Losing weight isn’t always easy, in fact, a lot of the time it can be a frustrating roller coaster of ups and downs. As part of our mission make fitness and health easier and more fun, we’ve put together 100 weight loss tips to make the journey to your ideal healthy weight just that much easier. So sprinkle in as many of these healthy, bite-sized tips into your life and see how well they work for you.
Research has shown that spontaneous physical activity (SPA) like fidgiting, doing the dishes, getting up to change the T.V. channel etc. can add up to burn an impressive 350 calories a day. Remember, like so many things in life: it all counts! All the small pieces add up to a big result, so don’t discount even small, consistent actions – keep them up and they’ll soon add up.
2. Mind over lettuce.
It sounds crazy, but it’s true, studies show that if you think that you’re eating a ‘light’ meal then you won’t feel as full. And it’s not just psychological, your perception of the meal can actually cause you to create more of the hormone ghrelin, which can prevent you feeling full. So instead of focusing on the lettuce in your salad, focus on the more calorific parts: the cheese, avocado, the nuts. It also helps to choose foods which are healthy, but seem like a treat, e.g.: a delicious broth or lemon-garlic shrimp & vegetables.
3. Get your partner on board.
It can be tough to lose weight when your partner is gorging on cakes and deserts, so get them on board. Let him (or her) know that you need his support, if you go to a lot of restaurants or are always getting takeaway, do a little research and get some of the healthy options, maybe skip (or split) desert, spend an hour working out together. If you involve your partner (and are firm about your own weight loss goals) then you’ll make it much easier on yourself.
4. Don’t eat in front of T.V.
First, studies have repeatedly shown that there is a correlation between obesity and time spent watching T.V. – that’s why we have the phrase: “couch potato and not couch celery. Further, studies have shown that people who eat while watching T.V. consume as much as 280 calories more than those who don’t. In fact, for every 2 hours T.V. you watch, your chance of obesity goes up by 23%. Not only that, but if you’re watching T.V. you’re not exercising or sleeping. So, sit down at the table to eat your meals, get active during commercial breaks with mini-workouts and trade 1 hour of T.V. for 1 hour of exercise – if you do this every day you will get closer and closer to your weight loss goals.
Duh, right? We all know that exercise burns calories, but did you also know that it burns calories while you sleep. So, it’s even better than we thought! The recommendation from a Harvard study (2010) was to do 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a day for weight loss; the study found that 30 minutes a day conferred many of the health benefits, but did little for weight loss.
6. 3 healthy meals, 2 healthy snacks.
Most people only need to have 3 meals and 2 snacks to get their daily caloric requirements. Knowing this you can plan ahead, ration your caloric intake per meal and per snack and then stick to it – make them healthy and you’ll be heading closer and closer to your weight loss goals.
7. Increase your fiber.
Getting enough fiber is critical for weight loss, in fact it’s probably one of the most important tools you can use to help you reach your ideal healthy weight. The reason: it makes you feel full – the fiber absorbs water and expands in your stomach, which in turn promotes the production of leptin, the hormone which makes you feel full. Find some sources of fiber you enjoy and eat them every day, try brocolli, flax seeds and apples!
8. Get your go-to snacks ready.
Find your favourite quick and healthy snacks and then have them in bowls around the house and in your refrigerator at eye level, so that if you get the urge to snack you can reach for one of those healthy guys and move closer to your weight loss goals.
9. Train intense.
Studies have found that training with high-intensity for a brief amount of time burns more calories than training with moderate or low-intensity for a long period of time. In other words, spending an hour walking on the treadmill is not the best way to lose weight – 15 minutes high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is far better than 1 hour slow cardio. One of our favourite ways to do HIIT is with a jumping rope, Harvard Medical School has determined that a 125lb person will burn 300 calories in 30 minutes – more if you use the HIIT protocol. Remember, you have to build up slowly to higher intensity training so as always, consult your doctor before making changes to your diet or physical activity.
10. Don’t skip meals.
If you do, your body starts to crave high-calorie foods rather than healthy alternatives.
11. Know what you really want.
Many people talk about losing weight, but what they really want is to be more confident, or feel sexier, or be fitter, or get more romantic interest. Whatever you reasons are, take some time to really clarify in your mind what it is you want and begin to build your resolve around that, so that when temptation creeps up you can squash it with the strength of what’s really important to you in the long-term. Another way of thinking about it is: you’re not losing weight, but rather, gaining something much more important.
12. Change your plate color.
It sounds strange, but if you choose a plate which has a contrasting color to your food, then you should eat less. A Cornell University study found that contrasting plate color would result in a serving size that was 20% less than those who had plate colors which blended in with the meal color. While you’re at it, next time you have a desert try it on a blue plate – many people find that it works as a natural appetite suppressant. Weird, but that’s science for ya!
13. Combine exercise and diet.
Exercise alone just won’t cut it, in fact of the two – a healthy diet is probably the most important part (although you need both if you want to be truly healthy). As the saying goes: you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. So eat healthy and find exercise you enjoy and you’ll be well on your way to reaching your ideal healthy weight.
14. Ignore the impulse buys.
Shopping malls are designed to part you from your money and nowhere is this more evident than when you’re waiting for your turn to pay: display counters packed to the brim with candy bars, soda and all manner of weight-loss saboteurs. Marketers know that this is a moment of weakness for people, in fact, research has shown that impulse purchases accounted for an excess of 14,000 consumed calories per woman, per year! So not only do these impulse buys contribute to overspending, but they can also make you fat! The good news is that once you know the trick it’s much easier to resist. Just think: “they’re trying to blow my budget and make me fat!”, put on the blinkers (figuratively) and walk on by. Opt for the self-checkout too, because further studies show that impulse purchases drop by 32% when you scan and bag your own groceries.
15. Walk off those calories.
Get a pedometer and up your activity level. Take the 10,000 steps a day challenge and you will burn off about 300 – 400 calories. It sounds like a lot, but you can work your way up to it and research has shown that it will significantly improve your health.
16. Set SMART goals.
Maybe you’ve already heard about this method of goal setting. S – specific, M – measurable, A – achievable, R – realistic and T – time-based. Goals set in this way have a much better rate of success, so don’t make it nebulous: “I want to lose some weight” but “I want to lose a total of 20lbs by the 23 November, losing 1 – 2 pounds a week while eating healthy and reducing junk and processed foods”. As you move towards your ideal healthy weight, you’ll probably want to adjust your goals according to your progress.
17. Reduce the fat.
Try reduced fat versions of spreads, dairy products and salad dressings. Remember, though, that healthy fats are good for you in moderation!
18. Don’t bring it into your home.
If you don’t want to eat it, don’t let it in. We made this mistake for years, thinking we could bring in a box of cookies, or tub of ice cream and ration ourselves – it doesn’t work! If it’s in the house, you’ll eat it, so stick to the healthy foods and snacks.
19. Beware of hidden sugars!
Did you know that foods often contain hidden sugars? So even if the label doesn’t say sugar, it could still contain some of the sweet stuff! For e.g. high-fructose corn syrup, dextrin, glucose-fructose… the list goes on and on. Get to know these hidden sugars, so you can avoid them!
20. Get a meal routine and stick to it.
Okay, so we know routines are boring, but having an eating routine which you stick to will prevent you from eating unplanned snacks and meals. Let’s face it, often the most convenient foods are not the healthy option, that’s why they call it fast food, not healthy food!
21. Skip the fads and magic bullets.
Losing the weight and keeping the weight off (that’s the important part) requires a lifestyle change, but you don’t have to do it all at once: just taking small healthy steps every single day will move you closer and closer to your weight loss goals. The important part is to realize that this is about long-term changes, fad diets and diet pills may work in the short term (with who-knows-what consequences to your health) but all-to-often people end up putting the weight back on, then you have to do all the work again when you want to lose weight again! Take the long-term view and small consistent healthy decisions every day and you’ll enjoy the process and have much better success.
22. Disable food cravings.
All cravings start with a cue: it could be the sight of that gooey-sweet glaze or the delicious aroma of cinnamon. On an emotional level: apple pie could give you a feeling of comfort because it reminds you of home, or you may associate the end of the work-week with Chinese takeaway. So you can end up craving these foods when you actually want the feeling associated with the foods, e.g.: apple pie if you’ve had a bad day. You’re not craving the food, but for the emotion. So next time a craving comes up, head it off at the pass: think about the emotion you’re trying to fufill and find another way to fufill it which isn’t food-dependant. If you’re not able to satisfy that emotion fully, take whatever small steps towards satisfying it that you can.
23. Drink green tea.
This probably isn’t news to you, but drinking green tea promotes weight loss. This is because it contains a wonderful group of polyphenols (antioxidants) known as catechins. Research has discovered that not only is green tea beneficial to health, but some studies have shown that it can also prevent the accumulation of fat inside fat cells. Green tea is also a mild appetite suppressant.
24. Don’t drink your calories.
Ditch the sodas, most of them are just water loaded with sugar. Limit how much fruit juice you drink to a max of 1 glass a day – it’s high in natural sugars and thus very calorific. Alcohol is also very high in calories and contains almost no nutritional value (it’s actually a toxin), so take it easy on how much you drink.
25. Eat more dairy.
Studies have shown that the calcium found in dairy products, increases the amount of calories burnt in each cell. The basic idea is that the more calcium in the cell, the more fat that is burnt. Just make sure that it’s a low-fat dairy source. If you’re lactose intolerant you can also get calcium from other food sources, e.g.: dark leafy vegetables, almonds, oats and salmon.