I lost 25 pounds 10 years and began a fascinating journey towards understanding what works in weight loss. Culled from my experience over those years, here are what I believe are
15 of the Best Weight Loss (and Maintenance) Tips Ever !
- Drink plenty of water. Even mild dehydration can cause you to feel lethargic or bring on “brain fog”, and staying hydrated can support feeling satisfied with your food intake. So how much is plenty? Recommendations vary from ½ ounce to 1 ounce per pound of body weight, but the standard of 8 8-ounce glasses of fluid is close enough and easy to remember. All non-caloric beverages will generally count here, though plain ole’ water is the gold standard
- Get plenty of sleep. Studies generally suggest anywhere from 7 – 9 hours per night. A lack of sleep can increase production of the hormone ghrelin (an appetite stimulant) and generally results in a lack of the hormone leptin (which helps you feel full)—and can lead to overeating.
- Focus first on your environment. Clean out unhelpful foods from your pantry, your car, your office. Stock up on healthy foods, prepped for easy eating (cut up fruits and veggies, portion out nuts and snacks). Don’t forget those saboteurs lurking in the environment! Do you pass a vending machine on the way to the locker room at the gym? Look for a different route!
- Strive to incorporate protein, veggies and/or fruit into every meal. Divide your plate into quarters and aim to fill ¼ with a lean protein, and ½ with vegetables and fruit. The remaining ¼ you may choose to add in a healthy grain. Having eggs for breakfast? Throw in some leftover veggies from dinner last night and add a side of fruit for a great start to your day.
- Speaking of breakfast…don’t skip it! Even if you aren’t hungry immediately upon waking, make certain to have a morning meal to set a healthy tone for your day and avoid overeating later in the day.
- Embrace (healthy) snacks. If you missed protein, a veggie or a fruit at a meal—have it for a snack. Even better, to feel more full, combine a bit of protein with a veggie or fruit for a filling and tasty snack. Some ideas: sliced cheese on apple slices, almond butter on a banana.
- Be a snob about night time snacking. If you are hungry, don’t be afraid to eat after dinner. Do realize that night time snacking often gets out of control, though, so be a snob about what you are willing to snack on so you don’t undo a day’s effort at healthy living by unwise choices late in the day.
- Be aware of portion sizes whether eating out or at home. Most restaurant portions are approximately 2 (or more) times recommended serving sizes! Learn what the recommended portion sizes are for food groups, then use a scale and measuring tools at home to get a feel for true portion sizes.
- Boost flavor with herbs and spices instead of salt and fat. The corollary to this is to be aware of the “hidden” salt and fat when eating out.
- Choose fiber whenever you can. Most Americans only get about one-half the recommended amount of fiber. To feel more full, improve the way your tummy feels and functions, and for coronary benefits, it is recommended that women get 25 g of fiber per day and men get 38 g. An easy way to do this is to swap out simple carbs (like white bread) with whole grains, veggies or fruit.
- Keep a food diary. The simple act of writing down everything eaten generally improves results, but is also useful when looking for food triggers, sensitivities, and patterns. According to Mayo Clinic, one study found that people who kept a food diary for 6 days a week lost twice as much weight as those who kept a diary only 1 day a week or less.
- Keep the scale in perspective. The scale is a useful tool for measuring success only in terms of pounds lost. Set a regular time to weigh in wearing the same (or similar weight) clothing on the same scale (if possible). Aim to lose between ½ and 2 pounds per week for sustainable weight loss.
- Everything in moderation! Even your favorite off-plan food has a place in your eating plan—in moderate amounts. The surest way to derail your efforts is to deny your favorites. This includes alcoholic beverages. They are full of empty calories and have the double whammy of lowering your inhibition (making snacking seem tempting), but if you enjoy the occasional alcoholic beverage—incorporate it into your routine.
- Let go of guilt. Rid your vocabulary of words like “have to” and “should”. Make your choices and then ENJOY them. Not getting the success you want? Evaluate your choices and decide where you can make changes (note that I did not say “have to” make changes!).
- Create a network of support. Identify those people in your life who will cheer you on (not be your food police) and may even want to join in with you. The stronger this network is, the likelier you are to succeed.
And one Bonus Tip:
- Find activities you enjoy and incorporate them into your life. You can lose weight without exercising, but the evidence is piling up that you cannot be healthy without moving. Find small ways to incorporate movement into every day (park further away, get up from sedentary activities regularly), then explore ways to enjoy the healthy body you are building. Loved to ride bikes as a kid? Go for it! Want an excuse to be out in the sunshine? Take a walk. Enjoy the fruits of your efforts!
Do you want to incorporate these tips (and more) into your life? As a Certified Professional Coach and Founder of Kick It Up Coaching, I am passionate about connecting with clients to help them create and adhere to individualized plans to achieve their health and wellness goals. Whether you are struggling with a new diagnosis, not finding time to work out or eat well–or simply want to Kick Up your success and maximize your results, I am looking forward to this journey together with you!