Let’s get this out of the way: I am not a fan of diets. Eating is something you will be doing every day for the rest of your life, so it shouldn’t be about restriction and deprivation. Food can be fun and delicious, even when you are trying to lose weight. Rearrange those letters in the word “diet” and “edit” what you eat instead. Choose healthy most of the time and plan indulgences on occasion. If you are ready to finally lose that weight for good (you know, never see it again good) then leave diets behind forever and follow these 10 tips!
1) Don’t expect the weight to come off fast.
While it’s great to set new goals, it’s equally important to be realistic about what you’re pursuing. You aren’t going to become a gym rat overnight if you hate going to the gym. You also shouldn’t set a goal to drop 20 pounds in one month. Setting unrealistic goals can set you up to give up. Start smaller and just move your body more. Resolve to go to the gym two times a week if you never used to go before. Or focus on a few pounds of weight loss at a time. Aim for small wins so you don’t throw in the towel when you don’t have instant success. Remember: It takes time to gain weight; it takes time to lose it.
2) Realize exercise and what you eat are married… forever.
You can’t lose weight with one and not the other—period. There’s no getting around it. You can’t exercise your way out of eating junk. If you work out a ton and use it as a free pass to eat whatever and as much as you want, you won’t see the results you hope to see. Too often people overestimate calories burned and underestimate calories consumed. Eat nutritiously and exercise and lock those two things together for a powerful combination that will lead to results. Don’t forget, it takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose one pound. Consistently burn more than you consume and you will be on your way to weight loss.
3) Eat the rainbow.
If everything you eat has a long list of ingredients (that you can’t pronounce) and comes out of a can or box, it’s time to eat clean! Look for seasonal fruits and veggies (they are less expensive) and go for a rainbow of food colors on your plate as a way to gauge the nutritional value of your food. When you aspire to eat colorfully, you are also more likely to get your five servings of fruits and veggies each day. Eat whole, fresh foods and reduce the amount of processed foods you consume.
4) Same habits equal same results.
If you always do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always got. If you aren’t getting results, change what you are doing. If you are successful in losing weight and later gain it back, it’s probably because you stopped doing what led to your weight loss in the first place. Take note of what works for you. Consistent good habits lead to results. Here’s a habit you can start doing today … you’ve heard it before, but it’s so important if you want your body to work efficiently: drink more water!
5) Ramp it up slowly.
If you dislike exercise or have a challenge getting it on your schedule, make incremental changes each week. Take a walk after dinner. Do some bodyweight exercises at home for 20 minutes or while you watch TV. Sometimes starting is the hardest part. Build upon your healthy habits each week—adding more time to your workouts or working out more frequently. You can ramp up your healthy eating habits in the same way—one small improvement at a time. You will slowly be transitioning into a healthier lifestyle.
6) Ditch excuses.
I have heard them all—from lack of time to lack of motivation and everything in between. Excuses won’t lead to results. Excuses leave you stuck. For every problem there’s a solution. If time is your challenge, put exercise on your schedule like any other appointment. It may mean getting up earlier or exercising with your kids—but if it’s important to you, you will prioritize it. If it’s motivation you lack, just start. You will be amazed at how just starting an exercise regimen can boost your motivation.
7) Mix it up.
If you do the same exercise routine week to week you may plateau and not see the results you want. Your body likes surprises. Mix up your routine with a different workout or different intensity and you’ll break through your weight loss plateau in no time. Make sure your exercise plan has both cardio and strength training, and be sure to add some HIIT or “high intensity interval training” to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.
8) Watch your portions.
Often what we are eating isn’t necessarily a bad choice, but we are eating too much of it. It’s important to monitor the quantity of what you’re eating, in addition to the quality. Pay close attention to your intake at restaurants where the portions are huge. Ask for a to-go box with your order and take half home to eat for another meal.
9) Be accountable.
Either get a workout partner to help inspire you and keep you on track, or get an accountability partner who you can check in with once a week for support. Why go it alone when you can partner up with someone for those days when it’s tougher to keep going? An accountability partner can prevent you from sliding back into old, bad habits by keeping you cognizant of your choices and reminding you of your goals. Join your friends in a good sweat session and consider some other great resources like online workout memberships or fitness trackers.
Medical evidence suggests some fascinating links between sleep and weight. According to the Mayo Clinic, how much you sleep and the quality of your sleep may silently orchestrate a symphony of hormonal activity tied to your appetite. A lack of sleep can make you ravenously hungry. Aim for seven to eight hours a night to keep your appetite in check and maintain a healthy weight.
The bottom line is this: weight loss can happen when you focus on all of those small decisions you make each day. They add up to a healthy, happy you. Someone who not only feels good about their body but has more energy, balance, and happiness than they did before. So what are you waiting for? Start the journey to better health by following these weight loss tips. I’m here for you every step of the way!