If you’ve come to a point in your life where you’re thinking that enough is enough and that you really need to do something about your weight, the first thing you should do is forget all about that crazy diet you were planning on doing or that killer workout you have planned. Weight loss is more than just depriving yourself of your favorite foods or trying to kill yourself in the gym with a workout that your body isn’t ready for yet. At its core, losing weight is about making small changes in your life that will have huge impact and long-lasting benefits for your overall health.
Given this, it should go without saying that your motivation for weight loss should be about living a healthier life. Losing weight and getting slimmer is an overflow of this healthier state and the process certainly can’t be achieved overnight. So where do you start? Making small changes in your everyday life is where long term and successful weight loss truly starts. Below you’ll find some practical changes you can make to your everyday routine to set yourself up for success.
Walk Just A Bit More Everyday
For people who are coming from a background of a very sedentary lifestyle, one of the first small changes that you can make is to add just a little bit of activity to your day. Studies have even shown that by gradually adding movement to your day, we’re talking by increments of just a few minutes, you may actually lose weight faster. All it takes is five minutes to start off. You can spend this five minutes walking around your house or going up and down a few stairs. The week after, you can spend ten minutes walking around your block. Keep going and keep increasing this until you hit 30 minutes per day. Remember, it doesn’t have to happen all at once. Take it slow and be careful not to injure yourself – this is especially important for those who are morbidly obese.
Eat Your Fruits Instead of Drinking Them
We’re well aware that juicing is a fad now and many fitness influencers on social media recommend it to give yourself an extra boost of nutrients per day. The fact remains that these influencers and bloggers have already reached a level of fitness that they are happy with. They’re also probably burning off the extra calories they’re consuming. For people who are trying to lose weight, however, a small change would be to ditch the juice and to go for the whole fruit instead. This adds heart-healthy fibers to your diet that will also help you feel fuller longer and prevent snacking, craving or binge eating. One particularly good piece of fruit to have around for snacks is the ever-humble apple.
Sleep A Little Earlier
Did you know that there’s a direct correlation between sleep deprivation and weight gain? Scientific studies have shown that just two weeks of sleep deprivation can contribute to a whopping 3 pounds of weight gain. Meanwhile, getting the appropriate amount of sleep needed aids in weight loss. It might be difficult at first, especially for people who are used to sleeping late or for those who are extra busy at work, but prioritizing sleep and rest is an especially crucial change to make if you really want to drop the pounds.
Keep A Journal
Before you start rolling your eyes and scoffing at the cliché idea of keeping a food journal, hear us out. Mindless eating is one of the biggest contributors to overeating. Think about it. How many times have you sat in front of the television and started munching on a bag of chips only to realize that you’ve polished off an entire bag by the time your TV show finished. That’s tons of calories that you don’t need and you’ve eaten them only because you weren’t paying attention. You didn’t give your brain the time it needed or the focus it needed to tell you to hold your horses and drop the bag.
Keeping a food journal helps you keep the extra calories out of your system in two important ways. One is by helping you stay aware of when you last ate something and the second is by helping you keep track of how much calories you’ve already consumed for the day. Still think it’s silly? Well how about this. Scientists have actually put this theory to the test and they’ve concluded that those who keep a food journal, eat a healthy diet and get physical activity in will, on average, lose twice as much weight as someone who doesn’t track their food.
Often times, all we really need is someone there to remind us about our weight loss goals. Someone to keep us accountable and to remind us that a moment of food on the lips are indeed a lifetime on the hips. This could be your best friend, your dietitian, your mom, or even some random person on a fitness forum. Whoever you choose to stay accountable to, just remember that honesty is best. What use is it to find an accountability buddy if all you’re going to do is lie to them and, by extension, fool yourself?
Cut Out Unnecessary Food
Do you really need that donuts? Are you sure you want to eat that double fudge sundae? As delicious as all that high-fat food is, they’re terrible for you. Not only does it have no nutritional value, it’ll send you on a sugar induced roller coaster that, for many, ends in utter disaster. As we’ve harped on earlier, don’t make this change sudden. Take it slow. An easy way to start it off is by listing down your top five guilty pleasures (ours are fries, brownies, chips, fudge and cookies), and gradually ticking things off your list until you’ve cut them all out of your regular diet. You’ll find that once you start successfully cutting excess sugar out of your diet, you’ll start appreciating the natural sweetness in other whole foods more and will even lose your taste for artificial sugars.