Losing weight is tough. And if you try researching the best ways, it can seem even harder because there’s so much contradictory information, so many fad diets, and so much product marketing out there to confuse you. But the best tips for losing weight aren’t about dieting; they’re about adopting a healthier lifestyle that helps you shed extra pounds and feel better, and naturally keep the weight off.
When you diet, you cut calories and you may lose weight. But no diet is permanent. So, when you eventually go off it, if you return to your old eating and exercising habits, the weight just comes right back. This is why, to lose weight and keep it off, you have to make positive lifestyle changes that you can apply every day and continue with for the long haul.
Adopt these changes one or two at a time, until they become habit. Don’t try to make too many changes at once, or you’ll probably just get overwhelmed and lose your motivation. After you successfully make a change or two and are confident about it, move on to another one or two.
Here are some tips for losing weight that actually work if you make them part of a healthier lifestyle.
How to Lose Weight with Smarter Lifestyle Choices
- Get in the habit of eating three nutritious meals a day with a small, healthy snack between meals to help prevent you from overeating at mealtime because you’re starving
- Make sure every meal and snack includes some protein and fiber so it’s more satisfying and provides lasting energy
- Choose whole foods (natural foods close to their natural state) over processed foods as much as possible
- Drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated and to feel less hungry (did you know your body can mistake thirst for hunger?)
- Stop drinking soda and high-sugar sports drinks and energy drinks (though a low-sugar sports drink is good for replenishing fluids and electrolytes after a workout or playing sports)
- Find ways to swap out higher-calorie ingredients for lower-calorie ones in the things you eat frequently; for example, use mustard instead of mayo on sandwiches
- Don’t eat foods that contain trans fat
- Limit your consumption of food and drinks with added sugar
- Skip the fast food and cook at home as much as possible; don’t worry, there are plenty of low-cost healthy foods
- Refrain from eating foods directly out of the package; portion out a serving and put the package away, then eat what you took
- Schedule regular grocery shopping trips and make a list so you always have healthy foods to prepare at home, and don’t let yourself impulse buy junk food that’s not on your list
- Learn to listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues; eat when you’re hungry and stop eating as soon as you’re satisfied (remember: the goal of eating isn’t to finish everything or to make yourself stuffed—it’s just to not be hungry anymore)
- Don’t watch TV, use your phone, read, or do other activities while eating, and eat sitting down at the table; focus on your food, enjoy it, and stay alert for when you’re satisfied
- Eat slowly to avoid overeating, because it takes a little time to register that you’re not hungry anymore; this is one of the most overlooked tips for losing weight!
- Pay attention to when you’re eating out of stress or boredom, and don’t do it
- Don’t starve yourself to lose weight; you’ll just feel lousy and probably overeat later, and it’s unhealthy and potentially dangerous if you’re not taking in enough calories or nutrients
- Eat off smaller dishes; you’ll take less food, and you also feel like you’re eating more when your plate or bowl is fuller (so you may feel more deprived taking a healthy portion on large dishes)
- Make it a rule that the kitchen is closed two hours before bedtime to prevent those late-night snacks
- Get some exercise every day, even if it’s just a quick walk
- Make exercise a part of your daily routine so that it becomes habit