10 Simple Tips to Start Losing Weight Right Now

Photo credit: Alan Cleaver CC-BY-2.0

The holidays are over and now you’re faced with having to lose all those unwanted pounds.  The simplest approach to weight loss is to eat less and exercise more. However, most of you know it is not that simple. You can achieve long-term weight loss, but you need to be determined and committed to making fitness and healthy eating a priority in your life. Having a plan of action is essential if you want to lose weight permanently and improve the overall quality of your life.  Here are 10 simple tips to help you start losing weight right now and take back control of your health.

 1. Eat a protein-rich breakfast every day.  This will help curb your appetite for the rest of the day, as well as keep your blood sugar levels in check.  Jump-start your day with a Whey protein shake or a whole-food shake and throw in a cup of fresh berries. Your brain and body will thank you for it.
2. Stock your pantry and refrigerator with nutrient-dense foods and snacks, such as apples, carrots, broccoli, nuts, celery, eggs, low-fat yogurt, lean meats and plenty of green leafy vegetables. Remove all junk foods and refined carbs from your diet. These foods will not only disrupt your metabolism, but also cause your body work to overtime at removing the additives, fat and chemicals. 
3. Eat your fiber! Vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains are all abundant in fiber.  Consuming fiber-rich foods not only helps to normalize your blood sugar levels, but also fills you up leaving less room for unhealthy choices. 
4. Eat nutritious foods EVERY day.  Most of us have heard of the term “yo-yo” dieting.  To avoid this, you need to establish consistent, healthy eating habits. A cheat meal is okay at the end of the week, but not a cheat weekend! You’ll only regain all the weight you may have lost during the week.  Why would you want to work your butt off in the gym and eat right all week, and then completely ruin all your efforts in one weekend? Don’t do it!
5. Control portion sizes.  Being aware of the amount and quality of food you eat is absolutely critical to losing weight and keeping it off. To help you better understand what proper portion sizes look like, simply compare the serving sizes of particular foods to familiar physical objects.  For example, one orange is the size of a baseball and meat is about the size of a deck of cards.  Or, you can visit health websites such as choosemyplate.gov or nutritiondata.com  to plan, analyze, and track your diet and physical activity.
6. Set lifestyle goals – not weight loss goals. Eating healthy foods on a regular basis does gradually lead to healthy weight loss. Avoid weighing yourself every day, which will only cause discouragement and make you want to give up and go back to unhealthy food choices. Instead, weight yourself one time per week at the same time of day.
7. Take nutritious, energy boosting snacks with you when you travel. Grab healthy granola bars, trail mix with nuts & dried fruit, apples, bananas, baby carrots, whole grain crackers, etc… to prevent the temptation of reaching for less nutritious options.
8. Don’t deprive yourself. Eat that piece of chocolate if you really want it, but don’t overindulge and avoid giving into temptation on a daily basis.  All those empty calories DO add up, so save them for when you REALLY want them. 
9. Move your body! Regular exercise is the key to long-term weight loss. If you don’t burn off what you take in, you will gain weight. Include both cardio and strength training into your fitness routine. 
10. Keep track of your progress in a journal.  Keeping a written log of your nutrition and exercise habits will help you to see where you need improvement, as well as keep you motivated and accountable.  You’ll also want to write down how you feel each day, so you can see how your emotions affect your eating.

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