Oh, weight. It’s such a touchy subject, isn’t it?
There are many people who struggle with their weight (myself included). Learning to love the body you’re in and switching to a healthy mindset is TOUGH. I totally get it.
Of course, we all want to be healthier, but when you’re say, attending a class reunion or a friend’s wedding, sometimes you want a quick and dirty way to drop weight—bonus points if the method’s also painless.
Okay, honestly there’s no fast and easy way to lose weight. You’re facing two options—easy and slow, or fast and challenging. The best aspect of the easy and slow method (beside the easy part) is that it’s long lasting. The easy-slow method is packed with simple actions and healthy changes to make NOW. These actions add up and yes, you will lose weight! Maybe not instantly, but you’ll see some results fairly fast. Even better, you’ll keep the weight off because you’ll adopt new habits instead of thinking of it as a temporary fix.
I’m a big fan of baby steps. When you make big sweeping changes, you set yourself up for failure. Sweeping changes aren’t realistic. They’re hard. Sweeping changes are dramatic and then when they don’t stick, you throw your hands up and quit.
Well, no quitting this time! These simple, easy healthy changes get incorporated into your routine today. They’re easy, cheater ways to lose weight without feeling like you’re slogging through a diet of cabbage soup or lemon juice. (Life is too short to give up on desserts and pizza, come ON people!)
These tricks will help you see real progress, painlessly. Pick a few to work on right away and then add a few more as time goes on. Small steps add up to big rewards!
1. Realize it Takes Time
Okay, I know you want an easy way to lose weight NOW. I know you want a trick to shed 10 pounds by next week, but here’s the deal… Lasting, real weight loss takes time. You didn’t gain weight overnight and you won’t lose weight overnight either. If you do a crash diet or an unhealthy method, chances are high you’ll lose water weight and gain it all back when you resume your previous way of eating. Instead, focus on healthier (not just skinnier). Look for little ways to progress—taking walk breaks, drinking more water or watching food choices. Don’t expect your body to change overnight.
Unfortunately, there are no fast AND healthy ways to drop weight. That said, little healthy changes add up pretty quickly and if you implement a few new habits you’ll see progress right away. The best news is the little changes are easy, painless tricks that won’t leave you feeling miserable and deprived!
Sometimes simply changing your mindset and embracing your weight goals as a “long haul” approach is the game-changer you need. For me, once I realized I wanted to get healthier and undo a few years of stress and ignoring my body, my perspective shifted. I embraced the idea of healthy weight as a long-term goal, not a temporary fix I want to achieve by next month. So, yeah, slow and steady wins the race.
2. Start to Move More
If you want to lose weight, moving more often will push you toward real progress. Taking walk breaks, starting a class at the rec center or using a fitness app like Zova will motivate you to move.
Once you start exercising, you'll become more aware of your body. It’s funny, but the moment you start going to the gym or taking regular walks, you start to think twice about eating cookies and ice cream because who wants to undo their hard work? Exercise will keep you in-tune with your bod.
You don’t need to run or spend hours on the treadmill. If you like a lot of different workouts, take classes or check out Zova. Zova offers a huge variety of workout options to fit any style. You’re given access to a library of ideas from your phone, to use anywhere—your living room, your office, a hotel when you travel. You aren’t limited to the gym!
3. Make Simple Switches
One of the best tools I’ve found for weight loss is an app called Rise. Rise is basically a nutritionist and personal trainer in one, but less expensive (about $15/week) and easier. To use Rise, you simply snap photos from your phone of your meal and send them to your nutritionist. He or she analyzes your meal and offers you little tips and tricks to reduce calories and swap smart. The accountability is a huge motivating factor!
The switches are so simple, you won’t even notice the difference. Switch out ½ your carbs (like fries, pasta or bread) for vegetables. Drink only calorie-free beverages such as water, iced tea and flavored seltzer. Instead of smothering your salad in ranch, go for dressing on the side and switch to low calorie dressings and sauces.
If you’re ordering in a restaurant, always ask for high calorie foods like cheese, avocado and sauce on the side. Then dip or add to taste, rather than letting the cook decide. These simple swaps are some of the easiest healthy changes to incorporate into your diet, but once you do them you’ll notice a huge change.
4. Eat at Home More
I’ve talked a LOT about how avoiding fast food is good for your wallet. Well, breaking the fast food addiction is also good for your waistline. Drive-thru options are often pretty unhealthy and full of calories. The drive-thru is okay as a once-in-awhile treat, but if you’re going to the Golden Arches every night or ordering pizza and takeout, your clothes are going to get tighter.
Cutting out the fast food is one of the first healthy changes you should make if you're serious about getting healthier! Eating at home lets you plan your meals better. Even if you use full-fat cheese and regular dressing instead of light, you’re still going to come out ahead. Your food is less likely to be fried. You control the amount of oil, the cooking methods and more when you’re the one creating the food.
You also know what’s in your food when you prepare it. Chefs in restaurants know what tastes good—they add extra butter, extra salt, and even sugar to help your taste buds perk up. You get away with using much fewer of these additives when you cook at home. You know what ingredients go into your meals and you find corners to cut when you need to.
5. Write it Down
A trick to losing weight? Write down what you eat. It’s one of those little actions with a HUGE impact. Why? Because you’re more aware of what’s going in your body when you write it down. You pick better choices. You might even think, “I don’t want to eat this lame snack because I don’t want to write it down,” (the ultimate lazy diet).
Use an app like MyFitnessPal to track your food easily. They offer a huge database of different foods and the calorie and nutrition information for almost every food under the sun. Plus, you’ll gain access to a community of people who share tips and help you stay motivated. If you can’t afford Rise, MyFitnessPal is definitely a great (free) option for tracking your food.
Writing down what you eat will give you a full picture of how many calories you’re consuming in a day. At first, your record doesn’t need to be exact, even a ballpark figure will guide you and help you decide between a donut or a bowl of oatmeal. When you see the calorie and nutrition info in black and white you feel much more aware of how little choices effect your weight loss.
6. Find Healthier Versions of What You Love
Painless weight loss means healthier versions of the foods you love already. You shouldn’t deprive yourself—food is meant to be enjoyed! There are plenty of swaps and hacks that taste pretty darned close to the real deal.
Blend frozen bananas to whip up mock ice cream (add a few chocolate chips or low-calorie chocolate sauce if you really want a treat). Use lite versions of your favorite dairy products like yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream and even skimmed milk. Give almond milk a shot, which is lower calorie and pretty good on cereal.
When you’re deciding on meat, look for lean options like turkey and chicken over beef and pork. Look at the fat content and use less of fattier meats. Use flavorful meats like sausage and bacon as an “accent” rather than as the entire meal. Chop up a slice of bacon and stir it into your scrambled eggs or even into pancake batter. You get the flavor but you’ve eaten only a quarter of what you would usually munch on.
7. Enjoy Smaller Servings
Healthy changes are all about baby steps. If you really want a treat and a low-calorie substitute won’t do, go for it! Simply keep your serving size small. Order a hamburger, swap out half the bun for lettuce and get veggies or a salad instead of fries. It’s simple.
If you go out to eat, split your meal or dessert with a friend. Ask the kitchen to box up half of your order to go. Order your sandwich when you’re out for lunch, but bring your sides like vegetables or baked chips rather than ordering a full meal.
Order pizza with vegetables and half the cheese, rather than pepperoni and the works. Eat a slice and then fill up on veggies or salad. Simple little cuts here and there will add up to success down the road. You don’t need to give up foods, because deprivation leads to wanting them more later. Keep your willpower strong by allowing yourself to enjoy your favorites in moderation.
8. Sleep & Drink Water!
Both exhaustion and dehydration cause us to think we’re hungry when we’re not. Drinking more water helps eliminate bloat, water retention and will help you feel fuller. Water is good for everyone, anyway—being hydrated helps your skin look better, gives you more energy and generally helps every system in your body work right.
Similarly, getting enough sleep is a great trick to losing weight. When we’re tired we often snack or eat because we feel we need an energy boost. Instead, getting 7-8 hours of sleep whenever possible will help you feel stronger, more alert and capable of making better choices.
Sleeping better, exercising and eating healthier will also help lower your stress. When you’re stressed out what happens? You want to eat! So, getting your stress levels under control, keeping your goals in perspective and focusing on taking good care of yourself will help with your successful weight loss.
The biggest idea here is to love your body. Take care of yourself and don’t look at dieting as a “punishment” because you gained weight. Look at your new lifestyle to get more energy, feel better and healthier. Celebrate your progress as you work toward your goals. You can do it! It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen!