means there are going to be times when you're hungry between meals and you need something to keep your mind off it so you don't end up grazing. For me, League of Legends was perfect for that. One match can last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half. Sometimes I would have bad matches and feel the need to immediately redeem myself in another match. Sometimes I would have good matches and feel the need to continue my winning streak. Before I knew it three hours would go by and it'd be dinnertime. I know, I'm a loser.

Obviously what League of Legends was for me could be something completely different for you. A book, a movie, shopping, whatever you're into that's not counterproductive to your goals (so not cookies, unfortunately). Just play mind games with yourself.

Obviously this doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what all's out there. But for now, this should be plenty to get started. The only thing I didn't list, the most important thing, is your attitude. Stay positive!

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