Summer is coming, which means we’re all about to bare more skin. Like most people, I’d love to get a little fitter before I run around in a swimsuit or try on my favorite shorts.
But by no means will I be going on a strict “diet.” Why? Because extreme diets don’t work (for very long). Even if you do lose weight on one, you’re likely to gain more weight when you resume normal eating. This type of up-and-down is unhealthy for your body in the long run and can make you feel like you’ve failed.
So what can you do to shed a few pounds or become a bit more shapely? Below are some tips for how to lose weight – all of which have been proven effective by research.
20 Ways to Lose Weight
1. Eat breakfast. Skipping breakfast can lead to overeating later in the day, especially at night. Here are 5 quick breakfast options.
2. Cook most meals at home. Restaurant food is usually higher in calories and served in much larger portions than meals made at home.
3. Use smaller plates. Once you’ve made a simple, healthy meal – serve it on a smaller plate to keep portions in check.
4. Wait 10 minutes before having seconds. It takes awhile for our stomachs and brains to communicate. Waiting 10-20 minutes will let you assess whether you’re truly still hungry.
5. Have a snack. Reasonably-sized, healthy snacks can help keep metabolism steady and prevent overeating at mealtime.
6. Don’t drink your calories. Eating calories is more satisfying than drinking them.
7. Include protein in meals and snacks. Protein – especially when combined with fiber, water, and a little fat – helps to keep blood sugar steady and makes meals/snacks more satisfying.
8. Eat fewer white carbohydrates. White refined grain products provide lots of calories but few nutrients. Limiting these can really boost weight loss.
9. Drink water. Keeping hydrated prevents you from confusing hunger and thirst. Drinking a glass of water before a meal may lead to eating less.
10. Save booze for the weekends. Alcoholic beverages are high in calories and often cause us to eat more (especially junk food) and be less active. Enjoying a drink or two just a couple times a week can help you shed pounds more easily.
11. Drink alcohol after a meal, not before. Drinking before a meal lowers inhibitions and may cause you to eat more. Save your drink for after you’ve eaten.
12. Keep a food journal. Research consistently shows that people who keep track of what they’re eating have an easier time losing weight and keeping it off. This is my favorite food & exercise journal.
13. Get back on track after a slip-up. We all blow it from time to time. Instead of getting down on yourself for it, just get back on track at the next meal or snack (don’t wait for the next day!).
14. Find fun ways to exercise. If you enjoy exercise, you’ll do it more often. Summer is a great time to be active outside with friends, so find something you love and schedule it in often.
15. Replace other foods with vegetables. Veggies are low in calories and add bulk to meals, which helps keep you satisfied. Replace half the meat, pasta or cheese in a recipe with vegetables.
16. Aim for 8 hours of sleep. Research shows that those who sleep more weigh less – perhaps because they are not trying to boost energy by eating and perhaps because they have fewer hours in the day to eat (since they are sleeping).
17. Hang out with healthy people. If all your friends eat out a lot, drink a lot or skip exercise – odds are you will too. Schedule active dates with friends who have similar health goals or healthy lifestyles.
18. Strength train twice a week. Building muscle helps you be more efficient with your calories, and can prevent gaining weight as you age.
19. Grocery shop regularly. Keeping your fridge stocked with vegetables and healthy foods will boost the chances of you eating those foods.
20. Weigh yourself weekly. No need to weigh yourself daily, but checking in weekly can help you gauge how your eating and exercise patterns affect your weight over time.