It’s January—the month that the internet presents a plethora of articles about how to lose weight. Each and every year I hope to find some magical advice that is going to help me lose the last 5 pounds, only to always find the same tips.
After years of reading these type of articles, it clicked with me. I’m not finding any magical answers because there is no magic answer when it comes to losing weight. It requires a lifestyle change, whether you are aiming to lose 50 lbs or those last pesky, likely imaginary, 5 pounds.
Here are six of my real life tips that have helped me lose weight in the past and keep the weight off now. Every time I fall off the “lifestyle” of fitness and health, the weight comes back—proving to me time and time again that fitness and a healthy weight is not something you hit and it’s there for life. You are going to have to work at it for the rest of your life. Make it fun. Make it enjoyable. Don’t do anything drastic. And make small changes that add up big time over weeks, months, and years.
- Drink more water. This tip is on just about every weight loss list and for good reason. It works. There are multiple ways water can help. If you are thirsty, your body can mistake that for hunger. Next thing you know you are stuffing your face with tortilla chips when you weren’t even in need of food in the first place. If you drink sparkling water or water with some sort of carbonation, it can help fill up your stomach and keep you from snacking too much between meals. Sometimes when your body sends the hunger signal, it is both hungry and thirsty. Drink water so you eat a normal human size portion of food.
- Suck on a cough drop. Here’s the scenario—you bake cookies and tell yourself you are going to have just one. You pack up the cookies, enjoy your one and talk yourself in to just one more. They are fresh and warm now. How could you pass that up? After two cookies your stomach hurts a little from all the sugar, but you find yourself unable to stop thinking about having another cookie. For many people, minor binges are a major reality. In order to stop a binge like this, I grab a cough drop, like a Ricola. It gets the cookie taste out of my mouth and leaves me with zero desire to eat anything after because Ricola + Chocolate Chip Cookie = YUCK. Don’t believe me? Try it next time you find yourself unable to stop eating. Double points if you drink a glass of water first and then suck on the Ricola.
- Put your phone away and sit down. Ever notice how at the movie theater you can eat almost the entire bag of popcorn before the movie even starts!? When you are distracted, it’s easy to eat. Make meals a time where you sit down and remove any distractions. Focus on the food you are eating —how does it make you feel? Are you full before you clear your plate? Was that amount just right? Multi-tasking while you eat should be a no-no if you want to lose weight.
- Quit catastrophizing. One bad decision does not mean an entire day is lost. Please don’t tell yourself you will start to eat healthy and get your life on track tomorrow. If you want to have a cupcake, by all means have a cupcake. However do not have three cupcakes and tell yourself that you will start tomorrow, so you can eat whatever you want today. This is a terrible mind-set and sets you up for a never-ending cycle of weeks of being on track and then weeks or months of being off track. If you aren’t pleased with a choice you made, accept it, move on and do better for the rest of the day.
- Stop thinking about what you are missing out on. It’s easy to think about how tasty those peanut darn-it-why-can’t-I-eat-those butter cups are or how much you are going to miss eating such and such. BUT switch your mindset to think about all the things you are going to gain—like confidence in your new slimmer body—rather than everything you think you are giving up. While you are at it, stop feeling sorry for yourself. Even people who say they don’t pay attention to what they eat and can eat anything they want actually pay attention to what they eat.
- Hit the unfollow button. I love beautifully curated food accounts on Instagram. They can make your mouth water just by looking at them. This is exactly why the first thing when I need to lose weight is clear out my Instagram feed. I don’t want to think about desserts or food in general between meals. It’s the equivalent of seeing a burger on tv and suddenly wanting to go to Five Guys. Once my weight is under control, I follow accounts that serve as inspiration for healthy meals I can create at home. I don’t follow that lovely account that is a stream of cupcakes because cupcakes are my weakness.
What are your weight loss tips? Tweet me @mileposts and tell me!