“Lose weight” is often something we put on an individual goal list, or something we refer back to as we make our New Year’s resolution each year. Some of us try fancy programs or weight loss plans, new exercise routines or fad diets. The list of excuses for why our weight loss attempts fail is seemingly endless.
But why not get the body you’ve always wanted, once and for all? Here are ten weight loss tips (that are really more of lifestyle changes) to help you not only shed the extra pounds, but keep them off, too.
Small Changes, Big [Weight Loss] Results
- Establish the reasons you want to lose weight. To look better in a bikini? To live longer? To fit into the pair of jeans you bought four years ago and never wore? We all have our own personal motivations for weight loss and fitness goals, so think about what yours are specifically.
Once you have determined what your goals are, and more importantly why you want to achieve them, write them down. That way, when you feel like skipping the gym, eating an entire cake by yourself, or giving up on your fitness goals completely, you have a ready-made reminder of why you shouldn’t quit. This will help avoid setbacks and keep your eye on the prize.
- Weigh yourself. There are plenty of opinions about this advice, and many fitness and health enthusiasts advise avoiding scales entirely. But more and more evidence is pointing towards the scale as a friend to weight loss, rather than a foe.
The main advantage of stepping on the scale is awareness. When you weigh yourself daily (or every other day) you can see how your weight fluctuates naturally, how different eating habits impact your weight, and, most importantly, your own progress. There is nothing better for fitness motivation than seeing evidence of your own success!
- Pack your own snacks, especially when you know you will be in a place without many healthy choices. If you have your own healthy (and filling) option, you will be less tempted to nibble on whatever is available.
Examples include: packing raw almonds for the movies (instead of choosing buttery popcorn), bringing a veggie tray to a potluck (to avoid the chips and dip), and bringing fresh fruit to eat on long car rides (so you don’t raid the convenience store for sustenance).
- Choose metabolism-boosting foods. We know our metabolism is partially based on genetics, but it’s not completely outside of your control.
If foods like blueberries, salmon, spinach, and turkey sound like “healthy options,” it’s because they are.These foods (among many others) work to naturally give your metabolism a kickstart and get you on the fast track to your weight loss goals.
- Exercise in the morning, or before you get home for the day. Weight loss without exercise is rarely achievable. Starting your day with a workout is a great way to get yourself in a healthy mindset and get your energy up first thing in the morning.
If you aren’t a morning person, or AM workouts just aren’t your thing, pack your exercise clothes in your work bag. Heading straight to the gym or out for a run after work will help you avoid the trap of going home, getting comfortable, and deciding you’d rather not leave again for the evening.
- Try portion control instead of swearing off food groups entirely. But be aware of portion sizes. One serving is probably less than you think.
Research has shown that people respond to visual cues for portion sizes, so use tricks like the “palm-size” rule for protein, and eat off smaller plates to trick your brain into thinking you’re actually getting a much larger portion.
- Avoid liquid calories. Many of us don’t even realize how many calories we are drinking, and yes, they impact your body just like the calories you eat.
If you’re thinking “but I don’t drink soda,” look for where other liquid calories might be hiding in your diet. Milk in your cereal? Cream in your coffee? A glass of wine after work? You’ll need to consider all of these when thinking about your calorie intake for the day.
- Start small by replacing one meal with a healthier option. Instead of swinging by a fast food place to get a breakfast sandwich on the way to work, try making whole wheat toast with avocado instead.
Once a healthy breakfast is part of your daily routine, swap your lunch for a cleaner choice. Eventually, you’ll pack your meals and cooking healthy dinners every day, and the change won’t seem so abrupt or unattainable.
- Drink more water with meals, throughout the day — especially instead of other high-calorie drinks. In addition to helping you feel more satisfied at meals and less hungry throughout the day, increasing water intake can actually help you burn more calories.
Though advice for water consumption varies based on weight and activity level, adults should generally aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
- Treat yourself because you deserve it! Being too restrictive with your diet can lead to binges and other unhealthy eating habits.
You’ll stay motivated and on track if you allow yourself a treat once a week or so, instead of completely denying your cravings. Plus, a Friday treat serves as a small milestone to look forward to for sticking to your healthy habits all week!
Follow these ten tips for a healthier lifestyle and get on the path to your weight loss goals sooner.