Be honest: How long has “lose weight” been at the top of your New Year’s resolutions list? If it’s been any longer than five years, then it’s time to get serious. Whether you have a lot of weight to lose and you’re looking for a way to get the ball rolling, or you’re struggling to shed those last 10 pounds, here are 16 sure-fire ways to help you get there.
1. Stay hydrated.
Not with sugary fruit juices and sodas, but with some good ‘ole H2O. On average, most people should aim for eight 8-ounce glasses throughout the day, but it’s especially helpful to fill up on water right before a meal as a way to curb your appetite. Staying well hydrated even boosts your metabolism by three percent, according to fitness expert Jillian Michaels.
2. Find a friend.
There’s no fun in trying to lose weight all on your own. Working out with a close buddy makes the process feel less like a chore and more like hanging out!
3. Pack a snack.
Keeping your work drawer and kitchen pantry stocked with healthy snacks – granola bars, fresh fruit, yogurt, unsalted pretzels, etc. – is great because you won’t be tempted to run to the vending machine when those midday cravings start to creep up.
4. Take it one day at a time.
We hate to break it to you, but losing 20 pounds overnight isn’t going to happen. To avoid feeling overwhelmed and defeated, focus on losing 1-2 pounds per week instead.
5. Add exercise.
For many people, it’s not enough to just eat well when it comes to losing weight. If you swap out French fries for celery and carrot sticks and throw in a little gym time, be prepared to watch those pounds melt off in no time!
6. Distract yourself.
Cravings usually pass within 10 minutes. So, the next time you feel the urge to rip open that brand new bag of potato chips, go for a quick walk around your neighborhood or call up a friend until that urge passes.
7. Fill up on protein.
Not only does protein keep you feeling fuller for much longer, but it’s also perfect for building muscle.
8. Throw it out.
Get rid of all the crap in your kitchen – artificial sweeteners, processed and frozen foods, and boxed dessert mixes, just to name a few. Also, try lowering your intake of red meat, and trust me when I tell you that chicken and fish tastes just as great when they’re baked as they do when they’re fried.
9. Brush almost immediately after dinner.
I’ve always been one to brush and floss my teeth shortly after eating dinner (and sometimes dessert). After that, I’m done for the night – with eating and snacking, that is. Studies have shown that people are less likely to eat once they’ve brushed due to not wanting to dirty their teeth. Makes sense, right?
10. Keep your meat portions small.
An easy way to cut back on calories is by loading up your plate with vegetables first and then adding meat (no more than 4 ounces) at the last minute, so that you’re left eating mostly vegetables.
11. Don’t miss out on sleep.
Did you know that when the body doesn’t get the sleep it needs, you tend to overeat and experience more cravings? So, catch up on those ZZZs whenever possible!
12. Hire a personal trainer.
We realize this may not be an option for everyone, but if it’s in your budget, working with a professional can help give you the extra push you need to reach your goals. He or she can help you with your individual needs and concerns while holding you accountable.
13. Write it down.
Do you snack too often throughout the day? Do you tend to overeat at dinner? By keeping a food diary, it’s easier to track what you eat on a daily basis. At the end of each day, you can read over all of your food choices, see where you’re trouble areas are and fix them.
14. Keep stress to a minimum.
Believe it or not, but too much stress can lead to weight gain or prevent you from losing weight. The reason being is that when the body is under stress, the stress hormone cortisol is released. This causes your metabolism to slow down and causes you to experience more cravings and your body to store more fat. Recognize what your stress triggers are and find ways to eliminate them as much as possible.
15. Eat breakfast.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to eat some sort of breakfast every single morning, especially when you’re trying to lose weight. Skipping breakfast has its share of consequences, including slower metabolism, low energy levels, and difficultly concentrating. Be sure to check out these other reasons why skipping breakfast is a terrible idea.
16. Remind Yourself Why
Sometimes, losing weight can be tough, but reminding yourself why you’re doing it: your health, your family, etc will help re-center you and give you enough encouragement to keep going.
Now go out there and make it happen. You CAN do it!