If one of your goals is to lose weight, you will probably find that it can be a stressful journey. When you are first getting started you might scour the internet and be confronted various diets and strange methods. These can include things such as cutting out certain foods, or ONLY eating one type of food, counting calories or macros, etc. When I was trying to lose some weight I found that these methods were way too mentally consuming and difficult to follow when honestly the process is not super complicated. I’m not going to sit here and say that it is easy because when it comes to living a healthier life, the adjustments can be challenging but they do get easier as time goes on. I have created a list of tips that are easy to follow and will help you on your journey to lose weight. I personally have lost 10 pounds (which was my goal) only following these tips. I wasn’t on any sort of strict diet and I wasn’t counting calories or macros. I hope that these tips can benefit you as well!
1. Drink more water
This is a tip that I brushed off for the longest time and it wasn’t until I applied it that I noticed the greatest change in my results. I know that you have heard this dozens of times but it truly is important. Drinking water has so many benefits and some of them are more obvious than others. For example we all know that it’s important to stay hydrated and that water is a necessary mineral for our body. But besides these, water has other benefits that will be extremely helpful on your weight loss journey.
First, water is a metabolism booster. Drinking water in the morning has been proven to increase the number of calories you burn throughout the day. When I decided that I wanted to lose some weight, I made it a goal to drink a large glass of water right when I wake up in the morning. Right away I noticed an overall increase in my energy, my digestion was better, and I didn’t constantly feel bloated and weighed down. Having my morning glass of water has become a habit for me now and find myself reaching for it every morning!
Drinking water before meals will also help reduce your appetite. A lot of times our brain has trouble distinguishing between thirst and hunger. A lot of times we reach for snacks or eat larger portions to satisfy our feelings when in reality we just need to be hydrated. By drinking water before a meal or snack, you will satisfy your thirst and then you won’t overindulge on food to make up for your thirst. A lot of times too I’ll find myself wanting to reach for a snack but if I drink water first, I’ll realize that I was actually just thirsty and I don’t need food at the moment. Drinking water has so many benefits and learning how to utilize it will truly help you out on your weight loss journey.
2. Spend more time preparing your meals
This may sound like a weird tip but it is one that I naturally began incorporating in my life and it took awhile before I realized the difference it was making. Like I mentioned in my “Healthy Breakfast Ideas” post I used to be obsessed with cereal. Not only is cereal not the healthiest choice (it doesn’t offer much fuel) but it is one of many foods that is hard to practice portion control with. I personally would eat at least 4 or 5 servings every morning. I knew that if I wanted to lose weight and be healthier I would have to make adjustments in my meals.
If you also struggle with controlling your portions I recommend spending more time in the kitchen preparing food. Use the oven or stove instead of a microwave, cut up fresh ingredients instead of using pre-packaged ones, take your time making a quality meal. One of the reasons it’s so easy to overindulge on foods such as cereal is because they can be prepared in seconds.
When you spend 5+ minutes making a healthy meal, you will feel satisfied after eating it and you most likely won’t want (or have the time) to go through the process of making it again. Also another tip I have is to put away all of dishes and ingredients you used to make that meal before you eat it. Doing this will further reduce the temptation to make more.
3. Limit processed foods
This is another tip that you have probably heard many times and frankly the reasons behind it are quite obvious. Processed foods are convenient but they often times lack the good nutrients that our bodies need and they contain added sugars, salts, and other ingredients that will prevent you from reaching your health goals. As a general rule, try to reach for fresh foods over processed ones. Often times the more nutritious foods are located around the perimeter of grocery stores so stick to that area when shopping. Processed foods are mostly located in the center aisles so that would be a place you should try to avoid.
4. Watch out for sugar
This tip goes hand in hand with limiting processed foods. Like I said, processed foods often contain loads of added sugar and I’m not just talking about cookies and other packaged sweets. Things such as yogurt, granola, protein bars, and muffins can also contain lots of added sugars. When shopping for foods such as these it’s important to look at the nutrition label to see how much sugar is in the product. It is up to you to decide how much sugar you want to consume baed on your own goals and lifestyle. Once you decide that, you can determine what foods fit into that criteria.
5. Practice intuitive eating
When you are on a journey to lose weight or simply live a healthier life, it is very easy to get caught up with the following thoughts: “Should I eat this?” “I’ll eat this now and then I’ll have this then,” “Have I had to much of this today?” I personally have had all of these thoughts and have found that they are incredibly overwhelming. People often times forget that “health” doesn’t just apply to physical aspects such as eating and exercising. It includes mental aspects as well. Because if you think about it, you can eat all of the kale you want but if you are still freaking out about a piece of cake you had last week, that’s not healthy. My biggest tip for losing weight and being healthier is to practice intuitive eating.
When you practice intuitive eating, you are ultimately listening to your body. Instead of stressing over calories and macros, you are letting your body decide how much and what to eat. When you are feeling hungry, you don’t whip out a calculator to see how many calories you should have, you don’t consult your list to see how much protein you’ve had that day, you eat. A lot of people struggle with intuitive eating because they feel that if they “listened to their body” they would just eat junk all day because that’s what they want. I originally thought this too but have found that I have had almost the opposite experience. Before, I would either ignore my hunger because I felt like my calorie allowance wouldn’t allow or I would force myself to eat foods that I didn’t really want in order to get in my macros. This was not healthy and it was incredibly stressful and mentally consuming.
When I began to eat intuitively I was surprised to see that I wasn’t overeating on junk foods and that my stress had completely melted away. This is because it was so simple. If I was hungry, I would eat. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t. Also when I actually listened to my body I realized that I wasn’t actually craving Oreos and french fries, my body was craving healthy foods that would fill me up and provide me with fuel. Listen to your body. Find out what it needs and trust me you won’t feel caught up with the stressful thoughts that typically come with dieting.
People often assume that losing weight is a complicated and mentally consuming process when it is honestly quite simple. Making these small changes in your life will not only help you reach your weight loss goals but they will help you on your overall health journey. I highly recommend trying them out specially if you are currently feeling overwhelmed with strict diets or intense health measures. In general, listen to your body and find what works best for you!