There’s no need to pretend — for 99 percent of us, the thought of losing weight is absolutely ridiculous. We have all tried and failed dozens of times before. Even when you achieve some semblance of success (yay, you!), the next hurdle appears on the horizon: How are you going to keep the weight off?
I’m just the messenger telling you what you already know. Weight loss can be frustrating. If you want any hope of it sticking, it’s about creating a new lifestyle that is actually attainable — making new habits you can really stick to day after day, without feeling deprived.
The super-secret, super-amazing, super-wonderful weight loss truth no one wants to admit (because it would ruin every fad diet out there) is that weight loss can be easy. It’s all a process of trial and error. You choose the healthy habits that really work for you that you can adopt for the rest of your life.
Yes, these tips are easy — really easy, in fact. But don’t knock ’em until you’ve tried ’em and have successfully lost some weight:
1. Don’t drink your calories
Talk about easy, classic advice! But it is worth saying again and again and again. Renee Porter, R.N., M.S., D.N.P., lifestyle medicine program manager at Children’s Hospital Colorado, asserts that you are what you drink — meaning, you may be sabotaging your health and your weight loss with the extra calories you sip all day long. Porter advocates starting this healthy habit at a young age to avoid early weight gain and stop problems before they start.
She says, “My focus would be on the things we drink (soda, juice, Starbucks, glass of wine, etc.), as they add unnecessary calories, and often this is a simple and easy way to delete these extra calories from our diet. If we eliminate these as a way to improve our health, and let this behavior pour over into our home (husbands and children get the benefit too), we are teaching our children a good healthy habit — go to water! Usually, each of these drinks take up to an hour of exercise to burn off. That is just to burn off these extra calories, not to mention get to a calorie deficit (weight loss).”
2. Don’t fill up
This one is a no-brainer, so stick it in your back pocket until your next meal. As obvious as it may seem, if you want to weigh less, you have to eat less, says Dr. Ellen Albertson, R.D., psychologist, certified wellness coach and founder of Smash Your Scale. “Eat until you are 80 percent full.” She continues, “Eat mindfully. Treat each meal as a meditation. Use all your senses to enjoy your food.”
Dr. Suzanne Fuchs, a foot and ankle surgeon in New York City, says that she often shares this handy trick with her patients hoping to lose weight, “In between bites at meals, make sure to take sips of water to help you feel fuller and more satisfied.”
3. Get clean once and for all
I’m a big clean eating fanatic (and lover of kale), so I might be a little biased. But I can tell you from experience, once you cut the crap out of your diet and your body adjusts, your taste for junk really does subside — and so does your spare tire. Natalie Jill, licensed master sports nutritionist and creator of Natalie Jill Fitness, says, “Cut out processed foods — remove added chemicals, sodium and artificial sweeteners from your diet. The simplest rule? Eat things in their most natural state — things that once grew or had a mom.”
Dr. Jamie Koufman of New York City, one of “America’s Top Doctors” since 1994, explains her baseline rule for her two-week, healthy-eating, acid-reflux-friendly detox program, “Consume two portions of low-acid fruit (not citrus) and one salad every day. No bread, refined sugar, candy, alcohol or soft drinks or fruit drinks.”
4. Snack swap
No one is saying you can’t eat when you’re hungry. After all, a successful, long-term diet is not about starvation. But take it from a woman who has been there done that: Snacking healthy may just be the weight loss savior you need. Lisa Mattson, director of marketing and communications at Jordan Vineyard & Winery, says she was able to lose 15 pounds in three months without extreme exercise.
Along with cleaning up breakfast and dinner, Mattson focused on healthy, filling snacks. She now weighs 114 pounds (her middle school weight) at age 41. Mattson tells SheKnows, “No more snacking on chips or cheese and crackers before dinner — if I want a snack, I eat some nuts, radishes with hummus or baby pickles (gives me the crunch without the carbs).”
5. Stop thinking exercise has to be an epic undertaking
There’s a funny phenomenon about going to the gym: If you can’t fit in an epically sweaty workout complete with lifting, running and punching the air, you might as well not go at all, right? Wrong. Personal trainer Rahman “Ray” Grayson, aka “Mr. Shut Up and Train,” insists every little bit counts, saying, “A 20-30 minute at-home workout can be just as effective as going to the gym as long as you’re working hard the whole time. Take advantage of the warmer weather by mixing things up: Take your workout outside one day a week. Pick activities you enjoy doing or try new activities — it will boost your endorphins.”
Fuchs adds, “Instead of taking the elevator, take steps. Also, if you live in a city, think about skipping the bus or train and walk. If you live in suburbs or the country, find ways to add movement such as parking far away from entrances at stores and work.”
6. Plug into social media
— Joy Bauer (@joybauer) May 11, 2015
sexy is not a size. every calorie is not a war. your body isn't a battlefield. your value is not measured in pounds.
— ❤ Cassey Ho ❤ (@blogilates) May 18, 2015
The Truth about Costco Rotisserie Chicken http://t.co/ZZoFeNjEg1 salty!
— Snack Girl (@Snack_Girl_) May 12, 2015
What does Twitter have to do with successful weight loss? If you are desperately in need of motivation, positive tweets may be the kick in ass you have been looking for. According to U.S. News Health Day, “Studies have shown that using Twitter can improve your chance to shed excess pounds. There’s an average of 15,000 tweets sent per day about weight loss alone — which means you have a plethora of new information each day to help you stay on track.”
Health Day statistics indicate that Twitter most often buzzes about running and jogging, yoga, spinning and cycling, hiking and Zumba, in that order. Depending on where you are located, you’ll find that fellow fitness enthusiasts are most likely to work out at 6-7 p.m. in San Francisco and L.A., 4-5 p.m. in New York City and 8-9 p.m. in Dallas and Chicago. If you’re at a loss for where to begin, try following a few of these top fitness tweeters, recommended by Health Day, to jump-start your weight loss:
- @joybauer – Joy Bauer is a registered dietician who is also the health and nutrition expert on the TODAY show. She posts daily tips and recipes for eating right and staying fit.
- @FitBottomedGirl – Jennipher Walters and Erin Whitehead, the Fit Bottomed Girls, feature multiple weekday posts with fresh fitness content for real women and girls interested in increasing their health through physical activity and sensible eating.
- @KeriGans – Keri Gans is a nutritionist and author of The Small Change Diet who constantly tweets about healthy eating and motivational quotes to get your body moving.
- @blogilates – Cassey Ho, creator of POP Pilates and named one of the top 25 health and fitness influencers of the world, tweets about different fitness moves to keep your routine fresh.
- @Snack_Girl_ – Lisa Cain offers healthy snack and meal ideas on her blog and Twitter.