9 Simple Ways to Lose Weight & Keep it Off
Are you struggling to lose a few extra pounds? As you probably know, it’s easy to gain weight, but hard to lose it once the extra weight is there. However, it is still important to maintain a healthy body weight, since having too much extra weight makes it more difficult for your natural insulin to work effectively. Once fat cells are created, they really don’t like to leave! This could be the reason why it’s difficult for some of us to lose weight once we’ve gained the extra pounds. In order to make progress and finally see those pounds drop off, it is important to understand what contributed to the weight gain, and what may be keeping the weight on. So many factors influence our body weight, from timing of meals, lifestyle, environment, sleep, and stress. Reflect back on your life- what are some things that contributed to your weight gain? What is preventing you from losing weight? Once you’ve figured out the triggers in your life, use the following suggestions to help you stay on track with your healthy lifestyle goals.
1. Choose a cup of tea next time you get a sweets craving
Consider a tea that’s naturally sweet like chamomile, chai, wild orange, or rooibos teas. You’ll satisfy your craving without all of the unnecessary sugar and calories. Get creative and try spicing it up by stirring the tea with a cinnamon stick, or steeping with lemon, ginger, or fresh mint.
2. Give your pantry an honest look
Take a moment to take stock of what’s in your fridge, freezer, and pantry – do these foods say YES to your health goals? Or are they health sabotages such as sweets, chips, chicken nuggets, or cream of mushroom soup? Carve out a day to re-haul your pantry. Donate any items that may be sabotaging your goals, and replace them with healthier, whole foods, 100% whole grain crackers with no added sugar, buckwheat soba noodles, dried fruit, kale chips, edamame, organic bean burritos, raw nuts, 80% dark chocolate and broth-based soups.
3. Don’t give in to the pressure to eat
Everyone is having desserts so you must too, right? 65% of Americans are overweight or obese. Do you really want to join the crowd? Don’t waste calories on politeness, social graces or mindless eating. Try ordering a cup of tea or coffee after a meal if others are indulging in desserts.
4. Eat out less
The average meal out has around 1,300 calories – this is roughly two thirds, or more, of your calorie needs for the entire day! When you compare the calories in your meal to your daily calorie needs (about 2,000 for most people), it really puts that one meal into perspective –that’s a lot of calories! Assemble quick healthy eats at home instead –like canned salmon mixed with mayo and hummus served over prewashed lettuce and a side of fruit. You’ll use much less fat, sodium, and sugar than restaurants do.
5. Swap it out
Get rid of empty-calorie foods that are typically high in sugar or fat and low in nutrients. When you’re craving potato chips, try kale chips, a pickle, or frozen pistachios instead. Craving chocolate? Cocoa nibs are a great alternative – sprinkle them in your yogurt, on top of fruit slices or mix them up with some nuts for a great snack to keep the sweet cravings at bay! Craving sweets? Take these steps to conquer sugar cravings naturally.
6. Commit to pre-planning lunch or dinner each day
Check your pantry the day before to make sure you have all the ingredients you need, and spend 10 minutes prepping the ingredients by cutting up some vegetables. You could even put together all the needed ingredients in a designated spot in the pantry for easy access!
7. Cut back on alcohol
Wow, these calories really add up. What’s worse, is that excess calories from alcohol are more likely to be stored as fat in the abdomen (the more harmful kind of fat!). Try to find what motivates your healthy lifestyle, and remind yourself of your reasons whenever alcohol tempts you. For me, thinking of being comfortable while sitting, or breathing easily in that tight dress or jeans, and decreasing my breast cancer risks is enough motivation to stick to one or no cocktails! What’s your motivation? Find it!
8. Can you exercise away bad food choices?
Nope, you can’t! Four ounces of cherry jubilee is about 220 calories. If you work in the garden for 30 minutes, a 155 pound person will burn approximately 167 calories.1 It’s nearly impossible to exercise away the excess calories. It’s important to keep tabs on how many calories you take in –they can add up fast with just a few extra indulgences.
9. Record what you’re eating for 5 days
(include weekend days) –and then play detective. Where’s the weak link for those extra calories? It is so easy to forget what and when we ate throughout the day, so keeping a diary can really help you pinpoint the issues. Once you’ve figured out your typical pattern, you can come up with some strategies to help prevent them! Check out these healthy diet secrets from leading nutrition experts for more tips.
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- Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights. Harvard Health Publications. Published July 2004. Accessed May 12, 2015.