25 Healthy Weight Loss Tips
Losing weight can feel like a losing battle sometimes. Fad diets abound, and scientific advice can change from what feels like day to day. If you are tired of weight gain, belly fat, or are afraid of developing health issues like heart disease and diabetes- it is important to take action to get your health on the right track. Here are 25 healthy ways to lose weight, improve your overall health, and not drive yourself crazy trying to do it!
1. First, See Your Doctor
If you have concerns about your weight or you’re beginning a weight loss program, you should start at the beginning and see your doctor. Vitamin deficiencies, certain illness, thyroid problems, and depression can all contribute to problems with weight. It’s an important first step to see your doctor, so they can rule out any potential health issues and give you their blessing to proceed with increased physical activity.
2. Track Everything
Pedometer and Calorie tracking watches, smartphone apps, and online calorie databases are all great resources to use when tracking your every bite and step. Counting calories can be very effective since weight comes down to calories in vs. calories out. If you are eating more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. And if you burn more calories than you consume in a day, you will lose weight. By using activity trackers and calorie tracking apps, you have a better picture of your food intake and how much you move. You may be surprised how low your activity level is or you may eat more than you thought you did. Consult a doctor or licensed nutritionist for advice on what your proper daily calorie intake should be based upon whether you want to maintain or lose weight.
3. Celebrate Victories
Setting goals along the way whether it be pounds or inches lost, steps in a day, being able to run a mile, etc. can help keep you motivated. In can be helpful to keep the motivation, especially if you celebrate the milestones. Massages, manicures, a new fitness outfit, a long walk or just time for yourself can help you maintain your momentum.
4. Don’t Deprive Yourself
You shouldn’t feel punished for eating a cupcake every once in awhile. Living healthy is all about balance. If you allow yourself to have treats once in awhile, you won’t feel deprived. A good rule of thumb is to eat clean and healthy about 80-85% of the time and enjoy your treats 15-20% of the time.
Many times what we perceive as hunger is just thirst. Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you’re exercising. Drinking a glass of water before meals can also help you eat less during the meal.
6. Find an Exercise You Love
Watching TV and lounging around will not help you improve your health. It is important to get regular physical activity and to get your heart rate up. No matter how ambitious your exercise plan, you’re not going to stick with it if you hate it. If you don’t know off the bat what exercise you like, make a point to try something different each week until you find something that you enjoy and want to continue with.
7. Make it a Family Affair
Changing your eating habits can be difficult if you’re watching your kids and spouse put away cheeseburgers or pasta every night. Everyone can benefit from healthier habits, and there are many ways you can incorporate them into family life. With activity, as a family you can go for a bike ride or a hike, play in the park, or learn a new sport. Being active as a family is beneficial not only for health reasons, but it also helps create family bonds as you spend more time together. When it comes to food, you may want to start slow. Start introducing new vegetables into recipes, prepare family favorites in a healthier way (baked vs. fried), or make fruit smoothies.
8. Don’t Jump on the Trendy Diet Bandwagon
There are a lot of diets out there claiming to help lose weight fast. A lot of these diets are unhealthy or unsustainable for the long run. If you need help figuring out how to change your eating habits for the better, visiting with a registered dietician or nutritionist will be valuable.
9. Don’t be Afraid to Try Something New
If you haven’t had a diet that included many fruits and vegetables, don’t be afraid to find some way to up your intake. Try new preparations – freeze grapes, use zucchini noodles in place of pasta, add veggies to your meatloaf, or create a ‘nice’ cream. ‘Nice’ cream is a great replacement for ice cream, and is typically made from frozen bananas or other fruit.
10. Fill up on Protein
Protein keeps you feeling full longer and can reduce cravings for treats that have a lot of added sugar. Protein also helps you add, and keep muscle mass.
11. Brush Your Teeth
Brushing your teeth or even chewing gum after a meal or when you have cravings, can help to distract.
12. Chew, Chew, Chew
Overeating is easy to do if you don’t chew slow enough and take small breaks throughout the meal. It takes around 15 minutes for your brain to signal that you feel full. By thoroughly chewing your food, pausing between bites and not rushing your meal, it allows your brain to get the signal that you are full and should stop eating.
13. Get Your Beauty Sleep
Lack of sleep can prompt people to eat bigger portions, and can cause an increase in cravings for high-carbohydrate foods. If you are having trouble sleeping and are not sure as to why, it would be best to consult your doctor. If you know the reason you are having trouble sleeping whether it be because you need a new mattress, your cat keeps waking you, or you just aren’t allowing enough time to sleep – then it is important to work on these issues so you can rest properly.
14. Don’t Drink Your Calories
When you drink a beverage like soda or juice that is full of added sugar and calories, your body doesn’t get the message that you just ingested calories so you can still feel hungry. Don’t waste calories on liquids that aren’t a benefit to your body.
15. Eat Real Foods
Concentrating on whole, natural, unprocessed foods is a great way to get nutrients and make sure that you’re not consuming unnecessary calories.
16. Don’t Skip Meals
Skipping meals increases the likelihood of overeating at your next meal. It can have other effects like impaired concentration, thyroid function impairment, dizziness, and fatigue to name a few. Skipping meals is not a good way to lose weight. If you are just pressed on time, grab a protein bar or smoothie to tide you over until you are able to get a proper meal.
17. Lift Weights
Muscle burns more calories, even when at rest than fat does. If you’re new to lifting weights, make sure to do so in a safe, monitored environment.
18. Drink Coffee and Tea
Coffee and tea, green tea especially, are both packed with antioxidants, and both have stimulant properties that boost your calorie burning for hours after drinking them. The key here is not to load up these drinks with sugar or milk. Try to drink them plain.
19. Spicy is Nice
Including spicy foods in your diet boosts your metabolism and can help you burn calories. It’s also harder to overeat when something is very spicy!
20. Plan Ahead
Don’t wait until you’re ravenous to find a snack or pick up a sandwich for lunch. Planning a head is key to help ensure good choices. It only takes a little bit of time a couple of days each week to prep your snacks and other meals for the week. Ziploc makes convenient little snack bags which are ideal for dividing out 100 calorie snack portions to take on the go.
21. Make Smart Choices Dining Out
The simple act of preparing meals at home assures that you know what is going into your food. When eating out, there tend to be larger portions and added calories from sauces, butter, and oil. More and more restaurants are including nutritional information printed on their menus or posted online including calorie counts, which can be helpful when making healthy choices. To cut down on added calories, don’t hesitate to ask for substitutions or for butter and dressings to be put on the side. Another great thing to consider is having half of your meal boxed up before eating, as this can help with portion control.
22. Switch to a Smarter Oil
Make sure you’re using a high-quality cooking oil at home like coconut or good quality olive oil instead of heavily refined oils.
23. Smaller Plates/Smaller Portions
If you are unsure of proper portions and can use some structure – there are portion control plates that can help you measure the proper amount of protein, starches, and fruits/vegetables with each meal. If you don’t want to purchase a portion control plate, you can weigh your protein on a food scale and use measuring cups for starches and vegetables. Some people prefer to use small plates instead of a regular dinner plate. Using a smaller dinner plate can trick your brain into thinking you’re consuming more food than you actually are.
24. Making Smarter Carb Choices
Giving up refined carbohydrates like white flour, refined grains, and all those tasty packaged treats can have a big impact on your weight. Focus more on good for you carbs like vegetables, fruits, quinoa, brown rice, legumes, nuts, seeds.
25. Assess if You’re an Addict
Many people in the U.S. exhibit signs of having a food addiction. If you think you may have a problem, don’t delay in seeking help from a licensed therapist or at a support group such as Overeaters Anonymous.
Weight doesn’t come on overnight, so it can’t be expected to come off quickly. If you are looking to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle, it is important to make changes that are sustainable for you in the long term.