Tired of starting over on your weight-loss journey…again? Done looking for that “quick fix” that’s not sustainable? Ready for realistic, achievable steps to lose weight and feel great (without deprivation)?
I have 8 tips you can start implementing TODAY for lasting success!
It’s a new year and you’re motivated that THIS IS THE YEAR you’ll finally lose the extra weight and become that healthier version of yourself. Motivation is great when it comes to jump-starting a new diet or exercise program. But what happens when motivation wanes on day 3 or 4 because you’ve had a long day at work (or at home with the kids) and that delivery pizza or takeout from your favorite fast-food joint is calling your name over and over?
You give in. You feel defeated. You’re convinced you just can’t do this. And you give up…again.
Instead of thinking about some daunting number of pounds you need to lose, how long it will take, and the favorite foods you’ll have to give up, use these simple tips to create healthy behaviors that lead to success over time that is actually sustainable.
By focusing on some key areas, you will gradually get to your health goals without feeling deprived. With these 8 tips, you can make intentional, consistent progress.
One small healthy behavior leads to another!
1. Be realistic!
This is a life change…not a diet…and it takes time. Every consistent change to a healthy behavior is progress. You won’t get to your goals overnight, but you will get there if you’re consistent. Keep in mind that progress is progress, no matter how small…and give yourself credit for the impactful changes you’re making each day!
- Going from a “sometimes” walk (or other exercise) to walking several times a week is progress!
- Adding in more whole foods as you decrease processed foods is progress!
- Reducing portion sizes and tuning in to hunger and fullness cues is progress!
- Planning for occasional “treats” instead of having them daily is progress!
2. Switch to MORE whole foods!
Whole foods are foods still in their natural state (think potato vs potato chip). The more processing, shaping, and coloring food undergoes, the less nutrition it has. Whole foods are generally lower in calories, full of fiber (which helps you feel full longer) and packed with nutrients that decrease inflammation and fight disease. It’s a well-researched fact that upping produce in your diet can be a big contributor to getting weight off and keeping it off.
You don’t have to eat ONLY whole foods, but aim for mostly unprocessed or minimally processed foods.
Work on transitioning to more whole foods a little at a time. Switch out a sugary cereal for some whole-grain oats or eggs; add some veggies as a side to your lunchtime sandwich instead of the potato chips; choose a piece of fruit and nuts for a snack in place of something from the vending machine.
Aim for more home-cooked meals with added veggies. Eating at home automatically reduces the amount of calories, unhealthy fats, salt, and sugar you’re consuming. Bonus: Leftovers make a great lunch the next day! Turn meals “upside down” – Instead of making beef and broccoli, make broccoli and beef. Let the veggie take the lead in the meal! You get the same flavors, but in a healthier way.
Replace starchy side dishes with vegetables most of the time. If you want a planned starchy side (pasta, rice, potato), fill half your plate with veggies and then use the other half of the plate for your protein and starch. This will up your veggie intake and decrease your starch intake.
Color = Nutrients
The more color variety you see on your plate (veggies & fruit), the more nutrients you’re getting.
3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!!
Water is the most important nutrient in your diet because it is absolutely essential for most bodily functions. Did you know most of us are walking around dehydrated? Water helps with good digestion, elimination of waste, and delivers nutrients and oxygen to the cells!
Water can be your first line of defense when it comes to hunger. Start each meal with a glass of water.
If you’re feeling like you’d like a snack, drink a glass of water first. If you still feel like you want a snack, have one.
Keep track of your water intake and aim for about half your body weight in ounces (150 pounds of body weight = 75 oz of water intake)
4. Move regularly!
Movement is needed for weight loss and overall health! Whether you walk, dance, practice yoga, or play a fun sport, the important thing is to move.your.body!
Don’t try to go it alone…find buddies to do it with you! Make appointments with friends or family for walking, going to the gym, pickleball, etc. Having accountability partners (or being one) will keep you more consistent!
If you’re currently a couch potato, any movement counts!
Start by regularly walking around the house or around the block…just 10 minutes here and there through the day…and work your way up to longer/further walks.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing! If you don’t have time to change clothes and really work up a sweat, take a short stroll on your next work break (not to the kitchen), and then get a longer walk in later or the next day.
5. Dial back the alcohol!
Alcohol is high in calories, and it’s really hard to lose weight while consuming alcohol regularly.
Start decreasing that nightly glass of wine by deciding to have a few alcohol-free days each week.
Alternating alcoholic drinks with water can help you consume less within a set period of time.
Save the alcohol for dinner with friends or as part of a celebration.
6. Eat the (planned) TREAT!
Deprivation simply doesn’t work and is not sustainable. If you want something decadent (like cake), plan for it and have a small slice… and savor every bite!
An occasional small treat will not derail your healthy progress. Planning it as part of a healthy meal once or twice a week reduces how often you’re indulging and keeps you from feeling deprived.
Mindfulness is key when enjoying a treat.
Make a smaller batch of cookies and share most of them (coworkers, neighbors, family members) so that temptation doesn't linger for days. And then enjoy your cookie(s)! Find new recipes that use less refined sugar or, better yet, are sweetened with fruit.
7. Numbers on the scale do not tell the whole story!
Weighing yourself regularly can help you keep tabs on where you are, but it does not reflect all the progress going on in the body when you’re making healthy changes. The scale is only one tool of many…not the ultimate authority on how your health journey is going!
Gauge your progress by how you feel and how your clothes fit. When you’re making progress towards a healthy life that is sustainable, you’ll feel it!
Do not weigh yourself daily…It’s simply not helpful. Your weight can fluctuate due to fluid retention, hormones, and many other factors. If you know you’re making healthy changes and feeling more energized and fit, let that be what motivates you….not a number on the scale.
8. Take care of ALL OF YOU!
Sleep, Stress Reduction, and Mindfulness are each a BIG part of the health journey.
Aim for a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night! The hormones responsible for feelings of fullness and satiety can be greatly affected when you’re not getting enough rest. Sleep deprivation can have you feeling hungrier, increase cravings for more sweets and processed carbs, and make it more likely you’ll indulge in overeating.
"Cranky" and "Hangry" are not our friends when it comes to successful weight loss.
Stress takes its toll on the body in many ways! In particular, stress affects the production of stress hormones and the function of the digestive system, which can lead to a change in metabolism as well as affect your appetite.
Find and use stress reduction techniques every day
- deep breathing
- stepping outside
Figure out what works for you and be diligent about it.
Mindfulness simply means being aware of what’s happening while you’re eating. It means being aware of the foods you choose, the taste and feel of the food, what’s going on around you, and noticing when you’re satisfied (the cue to stop eating). Eat meals away from the TV or computer, eat slowly, and really enjoy the food you’re nourishing your body with.
Make a plan for the week and focus on small improvements in each of these areas. Small behavior changes in diet and lifestyle lead to BIG improvements in overall health. By using these 8 tips to create healthy behaviors, you can gradually and sustainably lose excess weight, decrease inflammation, feel more energized, and finally take control of your health.
This really can be YOUR YEAR to make real and lasting changes!