I’m no doctor and I don’t claim to be stick thin. That said, since it’s the beginning of the year and we’re all trying to lose weight (yet again!) I thought I’d share some tips for weight loss that I know work.
They’re common sense ideas that can be summed up as: only eat when hungry, cut out the extras, and move around. Here they are:
10 TIPS TO LOSE WEIGHT:
ONLY EAT WHEN YOU’RE HUNGRY. Ignore the time of day or when you think you should eat and wait until you feel physical hunger. That’s your body telling you it’s ready for food. If you eat when your body isn’t hungry, it will store that food by turning it into fat. So don’t be afraid of a little emptiness in your belly.
COUNT CALORIES. Counting calories turns losing weight into a simple math problem. If you’re under the calorie count, you will lose weight. No more worrying about gluten or carbs or how many points things have–just add a row of numbers and stop when you hit the limit. There are even online programs to help you. You can calculate how many calories you need to get to your desired weight here and then keep track of what you eat on sites like Livestrong or FitDay.
REMOVE SNACKS FROM THE HOUSE. Getting control of snacking is essential to long-term weight loss. The way I got out of the habit was to stop buying snack food—no more chips, cookies, ice cream, or even healthy snacks like dried fruit or vegetable chips. When it’s not in the house, I won’t eat it.
EAT MOSTLY FRUITS, VEGETABLES, AND LEAN PROTEINS. When I’m losing weight, I choose foods like salads, fish with a vegetable side, chicken breasts, fruit, vegetarian sandwiches, and so on. Since fruits, veggies, and lean proteins are lower calorie, simply opting for them means you’re more likely to lose weight. Plus, they’re good for you.
EAT SWEETS ONLY ONCE A WEEK. I know this is tough for some people, but there does seem to be something to the idea of sugar being addicting. If you have dessert every day, your body comes to expect it. Once a week is plenty of sweets for me, and it makes having dessert into something special.
DRINK LOW-CALORIE DRINKS. I mostly drink no-calorie beverages like water, diet soda, coffee and try to keep regular soda, juice, and alcohol to a minimum. Wine in particular can creep up on me—one 5-ounce glass of wine has 130 calories, which is almost like drinking a can of Coke. That can add up fast.
WATCH FATTY EXTRAS. Examples of “fatty extras”: mayonnaise, aioli, pesto, whip cream, ranch dressing, tarter sauce, peanut butter, and hollandaise sauce. You know what I’m talking about. When eating out, I always get these sauces on the side so I can control how much goes on my food. Or better yet, skip it altogether. (Or substitute avocado.)
EAT AT HOME. Sad to say, but eating out makes you fatter. You’re just not as likely to layer on as much butter and grease as a restaurant is likely to do. Plus, eating at home saves money.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY SIGNALS. I haaaattteee feeling too full and will go to great lengths to avoid it. When I’m eating, I notice when I’m getting full and start to slow down. Even if I’ve only eaten half my food, when I get the signal I’m full, I stop eating. If I never overeat, I never feel gross after a meal. Learn to recognize that signal in your body—it’s there.
MOVE! You don’t have to get a fancy gym membership to lose weight. Go for walks, kick a ball around, ride a bike, plant a garden, drag out the tennis racket … in other words, find movement that is fun for you, and try to do it a couple times a week. If more people had fun with exercise, more people would do it.
Weight loss! That’s what works for me. What works for you?