Nearly everyone is carrying around a few extra pounds, whether we would like to admit it or not. According to the FDA, around 50 million Americans go on diets every year. All too often, we want to lose our weight without sacrificing anything. However, that is not a valid option. Many ads bend the truth or even give outright lies about their weight loss products. There is still hope, though. I have at my disposal ten tips for successful weight loss that have helped me to lose 25 pounds. I hope these tips can help you with your own weight loss.
If anyone out there is thinking about the New Year’s resolution that most of us make, but few of us keep (i.e. weight loss), then a simple plan is all you need! I have compiled 10 tips that have helped me in my own personal weight loss journey, and I hope they are both informational and helpful for those that are following in my footsteps. An extra bonus is that each of the weight loss tips has a rhyming keyword that should help you to remember what each one stands for. If you take the time to memorize the keywords, then you should be able to recall the tips wherever you may be!
Eat right! In my experience, my nutrition (what I eat) makes up about 80% of my weight loss success. I am a runner, and even when I run twenty five miles a week, I can gain weight if I am not eating properly. I want to stress that this is the most important factor in weight gain and weight loss! When I started my own plan, I realized that I was eating on average less than one piece of fruit per day. Therefore, the first step I took was to incorporate one fruit or vegetable per day into my nutrition plan. After I became accustomed to only one per day, I started adding more. For example, I have three fresh fruit items on my menu today. It was a small step at first, but it really made a difference over the long haul. I can’t stress enough the importance of eating right to lose weight!
Get active! Just about anyone can cycle or walk, and they should! In the first tip, I mentioned eight-percent of my success was attributed to eating; that means that the other twenty-percent was attributed to my exercise. I have been a dedicated runner for many years, but this year I decided to drop some of the extra weight I was carrying in order to be a better runner and take the stress off of my anklesknees. Whether you are a couch potato or athlete, everyone has to start somewhere. On average, walking a mile will burn about one-hundred calories. That might not sound like much compared to a two-thousand calorie per day total, but it can really make a difference in weight loss over time. Plus, getting exercise has a boatload of other health benefits that I won’t take the time to get into (but others would be glad to).
Lock out bad habits! If you attempt to instantaneously make every single change listed here, you will probably join the ranks of those that are disheartened by failure. However, if you take your time, ease into the process, and make changes gradually, then you have a better chance of finishing this thing successfully. Everyone has heard “You’ve got to walk before you can run.” Well, you’ve got to take it slow, or you may fall on your face. Instead of trying to instantly cut your eating, add in exercise, and get frustrated at the scale, you should start with 1-2 changes and slowly and steadily add in 1-2 more until you have mastered both sides of the weight loss equation (calories eaten versus calories burned). I believe that Weight Watchers once changed their slogan to something resembling “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change.” If you have noticed, I have not used the word “diet” anywhere in this article (outside this tip, of course). I want to break people of that bad habit. Apparently, I’m not the only one. Of the dozens of fad diets, including low-fat diets, low-carb diets, crash diets, celebrity diets, cabbage diets, macrobiotic diets, Paleolithic diets, Zone diets, Atkins diets, etc., none is particularly healthy over the long-term. While those diets may help you with weight loss initially, you probably don’t want to depend on a diet for the rest of your life.
Get some shut-eye! Too many of us sleep less than the optimum amount. Scientists have found that not getting enough sleep can trigger our bodies to overeat in order to make up for the deficit. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard enough time trying to fight my brain about eating without giving it some extra help! Another benefit of more sleep that I have utilized is that when I started cutting back on my eating and was hungry often, I would go to sleep not too long after dinner, which allowed me to bypass those late-night candy/cookie urges. I think this was one of my first weight loss breakthroughs personally.
Be accountable! While it may be easy to skip a workout or eat an extra cookie when you are on your own weight loss plan, having someone else work with you can dramatically increase your chances of success. Why do you think so many of the companies like Weight Watchers do great business? Every time there is a weigh-in, people are thinking about being accountable to others, so they work harder to meet their goals. If you work with a friend, then you are much more likely to do the right things for your body. Don’t think of your partner as a warden or a supervisor (after all, they are in the same weight loss situation as you!); think of them as a source for encouragement, understanding, and accountability.
Eat more often! Another tool that helped me was expanding my daily meals from three to five or six. When you eat three meals a day, your metabolism spikes after the meals, and then it drops afterward, causing you to be hungry again. However, if you plan your day for 5-6 smaller meals (to make approximately the same number of calories as you were eating in the three meals), then you can keep your metabolism higher with less variance. That means A) you burn more calories with higher metabolism, and B) you no longer get so hungry that you eat everything in sight. You always know the next meal is right around the corner, so there is less pressure to overeat. It takes at least two weeks to accustom your body to this, but I think it is definitely worth the effort if you are serious about weight loss.
Take a break! Like I said in tip three (remember three-key?), trying to go all-out from the beginning will leave you desperate, hungry, and in despair in short order. Take it slow and steady, and let yourself have some treats. Indulge your sweet tooth with a little chocolate now and then to reward yourself for a job well done. Also, some say that “cheating” a little can re-invigorate you for the road ahead. Just make sure that you don’t go crazy and regret your actions later. A sabotaged weight loss plan can take a while to get back on track!
Cut your portions! Do you fill your plate when you eat dinner? If so, what if your plate was smaller? There have been studies done that concluded that people who eat from larger dinnerware end up eating more. We’ve always been taught to “eat everything on our plate,” but it’s time to push back against that old adage, because it’s making our country’s citizens more than a little plump.
Does that dress fit better? Is your belt tighter by a notch or two? Do your legs look and feel better in your favorite jeans? Is your cholesterol down a few points? These are just some of the things that you can look for when you are on your own weight loss journey. Every little victory is another shove in the right direction. Even when everything seems hopeless, remember that it’s always darkest before the dawn.
Make S.M.A.R.T. goals! That acronym stands for:
Specific-make sure you know what you want before you even begin weight loss
Measurable-keep up with weight loss progress; it’s fun to look back on how you overcame your struggles
Attainable-your weight loss goal should push you to excel
Reasonable-your weight loss goal should not be unhealthy!
Timely-having a timeframe in mind will help you not to put your weight loss on the back burner until next year
Sit down and write out your goals. There are many ways to achieve your goals, but it’s up to you to get from point A to point B.
By memorizing and following these ten tips for successful weight loss, I believe that anyone can be who they want to be! Remember, it might not be fast, easy, or free, but it might be the best decision you make in your quest to be the healthiest you can be!