The Best Strategies to Help You Lose Weight
When you first make the commitment to lose weight, youve probably got motivation to spare: You hit the gym hard. Your nutrition is on point. Youve got your eyes on the prize and youre ready to do whatever it takes to see results. If that drive could last forever, losing weight would be easy.
Then life happens, and suddenly youve skipped your workouts 3 days in a row and theres nothing healthy in the fridge and youre fresh out of willpower. So now what?
When motivation inevitably wears off, you need a game plan in place not a vague goal like start working out or eat healthier, but a set of solid strategies that will help you stay on track when sheer willpower isnt really cutting it.
Its not enough to know what you need to do you also need to know exactly howyoure going to make it happen. How will you squeeze in enough exercise, even when your life gets hectic? How will you improve your eating habits, even when a tray of cookies is calling your name?
Here are a few simple and specific! strategies that
can help you exercise more, eat healthier, and set yourself up for weight-loss
3 Ways to Exercise More
1. Schedule your workouts.
Chances are you dont feel like you have a ton of free time to spare so if you vow to work out when you have time, your workouts will probably be pretty sporadic.
When you dont have a time slot carved out for fitness,
its all too easy for that time to quickly be eaten up by other
obligations, says Candace Seti, PsyD, licensed clinical psychologist,
certified personal trainer, and nutrition coach at TheWeightLossTherapist.com.
Instead, schedule workouts on your calendar before it starts to fill up, and
hold yourself to it if you wouldnt ditch a dentist appointment,
dont ditch a workout.
2. Make exercise more fun.
Hate the treadmill? Dont run on the treadmill. If you dread your workout, Seti says, its way too tempting to blow it off. We stick with an exercise program best when its also something we enjoy, she says.
So find something thats actually fun for you try a
dance workout, join a local rec-league team, or challenge your friends to a
3. Get more activity all day long.
You can torch a lot of calories in a 30-minute workout, but that shouldnt be your only activity for the day. Seti suggests the following tips for sneaking in extra movement throughout the day:
- Take phone calls while standing or pacing.
- While watching TV, stretch or walk around your couch during commercial breaks.
- Take regular water breaks at work.
- Put music on and dance while youre washing dishes or doing laundry.
- If youre at a computer all day, consider getting a stand-up desk. While theres no resounding evidence that standing desks can enhance health benefits , one small study revealed that office workers who stood while working for 3 hours burned 174 more calories than those who sat.
- Bike to work once or twice a week, if possible.
3 Tips to Stick to a Healthy Eating Plan
1. Practice mindful eating.
Mindful eating helps you curb those habits that can make you rack up calories you dont need like snacking in front of the computer, nibbling at your kids half-eaten lunches, or hitting the bottom of the popcorn bag while watching TV.
One easy strategy for mindful eating: sloooow dooown.
Take your time, chew your food thoroughly, and put your fork down between
bites, Dr. Seti says. This will help you enjoy your meal more and
feel truly nourished and satiated.
2. Quit the Clean-Plate Club.
When you clean your plate, youre relying on visual cues not your own hunger and fullness signals to tell you when to stop eating.
Instead of recognizing triggers of fullness, we only focus on
empty plates, says Jared Heathman, M.D., a psychiatrist in Houston.
plates and portions keep getting bigger .
Using smaller plates and
measuring out proper portion sizes can help you kick the clean-plate
3. Plan your meals in advance.
If a bad day at work makes you want to devour a plate of disco fries, then you know all too well how emotional eating can mess with your weight-loss plans. Instead of giving in, arm yourself with a few stress-busting strategies that dont involve food.
Develop a list of ways to de-stress like listening to
music, running, lifting weights, meditating, or socializing, Heathman
2 Strategies to Boost Your Odds of Weight-Loss Success
1. Keep yourself accountable.
When youre short on willpower , accountability can give you the extra push you need to stay on track. Here are a few easy ways to stay accountable:
- Enlist a workout buddy. Youre more likely to stick to a weight-loss program if you have social support after all, its hard to slack off when someone is counting on you. Having an exercise partner can help you keep each other on a healthy path, Heathman says. If you cant find a workout buddy in your area, join an online challenge group virtual fit-buddies are fine as long as theyll nudge you when you need it.
- Share your weight-loss journey on social media. Dont apologize for posting workout selfies or food pics. Science has your back here research shows that support from an online community can play a role in helping you lose weight. The more people cheering you on, the better.
- Keep a bullet journal. You can use a bullet journal to log your meals, plan your workouts for the week, scribble down inspiring mantras, set long-term goals, or pretty much anything else thatll keep you inspired. Bonus: Studies show that keeping a journal can boost your enthusiasm and help you stay focused.
- Download a fitness app. Theres an app for pretty much everything, from counting calories to planning your weekly grocery list to tracking your workouts . Turn your app notifications on and youll get helpful reminders (like, nonstop) to keep you plugging away at your goals.
2. Get more sleep.
When you dont get enough sleep, it can be harder to lose weight. Lack of sleep lowers your metabolic rate and boosts your appetite and are you really going to power through a high-energy workout when you can barely keep your eyes open?
Sleep is a critical piece of the weight-loss puzzle, so you should plan your zs just like youd plan your meals and your workouts. Here are a few simple ways to make sure youre getting enough every night:
- Turn off your screens an hour before bedtime the blue light they emit can interfere with melatonin production and keep you awake.
- Dont skip your workouts regular exercise can encourage healthy sleep, particularly if you suffer from insomnia , one study shows. (Just dont exerciseright before bedtime , since that energy boost post-workout can make it hard to doze off.)
- Try progressive muscle relaxation techniques to de-stress if youre feeling sleepless.
- If youre having trouble falling asleep (or staying asleep) on a regular basis, talk to a doctor there could be something else at play, like anxiety .
A little planning can go a long way. Read on to learn how to create a meal plan that helps you resist temptation, take the guesswork out of healthy eating, and lose weight.