It is estimated that 40%-50% of American women are trying to lose weight at any given time. There are hundreds of different diets or weight loss plans to follow–some healthier and/or more successful than others. There are also simple things you can do to help yourself stay on track and be successful with your weight loss.
- Keep a food diary. Keep track of everything you eat, whether in a notebook or with an online tracking tool. The more aware you are of what you’re putting into your body the less likely you are to overeat.
- Get a mantra. This one may sound silly but it’s more beneficial than you may realize. Weight loss is all about attitude and self control. It’s important to stay motivated and focused. There are all sorts of mantras you can use. Here are a few examples:
Slow and steady.
Keep tracking, stop slacking.
I am getting healthier every day.
Choose the mantra that works for you. If someone in your office brings in donuts every day and donuts are your weakness, your mantra could be something as simple as “I don’t need that donut.”
- Drink more water. Not only does water have 0 calories, it can also help you fill fuller for longer, leading to less snacking and less calories consumed throughout the day.
- Eat 90% of meals at home. This one is a no brainer. Restaurant and fast food is full of unnecessary calories that you can’t control. Eating at home allows you to make healthy choices and have control over how many calories are in your meal.
- Bulk up meals with vegetables. If your plate looks a little empty, try adding more vegetables! Vegetables are low calorie and nutrient dense!
- Brush your teeth after you eat. Teeth brushing can signal your body that it’s time to stop eating. Brushing your teeth immediately after finishing dinner may help control nighttime snacking.
- Drink a glass of water before each meal. I mentioned that drinking more water is important, but drinking a large glass of water before eating a meal is also a good idea. Again, it helps you feel fuller and may help you eat less during the meal.
- Downsize your dinnerware. Instead of using the large dinner plates, put your food on a salad plate. You’ll still see a full plate of food and your brain gets tricked into thinking you’re eating more.
- Don’t drink your calories. Soda is the #1 source of calories in the average American diet–what a waste of calories! On average, a can of soda has 150 calories. A 20 oz bottle of soda averages around 250 calories. To lose one pound there needs to be a calorie deficit of 3500 calories. Let’s imagine you drink one, 20 oz bottle of soda a day–1750 calories of soda a week. If you gave up soda, in a little over two weeks you could lose 1 pound. Keep an eye on alcohol too! A great day of healthy eating is useless if you drink 3500 calories worth of alcohol that night.
- Eat in season. I was part of a CSA last year and wrote about my experiences here. Shopping a farmers market or joining a CSA supports local farmers. Your food will be fresher and higher quality too!
- Move more. This is another no-brainer. The more you move, the more calories you burn. Plain & simple!
- Don’t skip meals. Starving yourself is not a healthy (or effective) weight loss method. Eat regular, healthy, balanced meals.
- Pay attention to portions. I purchased a carton of ice cream awhile back and had to laugh at the recommended serving size of 1/2 cup. I was probably eating closer to 4 servings–oops! For a wallet size portion guide click here.
- Avoid evening snacking. Close off your kitchen after dinner to avoid late night snacking.
- Get plenty of sleep. When you’re tired, you’re more likely to reach for comfort foods like candy or potato chips. You’re also less likely to exercise when you’re tired–a double whammy!
- Be prepared-have healthy snacks on hand, know what you’re ordering before you go out to a restaurant.
- Have a support group. Get your family and friends on board. Having their support is so important, especially during times when you’re struggling or need help getting motivated.
- Clean out your pantry. Get rid of any tempting foods like cookies, chips or ice cream. The idea here is “out of sight, out of mind.” You may still crave these foods but they’re much easier to avoid when they aren’t sitting in your cupboard.
- Pace yourself. This is true when exercising but also true when eating. Savor each bite, don’t race through your meal–save calories.
- Practice the “rule of one.” don’t deprive yourself of things you enjoy but don’t eat 12 of them either. Whether it’s ice cream or a candy bar practice the rule of one….one small candy bar, one small bowl of ice cream (or one bite).
- Spice up your meals. Spicy foods may help you eat less, acting as an appetite suppressant. In addition, chemicals in spicy foods may increase metabolism!
- There’s no “quick fix.” There’s nothing you can buy, take or wear that will help you lose weight overnight. Remember that it likely took you some time to put the weight on so it will take time to get it off too.
- Follow the 80/20 rule. Make 80% of the food you eat healthy and 20% of your daily calories fun. You’ll feel less deprived and will be less likely to splurge.
- Focus on the “cans” not “can’ts” I can eat more fruit instead of I can’t have that dessert.
- Plan your meals. You’re going to be less likely to make a healthy meal after a long day at the office than you are if you make that meal on Saturday and freeze it for the week.
Weight loss is a process–it’s not an instant thing. Stay positive, stay focused, and you will see results. I hope these tips help you with your weight loss goals!