If you’ve ever struggled to lose weight fast – and keep it off – you’re one among millions (perhaps billions) of frustrated individuals.
About 45 million Americans plan to go on a diet every year – and that’s part of the problem. Dieting isn’t the answer. Diets don’t work. Research reveals that 97 percent of dieters who have had fast weight loss regain their weight (and sometimes more) within three years.
If you’ve been part of a structured diet program and have managed your weight, congratulations, you are one of a kind. What you’ve probably done is more than a diet. You allowed your habits to become part of your daily routine, right?
So once you decide to change your “diet” into a lifestyle, what do you do? There is so much information out there. Who is right? That’s also part of the problem—the weight-loss industry rakes in a profit of more than $64 billion every year.
When money is involved, some companies keep their ethics, while others want to keep up volume and profits. That means some companies have sacrificed their customers’ health and well-being by overlooking mountains of scientifically-proven medical research for the sake of financial gain.
The result: highly processed, sugar-laden, sodium-enriched food. Edible? Sure. Nutritious? Nope.
20 Weight Loss Tricks That Actually Work
#1 Keep a food journal
Various studies show that people who keep a food “diary” eat about 15 percent fewer calories and have faster weight loss. A tangible record of your food intake, which is likely to contain some unsavory items, is often enough to alter your eating habits.
Besides looking back at what is working and where you slip up, this journal makes an excellent planning tool. If you enter items into the log before you eat, you’ll feel obligated to stick with the plan.
You don’t need to keep your food diary on a pad of paper where someone might read it. In fact, look no further than your smartphone. There, you can check your app store and install a food tracker app that you can use every time you eat.
#2 Find a support group
Whether online or in-person, having a person or group of individuals who support your goals works. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), social support makes it “easier to stick with a weight loss plan…share tips on diet and exercise and (find) an exercise buddy.”
Whether you join a group of walking parents at the park or attend a local Weight Watchers meeting, you’ll find comfort knowing that you’re not the only one trying to make healthier changes. Meeting up with like-minded people who share your struggles helps you make lifelong changes.
#3 Drink more water
It’s fine to drink your coffee, juice, or milk in the morning, but don’t forget water. A clinical study proved that often, those on a diet or weight loss plan lose more weight when they drink enough water.
Drinking water before you eat fills your empty stomach, helping you eat less.
Water helps to flush the body of toxins. As fat cells break down, they eliminate as waste. So drinking water flushes away fat as you begin to achieve successful weight loss.
It’s also essential to stay away from sugary soda drinks. The average American consumes approximately 25 pounds of soft drinks annually. Drinking calories instead of eating a healthy diet might be one of the sneakiest ways you sabotage your own weight loss goals.
#4 Opt for healthy snacks
Yes, lifestyle-based weight loss requires self-discipline. That means snacking healthy or skipping snacks. It’s also crucial to regular the amount and timing of your snacks. Forgoing your “midnight snack” or “guilty pleasure” can prevent a few extra pounds each year.
#5 Less TV
Watch just one less hour of TV, and you’ll be less inclined to go “movie theater” mode. Yes, we all love that tasty treat while watching our favorite show. Instead, go for a light walk or jog.
#6 Clean or Organize
Cleaning occupies your mind. It also is a great way to relax and destress. No kidding. Find something – a bathroom floor, a closet, inside or outside a car, windows, anything – to clean. Cleaning also burns calories!
#7 Deny the “hunger impulse.”
So many of us reach for that fatty treat out of habit. Actual physical hunger stimulates hunger hormones – and you’ll know when you need to eat. Most experts agree that when we think we’re hungry, we are just thirsty. Drink more and give it 20 minutes. If you’re still hungry, enjoy a healthy snack.
#8 Take the stairs for 10 minutes each day
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, frequent “stair-takers” burn five times more calories than their counterparts who use the elevator. This figures out to 10 pounds per year!
#9 Take a short walk every couple of hours
Use your breaks to your advantage. Take a brisk 5-minute walk every two hours, and you’ll have 20 minutes of aerobic activity in your pocket before even stepping out of the office or home office. Win!
#10 Ease off the additives
If you choose to eat processed foods, commit to buying products without corn syrup, fructose, or (if you can) sugar. Look for sugar-free versions and low sodium options without preservatives. It’s much easier to find products like these today, but you’d be surprised how much is still out there with ingredients you cannot pronounce.
A great habit is to clean and close the kitchen after dinner. In fact, set a time it’s close and when it reopens in the AM. Late-evening feasting comes at a price. Late-night snacks lead to even more cravings, which lead to taking in more calories. It’s worth skipping.
Besides the extra calories, nutritionists advise that nighttime snacks cause interruptions to the sleep cycle. The resulting sluggishness causes moodiness and fatigue that might make you more inclined to cheat on your diet the next day.
#12 Take a brisk walk before dinner
Most research reveals walking after dinner helps with digestion and weight loss. According to a University of Glasgow study, “Walking before a meal reduces the fat levels in the blood and improves the function of the blood vessels, even in the individual has a high fat and carbohydrate meal.”
A walk before dinner also increases the sensation of fullness.
#13 Eat most meals at home
Restaurants and other places serve large portions of food with higher oil and salt levels than you would use at home. Skip the calories and indulge in healthier options for your favorite fast food dish at home.
#14 Use a smaller plate
When it comes to serving up well-portioned meals, size matters!
The size of plates has dramatically increased in size compared to what they were 50 years ago. Using a smaller plate, especially if you like to go for seconds, tricks your mind into thinking you ate more.
#15 Order smaller portions
During the occasions when you treat yourself to fast food, order the smallest portion. This allows you to enjoy your favorite food without all the fat and calories of your usual amount. To experience an even more significant caloric deficit, order a house salad instead of fries.
Hint: The children’s meals provide the best value and smallest portions. It is enough to satisfy your taste for your favorite drive-thru food without spending all your daily calories.
#16 Load up on veggies
Most vegetables are low in calories, high in nutrition and very filling. Consuming them raw or preparing them well can be delicious.
Keep it interesting by making a non-fat dip with the following ingredients:
- 1/2 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt
- Two teaspoons of garlic-seasoned salt substitute (like Mrs. Dash)
- Black pepper to taste
- One teaspoon of onion powder
You’ll get a protein boost from the Greek yogurt, and the veggies will feel decadent when you dip them.
#17 Eat more (healthy) cereal
There’s a plethora of research that reveals that oatmeal or high fiber whole-grain cereal is a great breakfast or snack option. Oat bran, Grape Nuts, Shredded Wheat and Steel Cut Oats are all excellent choices. Eating whole grains helps you feel fuller longer.
#18 Leave white bread alone
According to an article in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “whole grain intake was associated with up to 9% lower mortality and up to 15% lower Cardio Vascular related mortality, the leading cause of death globally.”
Also, the authors noted how obesity dramatically increases the risk of CVD. Opt for whole grains instead.
#19 Change your milk type
If you drink whole milk, change to 2 percent; if you drink 2 percent, change to 1 percent. For some, plant-based milk like oat milk works even better. Once you have the developed an acquired taste of a healthy milk you won’t even be able to tell a difference.
#20 Brush your teeth after every meal
Brushing your teeth after every meal is a psychological method for losing weight – and a very effective one. This habit signals to your body and brain that mealtime is over. Thus, we’re less likely to appease the “hunger impulse” of snacking.
Final Thoughts on Losing Weight Without the Drudgery of a Formal Diet Program
When these habits become part of your everyday lifestyle losing weight and keeping it off will feel easy to you. It’s not about a diet. It’s not about a strict exercise regime.
Honor your body and give it what it needs to thrive and work for you, not against you. If you have a weight loss tip that has worked well for you we would love to hear it in the comments!