Do you have an interest in losing weight, either for health reasons or to improve self-esteem? Many people struggle with weight loss, but you can skirt around complication by implementing simple yet effective methods. Ways to lose weight without going on crash diets or popping weight-loss pills exist for you to take advantage of. Losing weight will benefit you psychologically and physically — begin forming a plan of action if you haven’t already.
Avoid the allure of dangerous weight-loss trends and try these five tips to start your journey of shedding pounds.
1. Reduce Sugar Intake
Sugar is in most of the foods we eat, processed and organic alike. The U.S. has a reputation for including sugar in most of its food, though people all over the world have a hard time kicking their sweet tooth. Some think that cutting out cookies and candy and replacing them with natural sugars like fruit is an effective idea, but this doesn’t work for everyone. Fruits like mangos and grapes can have just as much natural sugars as some of your favorite desserts.
Despite sugar’s prevalence in so many foods, reducing your intake isn’t an insurmountable obstacle. Try healthy alternatives for sweet snacks such as nuts, plain Greek yogurt, kale chips or celery.
2. Set Actionable Goals
Set goals that you can accomplish without losing motivation. If you’re not accustomed to working out often, don’t start yourself on an intensive regimen. You risk injuring yourself by building up too fast. Instead, begin at a reasonable level. If one of your goals is to start walking more, you can take a 10-minute walk around your neighborhood every day or every other day.
Your goals must have a clear trajectory if you want to achieve them. Losing 10 pounds over two months is a goal, but it’s not specific. There’s no telling how you’re going to lose that weight or what lifestyle changes you’re going to make to achieve it. A better example of this goal would be, “Lose 10 pounds in two months by jogging on the treadmill, reducing carb intake and eating more vegetables.” From there, you can get more specific and outline what you’ll do each day to meet your objective.
3. Eat in Moderation
A lot of diets encourage you to eliminate certain foods or entire food groups. This isn’t a sustainable method for most, nor does it serve your confidence. If you relapse and eat something you meant to permanently cut out, you may feel like you failed or that your efforts are ruined. The way to avoid this drop in confidence and preserve your motivation is to practice eating in moderation. It’s not the end of the world if you have a slice of cake on the weekend as a reward.
On the flip side, too much of a good thing is never good for you either. Make sure you’re not eating too much of any one food group.
4. Incorporate More Whole Foods
Try lessening the amount of processed food you eat. Sometimes you won’t be in the mood to do anything other than grab a cup of instant noodles for lunch, but this doesn’t benefit your health in the long term. Start shopping for more whole foods you can add to your meals, such as lean meat, vegetables, beans and grains. Look for foods high in fiber. Fiber makes you feel full quicker and regulates your digestive system.
Add a whole food to every snack and meal you eat — even better if it’s one high in protein like eggs or nuts.
5. Stop Eating Late-Night Snacks
After you eat your last meal or snack of the day, brush your teeth so you’ll dampen the urge to run back to the kitchen and find something else to eat. Snacking before bed is an insidious way for pounds to pile on. Your body will need to digest this food, which can make falling asleep difficult. Plus, you’re more at risk for eating higher calorie junk foods late at night than most other times of the day.
If you often have back pain when lying down at night, extra weight could be the cause of it. Overweight and obese individuals experience back pain because their added weight weakens the muscles their body needs to keep the spinal shape in alignment. Sparing yourself from painful nights is yet another reason to switch up eating habits!
Lose Pounds at Your Own Pace
You aren’t in a race to drop the most pounds, so don’t feel like you have to lose weight at all once. Everyone’s body responds to lifestyle changes differently. When you work at a pace that suits your situation, you’re more likely to enjoy the benefits of weight loss.