15 Weight Loss Tips
As January 1st is fast approaching, people everywhere are beginning to think about their New Year’s resolutions. Number one on most people’s list is weight loss: how to shed those excess pounds, make healthier food choices and slim down for good.
In that spirit, here are our Top 15 Tips for Weight Loss:
- Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Yes, what your mother told you was true. Consuming a high daily intake of fruits and vegetables is one of the key ways to lose weight and keep it off. Not only are they filling, but they contain many vitamins and minerals that can boost metabolism and keep hunger at bay. Don’t be afraid to try new things, too. Apples and bananas can get boring after a while. Why not try a star fruit, make a beautiful pineapple platter or carve a fancy design from a watermelon? Get creative!
- Buy Lean Meat
Beef usually contains high amounts of fat, so lean meats, such as chicken, turkey or lamb can be good options. If you’re unsure what constitutes a lean meat, ask your butcher for suggestions. Lean ground turkey can be used to make meatballs or burgers, leftover turkey can be shredded and put into a whole wheat wrap with lettuce and tomato for a healthy wrap.
- Decrease the Sugar
Most people tend to think that fat is the biggest cause of weight gain. In truth, it’s actually sugar. When sugar is consumed, it changes into fat (yes, the unhealthy kind) and can slow down your metabolism. A slow metabolism makes it difficult to burn calories, which of course, you want to do when trying to shed weight.
- Eat Smaller Meals More Often
It may sound odd, but eating only three meals a day can actually cause more weight gain. Nutrition experts often recommend that people eat small meals spread out throughout the day. How does this affect weight loss? If Jane is hungry at 3:00 pm but cooks dinner at 6:00 pm, she is not going to wait 3 hours to eat, but she will snack a few times until dinner preparation. Instead, if Jane has a small meal of whole wheat crackers, low-fat cheese, an apple and some cashew nuts, then those three hours will not be difficult. Jane will feel satisfied, but will also be hungry enough for dinner at 6:00pm.
- Cut Out the Processed Food
Processed food is a major contributor to weight gain. Why? The reason is because once we eat the processed by-product, the original food item no longer has its original nutritional value. Sometimes it is even unrecognizable.
Take cheese, for example. There is a stark difference between buying fresh cheese from the deli counter versus buying a stack of individually sliced, wrapped pieces of cheese. One is fresh, while the other is heavily processed with a lower amount of actual dairy content. Look at the label the next time you pick up a package of processed cheese.
Another example. One whole chicken, green beans, baby potatoes and a side salad can be a great option for a healthy, wholesome dinner. But once the same food is cooked, frozen, packaged and sold to you at your local grocery store, it is a completely different story. The same meal that was freshly prepared now contains preservatives, additives and other chemicals, which are needed to keep it tasty and prevent it from going bad. Then you take it from the store’s freeze and heat it in your microwave. By the time you sit down to eat the TV dinner, much of the food’s original nutritional value (and often, the taste) is gone. Sure, it’s cheaper and a whole lot easier to prepare, but the healthy part of the meal is pretty much non-existent.
- Health Food Stores
When people imaging shopping at a health food store, they might think of exotic spices and odd ingredients they’ve never heard of. Today’s health food stores carry a wide and varied selection of low-sodium, low-fat, natural and organic items. From Asian cuisine to Middle Eastern spices, they have it all and there are so many healthy choices for consumers to make. Many stores also carry vitamins and supplements to assist with weight loss.
Pop into your local health food store and just ask – you will find that proprietors will be glad to take the time to show you around and teach you some new suggestions.
We all know that exercise is crucial to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. There are many reasons why we don’t do it enough and the reasons are different for everyone. For some, the cost of a gym membership is too high, or they find regular workouts too bothersome. Others find exercise physically painful or exhausting. But here is the absolute truth: one of the best ways to lose weight and keep it off is to exercise on a regular, consistent basis.
All too often, people begin a workout regimen and then stop. Whether they find it too intense of time-consuming, it is important to dedicate time for exercise on an ongoing basis. It does not have to be a 5-mile run or trying out for a marathon. Fitness experts often advise people to begin a light workout. You could go for a bike ride around your neighborhood, take a brisk walk or do yoga for 15 minutes. The important thing is to do it regularly. Between two to three times a week is a good start. Once you have done this for a while, you can slowly increase workout times.
- See a Nutritionist
Seeking professional advice is also a great idea for a targeted weight loss plan. A licensed nutritionist can create a customized meal plan, shopping list and just get very creative for your specific life and weight concerns. What works for your neighbor may not work for you and it is important to know and understand this fact. People are different, and food affects them in different ways. Working with a nutritionist can also educate the patient so that he/she will learn how to make smarter choices on their own.
- Do it With Friends and Family
Losing weight on your own is hard enough. Many find that doing it together with a spouse, brother, sister, parent or friend makes the process easier and much more fun. You realize that you are not alone and you can build a strong support system. Late night snack cravings and binges are more difficult to hide or justify when you are working on weight loss with someone else, especially if it’s an important someone else. They will be there to support you in your struggles just as you will be there to support them in theirs.
- Biggest Loser Contests
NBC’s famous reality show, “The Biggest Loser”, is a television show that features overweight contestants competing for a cash prize. The winner is the person who loses the most amount of weight.
Due to the popularity of the series, many versions of the contest have sprouted up in communities, offices, charitable organizations and more. Many “contestants” say that participating in the competition forces them to think about food, exercise and meal planning in a way they had not done before. They lose weight quickly and feel inspired by the other people in the contest. Just like losing weight with friends or family can keep us motivated, doing a “Biggest Loser Contest” with real prize money at stake is an excellent motivator.
- Support Groups
Look into joining a support group such as Overeaters Anonymous. Similar groups exist in cities and countries all over the globe, whether in person or online, and can be a great resource for those trying to lose weight. People who have gotten fit can also participate in these groups, answering questions, giving advice and just serving as an inspiration from those still trying to lose weight.
- Social Media
It’s 2016, soon to be 2017 as we mentioned earlier. The resources available online are almost endless. From online support groups to exercise tracking apps to healthy cooking courses, there is so much help available today. Search on Facebook for weight loss groups, Tweet about your struggles or look for others who have been through weight challenges.
- Daily Food Journal
It is surprising how many people who are trying to lose weight and get healthy are unaware of what they are really eating. Nutritionists and professional dieticians often suggest keeping a daily journal of what you eat, and they do mean everything: from your two cups of coffee first thing in the morning, to a late morning snack of an apple and a chocolate chip granola bar, to lunch and bottled water – well, you get the drift. The point is write down every single thing you consume in a day. Seeing it in writing often makes a big impact on how you see yourself and your weight loss journey.
- Blog About It
A blog is similar to a food journal, but with some stark differences. The purpose of a blog is to get your ideas, thoughts and experiences out to the public, whereas a food journal is kept private. Writing an online blog is a great weight loss tool. There are millions of people all over the world struggling with the exact same issues.
Writing about it, talking about your struggles and successes can be very empowering. On the other hand, reading other people’s blogs can also be an eye-opening experience. There may be ideas and suggestions you never thought of, or perhaps the emotional support can spur the reader to a more committed weight loss plan.
- Make it Fun!
Weight loss does not only have to be a serious, difficult or emotional ordeal. It can be fun, too! Shop for clothes that you would like to fit into once you have lost some of your ideal weight, or treat yourself to something special after reaching an important health goal. Maybe you have always wanted to take a trip to an exotic location, or be in more family pictures you may have felt uncomfortable being in before the healthy changes. Some kind of fun goal can be a great motivator for those struggling with their weight.