Losing weight isn’t easy and I am always on the lookout for helpful tips and tricks to make the process easier. Below are 15 of my favorite weight loss tips and tricks:
1. Find a way to incorporate your favorite foods into whatever program you follow
For me, I love, love, love having bagels for breakfast during the work week. I stop at a local bagel place on my way in and get my Salt Bagel with Chive Cream cheese every morning. A bagel? WITH CREAM CHEESE? Yes, exactly that. I wait until I get to my desk to eat my bagel. I also scrape off all the cream cheese and put 1 Tablespoon of that cream cheese on the bagel. I stay within my allotted Weight Watchers Smart Points and I get to enjoy something I love.
2. Create a visual method of tracking your weight loss
Create a weight loss calendar that you update monthly. Move beads or buttons from one container to another to signify amount of weight loss, e.g. one bead/button equals one pound. For every pound you lose, put $1 in a weight loss jar to visualize your progress (and have a little spending money set aside for when you reach your goal).
3. Take a beginning picture and regular progress pictures
You don’t have to share them with anybody but you will be able to see your progress over time. You may not like the beginning picture but you’ll be thrilled when you see the difference with each progress picture.
4. Find your support group or tribe
Find a “buddy” or a support forum online or a Weight Watchers meeting if that’s the plan you follow. Find someone or a group of someones you can lean on and who can lean on you. Seek out Meet Ups online, network with other people you work with/mom with/see regularly to create a support group.
5. Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More
Trying to lose weight by winging it is not going to work, not in the long run. I’m not saying you have to plan out every last morsel that goes into your mouth, but having a strategy or approach to how you’re going to succeed is critical. I meal plan weekly, writing up the menu for the week and posting it on the menu bulletin board in the kitchen. Once I have that menu I can construct my grocery list so I don’t have the excuse of “I’m missing X ingredient so I can’t make the meal I planned. Oh well, let’s order pizza”.
I do as much prep as I can at the beginning of the week to make the meal plan as easy to follow as possible. If I don’t have lunches ready to go on weekday mornings it’s very easy to say oh I’ll just go grab something easy at work. Something easy does not always equate to something good for me.
6. Develop a Realistic exercise plan
Establish a realistic exercise plan that you can commit to for the long-term. Don’t do anything you can’t sustain longer than a few weeks. In previous attempts at losing weight I would push myself so hard to work out every day. I would then always try to best myself, doing a little more each day until I was so exhausted and burnt out I would just throw in the towel. Now I run a few times a week, swim a few times a week, and get as many steps in as I can. If I don’t always get all those things in, I’ve learned to forgive myself and move on.
7. Measure or weigh everything that goes in your mouth, at least initially
Measuring and weighing food is probably one of the top reasons for my success. It is something that has helped me stay on track. I even carry around a mini scale in my purse so if I need to weigh something on the sly, I’m prepared. I don’t carry measuring cups or spoons but that’s only because I don’t have enough room in my purse. Learning what a portion size looks like is important. Many of us think we know what a portion size is but studies have shown that most people underestimate portion sizes. Starting out measuring from the beginning is a good idea to train yourself to learn what 1 cup of something looks like. Over time you may get better at eyeballing portion sizes but in the beginning, get out those measuring cups, spoons, and scales.
8. Read success stories online, weight loss biographies, magazine success stories to help keep you motivated
I love success stories, they are a huge motivation for me. I subscribe to many health, fitness, and diet-related magazines and devour the success stories every month. I am a very visual person and love to see before and after pictures and learn about how people succeeded in their weight loss journeys. I pick up many tips and tricks that way, as well as motivation.
9. Practice eating out
You’re not going to never eat in a restaurant again. Like with anything else, practice makes it easier every time you do it. Yes, you might have some missteps along the way but that’s all part of the learning process.
10. Journal what you’re thinking and feeling – good, bad, and ugly
By journaling you have a written account of your journey for reference. When you experience something like a plateau, you will have that knowledge to refer to the next time it happens and be able to apply what you learned previously.
11. Try new foods or recipes
I have found hundreds of new recipes throughout this process and the list continues to grow. Some are good, some are not, but you just keep trying and eventually you build up a trove of “go-to” recipes for every meal or occasion
12. Find substitutes for your favorite higher-calorie foods
I love cake, love it with a passion. I have found ways to make cake in individual servings that fit into my plan. I’ve also found mini cakes at the store that also fit into my plan. It may take some research, but you can find an acceptable substitute for just about anything.
13. Drink water
I try to drink water as much as I can but I admit it’s a tough one for me. It’s something I have to continuously work on. I drink a good bit of seltzer (thank you Sodastream) which helps get more water in.
14. Find and Take “me” time
I am someone who needs quiet time to decompress away from noise or other people. I take that time when I need it and it makes me a better person, wife, and mother.
15. Be kind to yourself
Weight loss isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight. It’s an ever-evolving journey and deserves self-kindness. If you aren’t kind to yourself, how can you expect anybody else to be? Love yourself first and foremost.
There are hundreds of tips and tricks to make weight loss easier – some better (and healthier) than others. These are the top 15 that have helped me on my own journey.