It’s that time of year again.  With the snow melting and winter finally coming to an end, most of us are thinking about springtime, sunshine…and finally getting all that damn winter weight off.

Unfortunately, that last one is something that a lot of women procrastinate on.  Rather than getting started on the diet now, they decide to wait until summer comes around to actually do something about it.

Big mistake.  Because if you’re like most people, and you think dropping 10 kg is going to be a walk in the park that can be done in a few weeks…well, you might want to rethink your strategy if your goal is to lean down for the warm weather.

Here’s why it’ll probably be harder than you think.

Why It Always Takes Longer

The vast majority of women who go on a diet fail.

That’s the reality.  And if you’ve ever tried, and failed, to lose weight, you may have noticed that, more times than not, you tend to fall into the majority.

What’s interesting though is WHY they fail.  And while there are a number of factors (abundant food supply, sedentary living, stressful lifestyles, etc), one of the major reasons is that many simply give up.

Think about the last diet you went on – if you’re like most women, chances are you didn’t fail at it right away.

You probably started off strong for the first few days.  You also, most likely, started seeing some decent progress as a lot of the “bloat” started falling off.

But as the days turned into weeks, thing started getting tougher.  Not only is this the time when cravings and hunger start to set in, but it’s also the time when progress starts to stall.

And it’s right around this time that most women start to quit – ESPECIALLY if they’ve been reading any of the “lose 15 kilograms in 30 days” nonsense that fills most fitness magazines.

So, here’s the deal – if you want to diet successfully, you need to understand WHY you’re stalling, and PLAN for it.

And as it turns out, there’s a very good reason for this.  You see, the initial 1-2 kilos you experience during the first few days on a diet isn’t actually fat.  It’s “water weight”, and it’s shed by a sudden decrease in calories (if you’re doing a low carb diet, the effect is even more pronounced).

Now, with that said, while this water weight may not be fat, it does look like fat, and it’s the reason why everyone gets that initial boost in confidence when looking in the mirror.

But it’s important to remember that it’s not sustainable.  After the first few days of cutting calories, your body will switch from shedding water to shedding fat – and shedding fat takes a lot longer.

It also, unfortunately, gets harder the longer you diet…but contrary to popular opinion, this has nothing to do with your metabolism “slowing down”.

Remember, losing weight is all proportional – the more fat you have to lose, the greater the number coming off the scale each week.  As you get leaner and leaner, you can expect the amount of weight coming off to be less and less as well.

Be patient.

What You Can REASONABLY Expect

So, now that you understand why your expectations are probably unreasonable, let’s talk about how you should approach things from a realistic perspective.

Generally speaking, if you’re doing everything right (cutting calories, exercising a few times per week, etc), you can expect 1/2 to 1 kilo per week of weight loss (after the initial drop in water weight).

This, of course, depends on where you’re starting from.  If you’re already quite lean, and you just have 2-4 kilograms to lose, then it may be as low as half a pound per week.  If you’re extremely overweight, then you may actually find yourself losing up to 2 (just remember that it won’t last).

But, generally speaking, ½ to 1 kilo per week is a good ballpark number to keep in mind.

This little reality check may come as a disappointment to some of you.  But it’s important to understand that this adds up quick.  After 10 weeks of consistent dieting, 1 kilogram turns into 5-10 kilograms of pure fat– definitely nothing to sneeze at.

How To Diet For Longterm Success

If you want to lose weight, and especially if you want to be lean by the time summer rolls around, it’s important that you start dieting now, and start dieting RIGHT.

Here are a few tips to point you in the right direction.

Tip #1 – Count Calories

It may sound obvious, but you’d be absolutely shocked how few women actually do this.

Weight loss is fundamentally about calories in verses calories out.  It’s important that you keep track of this.   And it’s especially important to keep it up the longer you’re on a diet, since most of us have a bad habit of slacking after the first few weeks (i.e. pretending that a donut only has a 100 calories when it’s actually closer to 400).

Tip #2 – Resist “Extreme Dieting”

Remember, you’re going to be on this diet for a while (think 2-3 months rather than 2-3 weeks).  The last thing you want to do is make yourself miserable the whole time.

So, stick with a mild calories deficit (300-500 calories less per day), and make sure you’re not being too strict with your food choices (the odd piece of pizza or Krispy Kreme is perfectly acceptable).

Tip #3 – Measure, Measure, Measure

One of the most common dieting mistakes is relying on the mirror to determine whether or not you’re losing weight.

The problem is that the mirror lies – anyone who’s tried this method knows that there are good mirrors and bad mirrors, and lighting plays a huge factor.

Rather than make yourself crazy, make sure you’re keeping accurate measurements to ensure progress.  That means using the scale, but it also means keeping track of your waist and hip measurement (it’s fat you want to be losing, not just “weight”).

By following these steps, setting realistic goals and expectations, and, most importantly, starting NOW, you’ll be well ahead of everyone else scrambling to get the weight off when bikini season rolls around.