Tips for losing weight — if you’ve just started a weight loss journey, or if you’ve just got a few more pounds before you reach your goal, chances are, you’re looking for a few. As someone who’s been through it, and with the advice of my personal trainer, I’ve got plenty of tips for losing weight to share, most of them easy to add to your routine (or take away!). Here are 20 of m favorite time-tested tips for losing weight.
1. Start Now!
The earlier you start building your healthier lifestyle, the easier it will be to lose weight, and keep it off. Not only will starting and setting these new healthy habits be easier the younger you are, but studies have shown that it’s more difficult to lose weight as your age, and your metabolism naturally slows.
2. Look at It as a Lifestyle Change
Here’s another “mental” tip for losing weight: instead of thinking of your journey as “weight loss,” think of it as more of a lifestyle change. It’s true, really. You’re not just losing weight. You really are making changes to your entire way of living: you’re becoming more active, fit, and healthy. Your relationship with food, eating, exercise, and body image is changing. It’s more than just weight loss.
3. Set a Realistic Goal
If you’re unhappy with your current weight, do you even know what you would like to weigh? A recent study illustrated that most women who are overweight have no concept of actual pounds. That’s fine! You don’t have to have a goal WEIGHT. You can have a goal size, a fitness goal… or a goal weight. Whichever you choose, make sure it’s realistic too. It’s NOT realistic to want to lose 50 pounds in a month. It’s not realistic to want to drop 6 dress sizes in a month. These ARE realistic goals for 6 months, or a year. If you’re not sure how to set realistic goals. Consult your doctor, a fitness coach, a personal trainer, or use the free tools at choosemyplate.gov
4. Cut out Soda
This is truly one of my simplest tips for losing weight. CUT OUT THE SODA! One serving of soda contains about 170 calories and almost 50 grams of sugar. That’s a lot of empty calories! If you can’t cut it out entirely, then at least switch to a zero-cal version.
5. Stick to the outside of the Grocery Store
Most people don’t notice this, but all of the healthful foods are on the outside edges of the super-market, with all the fattening, calorie-laden prepared foods (in cans and boxes) are on the inside aisles. If you stick to the outside edges, and avoid the inside aisles, you’ll make healthier eating options, and lose weight with greater ease. Fresh produce, lean meats, tasty whole grains — these are all found around the outside of the grocery store!
After dinner, go for a walk. While you’re shopping, don’t move the car; walk instead. When you get to work, park further away and walk. Walk, walk, walk everywhere, and you’ll burn more calories, and lose weight! You’ll also be far less stressed than the other girls who drive around the parking lot, looking for a closer parking space. Bonus!
7. Take the Stairs
Here’s a tip for losing weight you might not have thought of: rather than taking the elevator or the escalator, take the stairs! I used to work in a building with 35 floors, so it wasn’t always possible, but in the morning, I would get in, and rather than selecting my floor, I’d get off on whatever floor the other people pushed. If they got off on floor 18, I got in a good workout. If they got off on floor 30, it was still better than nothing. And the escalator in the mall? Skip it! Take the stairs instead!
8. Get a Weight Loss Buddy
If you have a friend who’s also trying to lose weight, pair up and encourage each other, and you’ll both have a greater chance at success! Don’t nag, don’t be a pest — but push each other gently, and celebrate each other’s successes.
9. Know the Math!
Basically, weight loss is a math problem. Really! To lose weight, you must USE more calories than you CONSUME. To gain weight, you must CONSUME more calories than you USE. See? It’s that simple. Really!
10. Keep Track
Okay, now that you know the math, here’s another tip for losing weight. KEEP TRACK of what you’re eating, and what you’re burning, to see if you’re on the right path for weight loss. Also, be aware that what YOU think is a serving size may be way off. Measure your food according to the nutrition label, then keep a food journal of what you eat, when, and how many calories you’re taking in. You’ll be surprised!
11. Move It!
No matter how many calories you cut, you won’t be fit until you add a regular exercise regimen to your lifestyle. Get up and move it, sister! You’ll feel better, look better, and lose weight faster.
12. Don’t Be Shy
It’s nearly impossible to diet in secret with any success. So don’t be shy! Let everyone know you’re on a major weight loss journey, and ask for help along the way. The people who love you will support you, and you’ll find out soon enough who your frenemies are, too.
13. Stay Away from the Scale
If you’ve decided to use a goal weight, rather than a jeans size, then do yourself a favor and stick to this tip for weight loss: don’t look at the scale! If you must, weigh yourself every week o ten days, but certainly don’t sabotage yourself by looking every day. They don’t even do that on “The Biggest Loser”!
14. Ban Negativity
Ok, so you gained a pound rather than losing three last week. Big deal! You’re human. You’re still successful and you’re still making progress. Here’s another key tip for weight loss: ban the negativity. Stop saying: I can’t. I didn’t. Focus on the positive, and you’ll have a much greater chance of long-term success.
15. Look for an Example
We all need positive role models. So choose a few role models for yourself, a find, relative, or celebrity you know that’s battled with their weight, or another unhealthy lifestyle choice, and won.
16. Cut out Fast Food
A few tips ago, I mentioned cutting out soda as a key tip for weight loss. Well, this one simple “cut” will make all the difference, too! Fast food is horrible. It’s loaded with fat, calories, sodium, and food-borne bacteria. The serving sizes are skewed to be way too large. No matter how tempted you are to save time by eating dinner or lunch at McDonald’s, check the nutrition facts and you’ll be fine.
17. Drink Water before You Eat
Did you know that often when you feel hungry, your body is actually thirsty? The next time you’re craving a snack, or you’re really hungry before a meal, try drinking a glass of water, then waiting five minutes. You’ll eat less, or maybe not even have a snack craving anymore.
18. Check the Label!
You would be surprised at the junk we eat. The artificial ingredients, the nasty chemical additives, the calories and fat! Before you buy or eat anything, check the nutrition label and imagine the serving size.
19. Consult Your Doc
Before you launch any lifestyle change, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor. Why? Well, if you have a pre-existing medical condition, your meds might need to be changed with your diet or exercise. You might also need to avoid certain exercises or foods or drinks. Also, your doctor might have some more useful tips for weight loss to share!
20. Hire a Pro!
If you want the greatest chance at success, you might want to consider hiring a professional personal trainer, fitness consultant, or dietician. No matter how motivated you are, there’s nothing like a network of people invested in making your goals attainable!
Now that you’ve read my tips for losing weight, do you think you can push through and meet your goals? I know you can do it! Which of these tips for losing weight do you think you’ll try first? Or do you have more weight loss tips to share, too? Please let me know!
Top Photo Credit: United Way Ballarat