I know that you’ve heard it a million times, but in order to lose weight you have to burn more calories than you consume. No one promised it would be easy to lose weight – and it’s not. But dieting doesn’t have to mean obsessive calorie counting, intense exercise, self deprivation and hunger. This type of dieting almost always leads to failure.
People who lose weight and keep it off succeed by adapting a healthy lifestyle, not by dieting. You should enforce healthy eating habits that will continue to be part of your life forever. Weight loss isn’t something you can do for a few weeks or months, it’s a life-long commitment.
Here are thirty tips that will help you adopt a slow and steady weight loss plan to help you lose weight and stay healthy.
- Start with achievable goals. A realistic weight loss goal is two pounds each week.
- Don’t expect to drop excess weight quickly. Research shows that people who lose weight slowly are more successful than others who experience quick weight loss.
- Slowly change your eating habits and lifestyle.
- Weigh yourself a maximum of once per week. Hopping on the scale every day will cause you to become obsessive and most likely a little disappointed. It actually takes as much as two weeks for any weight loss to occur.
- Eat smaller portions and replace three meals a day with five smaller ones. This helps to control blood sugar and calories burn easier from small, light meals.
- Mix carbohydrates, protein and fruit for a healthy meal.
- When enjoying your favorite snack, read the nutrition chart and measure the recommended amount into a bowl. Never eat snacks such as chips out of a bag. This leads to over-eating.
- Prepare measured snacks ahead of time. That way you can just go to the cupboard and get a small bag. Never go back for seconds.
- Drink flavored no-calorie water instead of soda, or add lemon juice or avocado juice to water for a refreshing, thirst quenching drink.
- Don’t use food for comfort or de-stressing.
- Leave the table immediately after you’ve finished eating. Avoid desserts or have a cup of low fat yogurt.
- When you are home and craving an extra rich treat, tie on your walking shoes and go for a walk. By the time you get home, the craving may have passed.
- Walk for at least 30 minutes a day. This can be broken into two 15 minute increments, if desired.
- Park your car at the outside edge of the parking lot (where it’s also much easier to get a parking space) and then walk to the store. This will help you achieve your minimum daily requirement of walking.
- Wear a pedometer and walk between 5,000 and 10,000 steps per day.
- Eat a bowl of broth-based soup, such as minestrone or vegetable, before eating your meal. This will take the edge off your hunger, causing you to eat less. Do not eat cream soups as they have a higher calorie count.
- Reward yourself once a week with a small treat. This helps you to avoid binge-eating.
- Never eat anything after 8 pm.
- Write down everything you eat. This helps you become more aware of your food intake and eating habits, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly it adds up.
- Keep food off the table. Place single servings on plates and position them on place settings. You’re more apt to take seconds if the food is within easy reach.
- Eat vegetables first. Vegetables have lots of fiber, which helps you feel full before you get to the carbohydrates and fattier portions of your meal.
- Put your fork down between mouthfuls of food. Chew thoroughly and swallow before picking up your fork for the next bite. This not only allows you to savor your food, but helps you to eat slower, improving digestion.
- Use an 8” dinner plate for meals instead of a full size dinner plate. This makes the 8” plate look like it’s packed with food, although you're still eating the appropriate portions. This can also help your body to feel full after a more accurately-portioned meal. Read our article "How to Lose Weight by Designing a Meal Plan" for some more tips!
- Use your best china and crystal frequently, or any other tableware that you love. Research shows that using pretty things when you eat lifts your spirits.
- Don't forget to learn to love yourself as you are. Beauty is in the heart and soul, and you should remind yourself that you are beautiful.
- Brush your teeth or chew a stick of sugar-free gum. These no-calorie activities effectively kill cravings.
- Have a glass of water or unsweetened tea — it’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger.
- When drinking tea, choose organic, whole-leaf green teas. Green tea boosts metabolism while also adding disease-fighting antioxidants to the diet in a low-calorie way.
- When baking, try swapping out refined (white) sugar with applesauce.
- Go shopping! Never underestimate the thrill you’ll feel when you can wear a smaller size.
Experiencing a Plateau?
If you’ve successfully lost several pounds but are just short of your goal, it’s time to change your routine. Although a healthy diet is the biggest factor when maintaining weight loss, you can avoid frustrating plateaus by modifying your exercise routine.
Switching from walking to jogging, biking or swimming may be just the trick to keep your goals within reach. Alternatively, consider using a smartphone calorie-counting app such as Lose It or My Fitness Pal to track your exercise and dietary habits. From eating too many carb-filled snacks to not burning enough calories, it’s easy to overestimate how much good our healthy habits are really doing.